Google recently announced an upcoming change to search rankings that will incorporate Core Web Vitals as a page experience signal in 2021.
In 2021, Google will update their core algorithm to incorporate page experience as a new ranking factor. This means if Google determines that a page is providing a high-quality user experience, then it will likely rank the page higher in search results. For now, the three pillars of page experience include:
- Loading performance | How fast does your content appear on the screen?
- Interactivity | How fast does the page react to user input?
- Visual stability | Does content move around the page while loading?
The new page experience signal consists of the Google Core Web Vitals, as well as existing search ranking factors such as mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, and more. This Google update is designed to quantify the essential metrics for a healthy website to help more site owners build pages that deliver the best user experience.
What are the Core Web Vitals?
The Google Core Web Vitals include user-centered, real-world metrics that assign scores to different aspects of your webpages, A recent study shows less than 15 percent of websites are optimized well enough to pass a Core Web Vitals assessment. While this update isn’t going live until next year, site owners and businesses should prepare for it now. Here are the three Core Web Vitals that Google will be measuring in 2021:
LCP: Largest Contentful Paint
FID: First Input Delay
The First Input Delay measures the time it takes for your site to react to the first interaction by a user, which should occur within 100 milliseconds. The faster the browser reacts, the more responsive the page will appear. This could be a click of a button, and any small delay might make your site feel slow. To offer your users a positive experience, we recommend making your pages more responsive across all devices.
CLS: Cumulative Layout Shift
The Cumulative Layout Shift is a brand-new metric that tries to determine the visual stability of your content. More specifically, it looks at how often stuff moves around while loading a page and by how much. Your pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1. These layout shifts happen a lot with ads, which are often loaded so poorly that they frustrate users. In addition, many complex sites have so much on one page that heavy content gets loaded whenever it’s ready, resulting in content or call-to-actions jumping around on screen to make room for slower loading content.
Measuring Google Core Web Vitals
Although page experience isn’t a specific ranking score, each of the benchmarks in it has unique rankings and weights that contribute to the overall Google algorithm. So what do all these metrics mean for your website?
When it comes to measuring Google Core Web Vitals, we recommend using the following Google tools:
- PageSpeed Insights measures both mobile and desktop performance and provides recommendations for site speed improvements.
- Lighthouse is an open-source, automated tool Google to help developers improve web page quality and measure Progressive Web Apps, accessibility, SEO, and more.
- Google Search Console now includes a Core Web Vitals report, showing URL performance as grouped by status, metric type, and URL.