Technical SEO

What are Core Web Vitals? A beginner's guide

Written by

Mackenzie Griffith

Have you thought about the user experience of your website lately? Are you receiving positive feedback from your users about the structure of your site, or are they frustrated by slow load times? The experience that visitors have on your webpages plays a big part in your SEO. If you want to improve the user experience of your site and boost your rankings, consider looking at your Core Web Vitals.

What are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are a set of factors that Google uses to help determine a webpage's total user experience. Core Web Vitals consist of three different user-interaction measurements and page speeds, which are: cumulative layout shift, largest contentful paint, and first input delay.

To put it in simpler terms, Core Web Vitals are a group of factors that make up part of Google's "page experience" score.

Google’s algorithms have come a long way from simply looking for keywords in content. Core Web Vitals is Google’s attempt to quantify the experience on a webpage. What does this mean exactly? It means that the experience you provide is important, and it needs to be part of the content creation process. To accomplish this, marketers need to be able to work with their developers, and both teams need to be aligned on SEO.

With Core Web Vitals, Google is making page experience a direct ranking factor. This includes:

  • Mobile- friendliness
  • Safe-browsing
  • HTTPS
  • The lack of interstitial pop ups

If you’ re looking for your page's Core Web Vitals data, you can find it in the "Enhancements" section of your Google Search Console account.

One important thing to keep in mind is that having a great at page experience score alone will not push you up the top spot in search results. It may help improve your rank, but your page content is still the most important factor. Even a great user experience won’t overcome poor content.

How Can I Improve My Core Web Vitals?

In this guide, we will break down all three of the Core Web Vitals cumulative layout shifts, largest contentful paint, and first input delay and show you how to improve each one.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

The cumulative layout shift is the visual stability of a page when it loads for a user. What exactly does this mean? Well, just remember that having a high CLS is bad! Why is that? Because a high CLS means that you don't have good page stability, and the elements on your page appear to be moving around when loaded.

Your goal should be to have a low CLS on your pages. Having a low CLS means that your page is fairly stable. When your page loads, the images, links, and buttons don’t bounce around to different locations on the page.

Here are a few ways to minimize your Cumulative Layout Shift:

  • Make sure the ads on your page have a reserved space. If there is no reserved space for them, they could appear anywhere on the page, and shift your content down.
  • Set size dimensions for any media such as videos, images, GIFS, etc. If you do this, the browser will know the exact amount of space each piece of media will take up, so it won't move elements around as the page fully loads.

First Input Delay (FID)

The First Input Delay measures the time it takes for a user to actually interact with your page. This can mean:

  • Clicking on a link on the site
  • Choosing an option from the menu bar
  • Logging in

FID is important to Google because it accounts for how users interact with websites. In other words, FID is kind of like a page score measuring the time it takes for users to do something on your page or click through.

Here are some ways you could improve your FID Score:

  • Remove all non-critical third-party scripts, like Google Analytics, heatmaps, etc. These can negatively impact your FID.
  • Use a browser cache: this will help load content on your page faster.
  • Defer JavaScript. It is nearly impossible for your users to interact with your page if the browser is also loading Javascript. Deferring Javascript would solve a lot of problems and save a lot of time.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

The Largest Contentful Paint is determined by the point of view of the user. This is how long users say it takes for the page to load. LCP is all about user experience: it allows the user to be represented.

You can check your LCP score using the Google Pagespeed Insights tool. With Google Pagespeed Insights, you’re able to track how your page is being seen in real time.

Here are some ways you can improve your site's LCP:

  • Remove large page elements. On Google Pagespeed Insights, you can see if there is an element of your page that is slowing down your LCP.
  • Remove any unnecessary third party scripts: this can help to ramp up the speed of your page.
  • Set up Lazy Loading Lazy loading means that images will only load when a user scrolls down the page to where the images are. This will make your page load faster as well.
  • Upgrade your web host: for overall faster loading times.

Conclusion

As you can see, looking at these three aspects of Core Web Vitals will help improve your user experience in ways you might never have considered before. Try implementing a few of the tips and tricks we covered in this post to improve your page experience in Google’s eyes. And don’t forget that even with the best user experience, content still reigns supreme. Balance your focus between providing a great user experience and serving up relevant, high-quality content that your audience is searching for.

Updated on:

March 1, 2021

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