Gone are the days of internet dial-up when web pages were loaded line by line.
Today’s internet users expect an instant response, with 93% of people leave the site because it doesn’t load properly. No one wastes time for a poor experience.
To enhance the online experience, Google released Core Web Vitals – a set of metrics to help website owners measure the speed, responsiveness, and visual stability of their pages.
The Core Web Vitals report gives you insights on page performance, so you can improve your website experience and let Google bots know it deserves high search rankings.
But why is speed and user experience important to your business?
- If the page load time increases from 1 second to 3 seconds, the bounce rate increases by 32%.
- If the page load time increases from 1 second to 6 seconds, the bounce rate will increase by 106%. (Google)
A high bounce rate hurts your bottom line. Potential customers will only need to go to a competitive website if your website loads slowly.
But if you know what metrics to achieve and start improving your pages, Google will reward you with better rankings – and you’ll create a more enjoyable experience for potential customers.
What is the core web?
While it may seem instantaneous, the web pages load part by piece. That means forms, images, and titles are displayed at different times, with the speed at which each element contributes to overall load time. It’s important to know your site’s performance, to please impatient visitors and meet the Core Web Vitals thresholds.
To do so, you need to understand the metrics that make up Core Web Vitals:
- Son has the largest content (LCP) measures the load performance of a page. It considers how long it takes to load the largest piece of content (usually a video, image or block of text) since the user requested the URL. Google recommends websites keep the LCP under 2.5 seconds for 75% of their page load.
- First input lag (FID) measures the engagement of a page. It is the amount of time between an action (think, click a button or link) until the browser responds to the action. The FID measurement comes from whatever element is clicked first, switching the page from static to interactive. Responsibility is crucial to making a good first impression on your visitors by showing that your website is trustworthy and running smoothly. Google recommends websites keep FID below 100 milliseconds for 75% of page loads.
- Cumulative layout shift (CLS) measures all layout changes that occur on a page. It is written from zero (no displacement) to a positive number (more shifted). Common causes of the change are drop-down banner ads, pop-up buttons, or images that cause the block of text to move. All of these contribute to a negative user experience, which is why it is important to reduce any changes that occur on your website. Google recommends websites to achieve a CLS score of 0.1 or less.
By analyzing millions of pages, Google found that users are 24% less likely to drop pages from loading when a website meets the requirements above. If you are looking for more details, see the research behind Identify the Core Web Vitals index threshold.
How to improve Core Web Vitals
First things first, you need the basic metrics for your website. Go through the following steps to find out your starting point:
- Plug in your URL into Google’s Details about page speed tool.
- Click ‘Analyze.’
- Test your performance. The labels “Poor”, “Need to Improve” and “Good” are given to your URL on both mobile and desktop. Switch between these two options in the upper left corner of the page.
Here’s what it looks like when I run an analysis on HubSpot.
You can see the desktop version performs better than the mobile version, which is common. In a study of over five million pages, Backlinko found that The average website takes 87.84% to load on mobile devices compared to desktop. Several main factors affect speed: CMS type, CDN, host, and page weight.
If your URL doesn’t have enough data for a specific Core Web Vitals metric, you won’t see that metric appear on reports. When your URL has enough data, your page status will reflect the worst performing metric.
Troubleshooting Core Web Vitals
It takes a lot of work to improve the performance of your pages, but you can start solving problems with a step-by-step approach.
- Prioritize issues by label: Handles anything labeled “Poor” first. Then choose your work based on large-scale issues that affect the highest number of URLs or most important ones. Next are the problems with the “Need Improvement” label.
- Make the list: Create a priority task list for the team that will update the site. Includes these common page fixes for reference:
- Reduce the page size to under 500KB.
- Limit each page to 50 resources for optimal mobile performance.
- Consider optimizing your page for fast loading using AMP.
3. Share common fixes: Each Core Web Vitals metric has dozens of ways to improve the threshold. Below, I’ve covered the basic reasons for the “Poor” state and how to fix each one.
Improved FID It’s all about measuring how quickly your website responds to user actions. Here, you want to fix every bad first experience everyone has on a page. To see how to improve your FID threshold and check how users are interacting with your website, you can run a performance test with Chrome Lighthouse tool. You can also try the following tweaks to improve your score.
Improving CLS and reducing undesirable change stemming from following some best practices. Say goodbye to sensational banners and accidental ad clicks.
- Include dimension attributes either CSS aspect ratio box for pictures and videos. These numbers tell the browser how much space to allocate to the page element while it is loading, which prevents changes from being rendered when the elements render.
- Don’t add content above existing content. The only exception is if it responds to a user action that is expected to change.
- Provide context for the transition. All animations and transitions in a layout need context and continuity if you are moving users from one section of the page to another.
Once you think a particular issue has been fixed, you can check to see if your thresholds have been improved on the Search Console Core Web Critical Scores report. Click “Start Tracking” for a 28-day launch session confirmation monitor your website for any signs of the problem. If it doesn’t pop up during that time, consider it fixed.
Like all ranking factors, ghosts are in the details. If you are a developer or technology professional who wants more information on how to optimize Core Web Vitals, check out Google’s guide to LCP optimization, FID, or CSL.
Core Web Vitals rating process
Core Web Vitals will be included in the Google Search ranking starting May 2021. Initially, they announced the update plan in May 2020 but pushed back the release due to COVID’s global impact. -19.
And, as Dave Brong, CTO’s WebMechanix, points out, “Core Web Vitals is the ‘web 3.0’ facing our generation of web development and SEO professionals.”
“By shifting the focus away from fragile server-level metrics and beyond to user experience (UX), Google is paving the way for a more accessible website in the future.”
As you prepare your site for Core Web Vitals, keep in mind that these are only part of the existing Google search signals. Search also looks at mobile friendliness, HTTPS security, and secure browsing Principle of alternating intrusion.
Part of Core Web Vitals will include some important changes for website owners:
“Changes to non-AMP content eligible to appear in Mobile Top Stories in Search will also be rolled out in May 2021. Any page that meets the content policy. Google News will be eligible, and we will prioritize pages with great page experiences, whether implemented using AMP or any other web technology, when we rank the results. “Google)
Deciding to improve your website’s Core Web Vitals may not seem like a simple task. But by prioritizing the most problematic pages and coordinating with your web team, you can work towards the “Good” label and give everyone visiting your site a great experience.