Google rolled out new ranking factors! So today, we will give an overview of Core Web Vitals and help you understand how they are changing SEO in 2021!
You probably have heard that Google presented a new algorithm and page experience update in November 2020, which brought three new ranking factors – i.e. Core Web Vitals – to an already long list of search signals. They were supposed to start in May 2021, but there have been a delay and Google will start taking them into consideration from June 2021.
Webmasters and SEO specialists – be ready! You will now have to pay extra attention to the three new user experience metrics: loading speeds, interactivity, and visual stability.
We say extra because, during industry research, users have shown their preference toward websites that offer a great page experience; therefore, these signals are not standalone. To increase page experience, these metrics will join the list of page experience signals that you already know: safe browsing, HTTPS, mobile-friendliness, and pages without intrusive interstitials.
In this article, we will help you find out what are the new Google updates and how Core Web Vitals change SEO in 2021! But before we dive into understanding these new updates, let’s take a glance at what is SEO and why it matters for your business!
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization” and it is the process of optimizing your website to make it “easier” for Google (and other search engines) to find your website. In other words, Search Engine Optimization is a free practice for brands and businesses to increase the visibility of your company and it is a great tool to generate website traffic through organic search results.
Basically, the better your SEO score, the higher your indexed pages appear in search results and start driving organic traffic to your website!
There are many search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, Yandex, DuckDuckGo, but 90% of all searches are made on Google, which is why most SEO experts and webmasters follow Google’s rules when it comes to optimization.
Also, although the acronym SEO communicates “search engines” as the focus area, it is also important to know that SEO equally matters in understanding the target group that you want to approach with your content.
Each search engine has crawlers that gather information from the internet about the content requested in a search bar. So with SEO, you have to know who your target audience is and how they are searching for answers to their questions, what words do they use and what content are they looking for.
Therefore, your job as an SEO expert is to tailor website content in a way that crawlers find relevant for your target group’s questions and display it index it high in Google search results.
Paid media can definitely grow your business and traffic to your website for a while, however, a well-tailored SEO strategy can become continuous assistance in your business growth without demanding too many costs; whereas, advertising requires constant investment!
Search Engine Optimization can be split into on-site (also known as on-page) and off-site SEO where on-page SEO is basically all the tactics that you use directly on your website to improve your rankings in search results.
It can be keyword optimization and usage in your website, content creation, alt-text, meta description, title tags, internal linking, the structure of your URL, mobile-friendliness, page performance and now Core Web Vitals will join the basics of on-page SEO. If you already do the ones listed above, you are on a great track of on-site SEO!
While you can fully control your on-page factors, off-page SEO contains factors that influence your website’s rankings off-site. It is everything that generates traffic to your website from other sites such as backlinks, the authority of your domain, guest blogging, press coverage, and social media!
Now we know what is SEO. But what are the new Core Web Vitals?
In short, the new Google updates measure:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCS)
- First Input Delay (FID)
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
It is important to know what each metric means to understand how it will affect SEO in 2021. So, metrics estimate how fast your page loads, how fast is your page’s interactivity, and how visually stable it is. When a visitor surfs your webpage on a mobile device or computer desktop, it identifies the user’s experience within load speed or ability to interact with your page.
Understanding the user experience might be a tangled process, as it has many aspects a webmaster or SEO specialist has to keep in mind! Facets of measuring the user experience may depend on the context or site itself, but Core Web Vitals are a set of common signals that can significantly improve or impair the user experience on your webpage and affect your ranking.
This group of metrics is now joining search signals for page experience and to gain a better understanding of each, we will guide you through it!
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
The first metric is Largest Contentful Paint. Simply said, this metric deals with measuring how fast your webpage loads. LCP demonstrates the render time of the largest content on your website to load, as it usually appears the last on your screen! Large elements could be text boxes, images, or background.
For a good user experience, the last largest element should occur within 2,5 seconds of the page since it starts to load. If the loading speed is anything between 2,5 seconds to 4,0 seconds, the site requires an improvement. For LCP, the loading time of anything over 4,0 seconds is considered a poor user experience. Simple concept!
So basically, it is the largest thing to appear on your viewport, whether it is your computer desktop or mobile device screen. How long does it take for a picture, text, video, or the other largest content on your website to load?
First Input Delay (FID)
The second metric is First Input Delay and it demonstrates interactivity. It is indeed a user-centric metric that measures load responsiveness. In simple terms, this signal measures the time between the user clicking on something (first interaction with your webpage) until the time when a browser can respond and give a result.
For example, when a visitor clicks on your ‘Blog” button, how fast does the browser take the user to your blog site?
However, it is important to know that FID does not measure processing time, but a delay in processing. It is considered a good user experience if First Input Delay is less than 100 milliseconds. Delay in between 100 to 300 ms needs improvement, meanwhile, anything over 300 milliseconds is a poor FID.
Cumulative Layout Shifts (CLS)
And the final thing is Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), which refers to visual stability on your website. Probably all of us have ever experienced frustration when we press on a button, but the layout shifts and we accidentally click something we didn’t intend to!
To eliminate the poor user experience, Google introduced a CLS signal to reduce unexpected movement of the content. This metric will assist you by measuring how often your users experience this problem. But you may ask what is a good Cumulative Layout Shift score?
Sites should aim for the Cumulative Layout Shift score to be less than 0,1 because it is considered a good user experience. However, if it results in anything between 0,1-0,25, it needs to be improved. A number above 0,25 is perceived as a poor user experience on the site.
So, we know what are the Google algorithm updates, but how will Core Web Vitals change SEO in 2021?
Mainly, new page experience signals will join hundreds of factors Google looks into while generating Search results. It means that Core Web Vitals change SEO in terms that now you will have to consider these new metrics to compete for a high rank in Google.
But we have great news!
Page experience is definitely important when it comes to ensuring the best user interaction with your site. However, Google will prioritize ranking pages with the finest content and overall information! Outstanding page experience will not take over the high-quality content you publish on your site.
But keep in mind that some pages can be as relevant as yours and share great information, so Core Web Vitals will come in-hand to increase your page experience and rank higher than your competition!
Moreover, you can access tools to measure and report Core Web Vitals.
Until June 2021, you can master all these tools, such as Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX), PageSpeed Insights, and Search Console (Core Web Vitals report) that will help you identify and fix bugs within your user experience metrics. These are essentials for your best SEO performance when metrics launch!
To understand how Google sees your Core Web Vitals performance of your site, it is important that you get access to Google Search Console. This tool is free and helps you track the performance of your website. Moreover, Google Search Console helps you understand how Google sees your website in general.
In this case, the Core Web Vitals report shows you an overview of metrics performance within the last 90 days, and you can easily access the performance by simply logging into Google Search Console.
However, if you get frustrated by how slowly Google Search Console updates the performance measurements even though you have fixed all bugs, it is because the report takes numbers from the Chrome User Experience Report, which is based on the last 28 days of data.
Google Core Web Vitals is about to become the main user experience metrics with Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) on the way. But don’t worry – there is still some time to make friends with these new metrics.
Basically, LCP shows how fast your webpage loads, FID displays the website’s load responsiveness, and finally, CLS refers to visual stability on your website. All of them will contribute to a great user experience on your page.
As Google continues improving tools to measure Core Web Vitals, you can continue learning about them and get to know tools that we mentioned earlier in the article: Chrome User Experience Report, PageSpeed Insights, and Google Search Console. These digital instruments will help you track Core Web Vitals’ performance, so you can easily identify bugs and fix them.
So if you haven’t looked into them yet, you still have some time until June 2021, until Google starts taking new metrics into consideration.
But as much as new metrics and page experience are important, high-quality content will remain the main priority. Sure enough, that without relevant content your site will not rank high. Keep focusing on publishing top-notch content!
But don’t forget – great page experience metrics performance can help you outrun equally good content like yours in Google rankings.
This being said, we hope this article helped you understand what are the new metrics Google rolled out and how will Core Web Vitals change SEO from June 2021!
And if you don’t yet have a website but are thinking of building one or if you just want to optimize your current platform, book a free consultation with one of Wiredelta’s experts and let us help you achieve your dreams!