Google has been gradually advancing its algorithm to check on small details of websites to match user queries with the best possible results. These tiny, behind-the-scenes details include things like page loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability. The result is the Core Web Vitals (CWV), a set of metrics that Google considers relevant to its search algorithms. The three main CWV metrics are Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). The good news is that these metrics are measurable and can be improved by working with a reliable SEO report generator tool. But what exactly are these metrics?
Google Core Web Vital: The Importance
Google’s always been a user-centric company, from eliminating keyword stuffing to making page speed a ranking factor to mobile-first indexing. Their latest initiative, in the Core Web Vitals, features three indicators that identify factors in web page development that have an impact on user experience: page loading, interactivity, and visual stability.
- LCP measures the time it takes for a web page to fully load and become interactive. This is the first indication that your page may not be performing well and is important for SEO core rankings because it impacts user engagement. An LCP score of 2.5 or less is good, but anything above that must be improved.
- FID monitors the time a browser takes to respond to user input, like a click or tap, on your webpage and is another important indicator of your overall SEO performance. A website should have a FID of less than 200 milliseconds to deliver a decent user experience.
- CLS is the last of the three CWV metrics, and it measures the largest burst of layout shifts that occur on a page during its lifespan. The goal is to minimize the number of significant layout changes, which helps users navigate and understand a page’s content.
To get a complete picture of your website’s performance, you’ll need to look at multiple data sources, including lab data from DeepCrawl or PageSpeed Insights and Chrome User Experience Report data. The CrUX API provides field data at the origin level for websites that have enough traffic to be represented in the dataset, and it’s especially valuable for comparing the results of your preferred SEO report generator tool with those from Google.
1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
2. First Input Delay (FID)
The second metric, First Input Delay (FID), measures the time it takes a user to be able to click on a link or form on your webpage. This metric is also influenced by the slow-loading scripts on your page, the browser type, and the user’s device. A high FID score can lead to frustration for users, so it’s important to optimize your site for a low one.
3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
The final metric, Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), is all about how stable or unstable the elements on your page appear while they’re loading. This is another metric that is influenced by the number of scripts on your page, but it’s also a factor in your CSS and HTML. For example, if you have elements on your page that jump around while they’re loading, it can cause confusion and ultimately frustrate users. Optimizing for a low CLS score can prevent this and ensure your website’s visual stability is optimal.
The brand-new CLS is all about how stable stuff is on a page’s screen. This can be a problem for sites that use banner ads, embeds, iframes, and dynamic content and animations. Google offers various suggestions for raising your CLS score, such as setting picture aspect ratios beforehand and reserving static areas for ad placements.
If your web pages aren’t performing well on Google’s page experience scale, you risk losing out on valuable search traffic. It’s no secret that user experience is a major ranking factor and that Google prioritizes sites with fast load times. In fact, they recently announced that the “page speed” and mobile friendliness factors are being given even more weight in the rankings. That means that you have to get your site’s Core Web Vitals and SEO up to speed in order to compete for the top spots in search results.
Fortunately, any reliable SEO report generator tool can help you identify the problems with your website’s performance and improve its speed. While each website is going to be slightly different, there are many common issues that most websites face. One of those is the need to reduce cumulative layout shifts (CLS) on web pages.
The CLS metric measures how much stuff moves around on your page as it loads and how long that lasts. For example, let’s say that you have a large button on your page that you want users to click. This could be a call to action, an important link, or anything else. But if another element overtakes that large button while it’s loading, it can cause confusion and frustration for your visitors.
So, to get a good CLS score, you need to ensure that the biggest elements of your page are loaded first and that everything else isn’t taking up too much space. You can do this by minimizing the size of any unnecessary page elements and compressing them when possible. If you have a lot of features that are taking up too much space, you can also increase your PageSpeed Insights score by removing them altogether.
While there are a number of ways to measure your CLS scores, using a combination of lab data (DeepCrawl or PageSpeed Insights) with Chrome Dev Tools is the best approach. This will give you the most accurate readings of your performance and allow you to see how much the various elements are affecting your performance.
Google is slowly moving toward a more user-centric approach when it comes to core rankings. This includes an increased focus on web page performance, resulting in the introduction of new metrics such as Core Web Vitals, which measure qualitative users’ experiences with the loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability of a website’s content.
This set of three CWV metrics was released in May 2020 and will play a role in search results beginning this month. While the impact on rankings might be severe for some websites with poor page experience, most will see a minor effect due to other search algorithms factors like keyword relevance and quality of content.
It’s too early to know how much influence the combination of Core Web Vitals and SEO will experience in the future. However, it’s a good idea to begin optimizing for these metrics as soon as possible. The more you do now, the better you will be able to prepare your site for when they become official ranking signals next year.