Google’s Core Web Vitals:
How do they affect your website?
Google is constantly evolving
In today’s digital world, every company with a web presence is trying to please Google and figure out how to get their websites to rank higher. Companies have been able to increase their rank by using a variety of ways, including regularly producing content and using strong SEO tactics—but times have changed. Regular content and SEO tactics are still important for ranking, but there is much more to consider. Google, like any company, is constantly evolving and finding new ways to please its customers.
In 2020, Google announced significant changes to how they will rank websites in their search results, and by the end of 2021, they had implemented those changes. Google will continually evolve how websites and news stories rank. This is great news for people searching for information because Google is showing the most relevant and most optimized websites in the top results. However, the changes, while good for the consumer, make it harder for websites to rank because website owners must optimize many aspects of their website to please the algorithm.
Google introduced three web vitals as ranking factors: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures how long it takes for the largest element on a page to load, First Input Delay (FID) measures how long it takes for a user to interact with a page after loading, and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures how often elements shift position during loading. In this post, we’ll look at what each of these metrics measures and how you can improve your site’s performance.
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Google Began Using LCP, FID, And CLS As Ranking Factors
LCP, FID, and CLS are the three-core metrics used by Google to measure the vitality of a website. Google’s algorithm looks at these factors when deciding whether to rank a site high in search results or low. A higher ranking will bring more traffic, more business, and more revenue to your company, while a lower-ranking decreases your website’s visibility.
Each Metric Measures A Different Aspect Of Web Performance
We all know how important web performance is. A fast, responsive website is essential for keeping users happy and engaged. Google understands this, which is why they’ve announced their Core Web Vitals. These metrics measure different aspects of web performance, so you can get a complete picture of how your site is doing.
LCP Measures How Long It Takes For The Largest Element On A Page To Load
It’s no secret that Google wants to make the web faster. They have a free website speed test so you can see how quickly your site loads on both desktop and mobile devices. The Core Web Vitals encourage people to improve the speed of their websites. However, many moving parts go into making your website fast and responsive.
One of the key metrics that Google is focusing on as part of this program is what’s known as LCP, or Largest Contentful Paint and it is an aspect of website speed. In short, LCP measures how long it takes for the largest element on a page to load. If you want to read more about it, Google has provided a detailed explanation of how LCP works.
The thinking behind this metric is that if the largest element takes longer to load than users expect, it will negatively affect their perception of the site. Google wants to put the fastest (i.e., highly optimized) websites at the forefront of the search results. A site that displays in 2 seconds is much better than a site that displays in 5 seconds, even if other aspects on both pages are the same.
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FID Measures How Long It Takes For A User To Interact With A Page After Loading
So what’s the difference between FID and page speed? While both look at loading time, FID is concerned with how quickly users can complete tasks on a page. This means that FID isn’t just limited to measuring the load time of images and scripts — it also looks at how quickly users can view and interact with content.
It assesses the time it takes users to navigate pages, scroll through posts, zoom in, etc. — all of which shows how fast and satisfactory a user experience is. Businesses need to prioritize FID alongside other metrics so that they deliver customers an overall satisfying experience.
Consistent site performance is critical to providing a high-quality user experience. Pages that don’t respond consistently will lose users. The page should respond in less than 100 milliseconds. The lower the FID, the better. To improve your score, you need to make sure you optimize your site for interactivity.
How To Improve FID
Examine your website and remove content, such as images and videos, that do not positively add to the user experience because it may slow down the page. Unnecessary third-party scripts, excessive plugins, and too many pop-ups also affect your FID.
CLS Measures How Often Elements Shift Position During Loading
User experience is extremely important — if elements shift on a page without warning, visitors may feel unsure about your brand and be turned off by the experience. The shift may occur at crucial moments of the buying process. For example, the ‘Learn More’ or ‘Add to Cart’ buttons could shift when the user attempts to click them. The constant shifting can cause your customer to leave your site for good and that equates to lost revenue.
Your goal is to have a low CLS score. A high score means that you need to optimize your website and users are likely to experience a lot of unexpected movement on the page, which can be frustrating. Google is looking for pages with a low CLS score, so if you want your website to rank on the first page, you must have a fully optimized site.
Some Causes Of High CLS Scores
- Images without dimensions
- Ads without a reserved spot on the page
- Incorrect placement of dynamic content
The Ever-Changing Landscape Of Google
Google is constantly looking for ways to improve the user experience, and that means website owners must stay up to date on all the recent changes if they want their website to rank high in Google search results. The Core Web Vitals, LCP, FID, and CLS are part of the foundation of your website, and if they’re not up to par, then you’ll have trouble getting the traffic you need to grow your business.
Many companies don’t have developers who are well-versed in Google’s Core Web Vitals and other attributes that contribute to a website’s ranking, website speed, and overall success. You can struggle with understanding how each attribute and element contribute to your website’s rank on Google, but at WP Gazelle we make it our responsibility to understand it all. You won’t need to spend hours trying to figure out how to optimize your site. We’ll just do it for you.
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