Google Core Web Vitals: What They Are and How They Impact SEO

If you haven’t already heard of them, Core Web Vitals are a set of measurable metrics designed to determine a webpage’s overall user experience and SEO performance. We briefly mentioned the update of Core Web Vitals in our recent blog, 5 tools to help optimise your websites SEO.

These updates, which were announced in May 2020, started rolling out for mobile devices between June and August 2021 so you may have already noticed a change in your mobile web traffic. In this blog post, we will outline what these are and how they affect your websites SEO.

What are Core Web Vitals?

As previously mentioned, Core Web Vitals are a set of specific factors that Google considers important in a webpage’s overall user experience. They are made up of three specific page speed and user interaction measurements; Loading, Interactivity and Visual Stability.

  • Loading: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – the average loading time of the largest content element from when the user requests the URL. This is usually an image, video or large block-level text.
  • Interactivity: First Input Delay (FID) – the time from when a user inputs an action or command – such as clicking a link or tapping a button – to the time that the browser executes it.
  • Visual Stability: Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – how stable a page is as it loads. The score is zero to any positive number, where zero means no shifting and the larger the number, the more layout shift on the page.

How are Core Web Vitals measured?

Web pages are given the labels GoodNeeds improvement, and Poor depending on their performance. URL’s are then given the status of the slowest label assigned to it for that device type. For example, a URL on mobile with Poor FID but Needs improvement LCP will be labelled as Poor on mobile.

If a URL doesn’t have enough data for any given metric, that metric is omitted from the report for that URL. Moreover, a URL with data in only one metric is assigned the status of that metric. A URL without threshold data for either metric will not be on the report. Status metrics are evaluated against the following boundaries:

You can check your site’s Core Web Vitals using Google Search Console. The report identifies groups of pages that require attention, based on real-world data from the Chrome UX report.

Why are they important?

Core Web Vitals are important because they highlight the importance of user experience. When users leave a website satisfied, they are more likely to return and recommend tour website to others. In contrast, users are unlikely to return to or recommend websites that are slow to load, unstable or cluttered with popups.

Ultimately, if you optimise your website using Core Web Vitals, you will not only improve your organic ranking, you will also be improving your user experience. This will in turn lead to a more engaged audience and potentially higher conversion rates.

However, it is worth noting that, although Core Web Vitals are important, “Google still seeks to rank pages with the best information overall, even if the page experience is subpar.”

Core Web Vitals for Desktop 

Google has announced a second Core Web Vitals update which will impact desktop results is coming February/March of 2022. This ranking launch will be based on the same page experience signals as the mobile rollout including the three Core Web Vitals metrics and their associated thresholds.

Contact our expert team now to see how we can help improve your websites user experience and SEO.

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