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The Complete Guide to Core Web Vitals & Their Amazing Impact on SEO

core web vitals update

As of June 2021, core web vitals will become a crucial ranking factor for the Google algorithm. Have you caught up on everything about them yet?

Google announced its plan to focus on user experience for ranking websites back in May 2020. Some of the factors that it wanted to start considering for measuring user experience included mobile-friendliness, HTTPS, and of course, core web vitals.

Now that core web vitals are finally in effect for ranking websites, why not learn more about them so that you can make full use of this opportunity to rank your website higher?

Understanding Core Web Vitals & How They Affect SEO

Core web vitals are a part of Google’s Page Experience metrics. They are a set of metrics that measure the loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability of websites to determine the overall user experience provided.

Google measures core web vitals based on real-time usage data or field data. This means that the core web vitals are measured based on actual interactions of website visitors with a web page.

The early days of SEO mostly focused on keywords usage to rank websites on Google. This proved to be very detrimental since many websites would engage in the malpractice of keyword stuffing. Over time, Google evolved other factors to determine a website’s ranking on its result pages.

Metrics for user experience have become a major ranking factor considered by Google today. This is no surprise considering the page abandonment rates for websites that do not focus on their core web vitals— websites that did not meet Google’s threshold for core web vitals have a higher chance by 24% of being abandoned by visitors.

However, an important point that one must keep in mind is that core web vitals alone will not secure you the first spot on Google’s results page. While it is a major enough factor to create a significant impact, the algorithm considers over 200 factors that also need to be met.

What Are the 3 Core Web Vitals?

The three core web vitals are Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), and First Input Delay (FID).

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

Largest contentful paint (LCP) measures a website’s loading speed.

It is the time taken for a website to prepare and display the largest element present on it for complete interaction. For most websites, this element is an image, a video, or some other form of media.

A website’s loading speed is extremely important in determining its user experience and how Google ranks it. LCP is just one way of measuring it. 

LCP affects SEO by reducing bounce rate. The faster the largest content loads for interaction, the lesser will be the chances of the site visitor abandoning the website.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Have you experienced any layout shifts when a page is loading? Such shifts are very common, but if persistent for too long, can point to poor user experience.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is a core web vital that measures the number of times a user experiences unexpected layout shifts before a website is fully loaded. Hence, it is a measure of visual stability.

First Input Delay (FID)

First Input Delay (FID) is the third core web vital that measures interactivity. It is a measure of the delay experienced by a user in receiving responses to interactions.

Thus, FID measures the time gap between when a user makes an input for interaction and the website provides a response.

FID is an important core web vital for your website’s SEO because a website with poor responsiveness has reduced engagement and higher bounce rates.

How Can You Optimize Your Website’s Core Web Vitals?

Since the three core web vitals measure your website’s user experience based on different factors, they require different measures for optimization.

Some of the ways in which you can optimize your website’s core web vitals are listed below.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

Since LCP is a measure of loading speed, the best way to improve it is by eliminating redundant code, including third-party scripts, from your website. 

You can also upgrade your web hosting service so that data is retrieved faster from the website server. 

Lazy loading of images and videos and compression of media are also some measures to improve this core web vital.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Since CLS measures the number of unexpected layout shifts experienced by a user, the best way to tackle it is to use set size attribute dimensions for media and infographics. This ensures that the user’s browser is aware of the space that any element would be taking up and would prevent last moment shifts.

Ensuring the positioning of the ad elements of your website is another way to minimize CLS. It ensures that sudden ads do not pop up on your website and shift the content around.

First Input Delay (FID)

The best way to improve your website’s FID is to minify or defer the Javascript files. This is because interacting with a website becomes very difficult when JS files are loading. 

You can also clean up your third-party scripts to remove any redundant codes. 

Installing a browser cache is another important step you can take so that frequently accessed data is retrieved easily from the server and delays are minimized.

So Have You Optimized Your Core Web Vitals Yet?

Google has made it very clear that user experience is going to be a major factor for determining website rankings moving ahead. As more developments take place, factors like core web vitals will only become more and more important.

If you want to start optimizing your core web vitals, there are several tools out there that can help you. Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Search Console are two of the best for this purpose.

You can also use the Chrome DevTools and Chrome UX Report to further dig into your website’s core web vitals.

So what are you waiting for? Why not start optimizing your core web vitals today?

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