Core Web Vitals for SEO Beginners

We all know how much page speed matters when it comes to SEO. We’ve known for years that Google considers page loading speed when rating websites, and we’ve been creating, revising, and redesigning our pages ever since. 

Google is introducing Core Web Vitals, a new ranking factor that takes a more granular approach to page speed, starting next year. What does this mean for your website and you? Here are some important aspects that you need to know for perfect SEO.

What are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals (aka. Web Vitals) are a group of performance metrics that drive attention to various aspects of web pages that impact user experience. These include visual stability, page loading, and interactivity. The SEO community expects Google to include Core Web Vitals ranking factors in their Page Experience Update (which also contains other key metrics like intrusive interstitials, SSL certification, and mobile friendliness), around May 2021. 

One thing to note about Core Web Vitals is that they’re not set in stone – meaning you might find them changing year to year based on what people expect from a good web page. For the time being, they revolve around three factors, so those are the areas that SEO experts should be focusing on after the rollout. As a reminder, there are over 200 ranking factors for SEO, and though Core Web Vitals might not hold significant weight, you still want to optimize your site for them to make the most of your search presence. 

Why Are Core Web Vitals Important?

Google is going to regard Page experience as an official ranking factor soon. It will be a combination of factors that impact the user experience, the most important of which revolve around:

  • Not having interstitial pop-ups on the website
  • HTTPS’ mobile friendliness 
  • Secure web browsing will form a major part of the ranking

Based on the name and the purported release, Core Web Vitals are going to make up a good portion of the page experience. But its critical to note that a high page experience score won’t automatically propel you to pinnacle of search engine rankings because you’ll also need to work on other things like on-page SEO, reputation that you have externally, and more. Just remember, you still have a few months to boost your site’s Core Web Vital ratings, according to Google. It’d be great if you can take some steps to improve your score before. 

Three Main Metrics of Core Web Vitals

Let’s look at the three key metrics used in Core Web Vitals while discussing whether they can help you boost your website’s SEO right now.

1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

This is a key Core Vitals metrics that website owners may leverage to analyze their user experience and identify whether a webpage is worth based on the most recognizable blocks’ time of render. 

To provide a pleasant user experience, it’s crucial for your webpages to load quickly. Not only is page load time important for a good user experience, but a page that loads quickly also has a better chance of ranking higher in Google. Furthermore, as compared to a page with slow loading times, fast load times have been shown to affect interaction and conversion rates.

 The time it takes for different content blocks to load inside the user viewport is measured by LCP (current screen). This metric only considers the speed at which material sections make on the visible screen; nothing below the fold is taken into account.

  • Photographs
  • Photos from video posters
  • Stock Images for the context
  • Text at the block level

2. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

To increase sales and conversions, site owners should make it as simple as possible for visitors to interact with links and buttons on their pages. Cumulative Layout Shift is a metric that defines links or buttons that shift after a web page has loaded, and it indicates how difficult it will be for users to interact with items on your site until the page is rendered.

A good user interface requires good UX and design, and a user can become annoyed if a web page changes elements as they are reading. CLS assists developers in determining whether images or links on a website change, allowing site owners to boost accessibility, increase click-through rates, and increase online sales.

CLS considers several factors when determining the visual stability of a website from the viewpoint of a user:

  • Changes in the layout
  • The percentage of people who are affected
  • fraction of a mile
  • A CLS of 0.1 or less is recommended for site owners.

3. First Input Delay (FID)

Consumers want pages that are quick to load and easy to interact with on the internet. First Input Delay is a metric that calculates input latency (the time it takes for a page feature to react to a user’s input) to recognize pages that may frustrate your audience.

To serve content to their audience, modern websites employ a variety of advanced technology and interactive content widgets. Although this form of content can boost content delivery, it can also cause delays, forcing users to wait for their browsers to respond to their feedback. 

Site owners should strive for FIDs of less than 100 milliseconds to provide a good user experience. It’s worth noting that FID is difficult to quantify because it’s only possible to do so in the field. This means that factors beyond your control, such as user interface capabilities and Internet speeds as experienced by your audience, can affect your ranking.

Some Quick Fixes For Beginners

How to fix the Response Time of a Slow Server

Several factors specific to the site’s technology stack decide the server response time. In this case, there are no silver bullets. Build a ticket for your development team as soon as possible.

TTFB could be improved in the following ways:

  • Improve the server’s efficiency.
  • Users will be guided to a CDN that is close by.
  • Assets can be cached.
  • Cache-first HTML pages are served.
  • Make third-party communications as soon as possible.

How to Fix Render-Blocking CSS Issues

CSS is render-blocking by nature and affects vital rendering path efficiency. The browser installs all CSS resources regardless of whether they are blocked or not. CSS should be compressed if possible. Look for a plugin that will systematically reduce the scripts if your site uses a module bundler or builds tool.

How to Fix Block Rendering Third-Party Scripts

  • It should be postponed. If the script does not apply to the above-the-fold text, use the async or defer attributes.
  • Let it out. Remove any iframes from the script’s head. Contact the vendor for the most up-to-date implementation method.
  • Consolidate the information. Head over to the next section to inspect the use of third-party scripts. Who is responsible for the tool? A liability is a non-managed third-party financial instrument.
  • Lastly, it should be updated. Contacting the provider to see whether a better lean or asynchronous version is available is another option. They do this on occasion, and those who are already using their old implementation are not allowed to continue.

How to Fix Client-Side Rendering

The stop isn’t a really useful answer. While accurate, this information is useless. Instead, consider the following:

  • Reduce the amount of essential JavaScript. Using code-splitting, tree shaking, and inline functions in the brain for above-the-fold features. Keep inline scripts to a maximum of 1 kilobyte.
  • Make use of client-side rendering. Having your servers execute JS components allows you to return completely rendered HTML. Since the scripts are run before your server responds, your TTFB will increase.
  • Make use of pre-rendering. Execute your scripts during the build process to ensure that your HTML is ready for incoming requests. While this option has a faster server response time, it will not work for sites with inventory or prices that change frequently.

Conclusion

The Core Web Vitals update serves as a reminder that websites should be optimized for humans first and search engines second. While the metrics that form this update should evolve over time, the present group focuses on various aspects of user experience, including visual stability, loading, and interactivity. 

Taking the above steps should help prepare your site to deliver a great experience. That said, if you’re still overwhelmed by the technicalities of Core Web Vitals optimizations, we suggest getting in touch with an SEO firm. This is going to take a while – so do two things in the meantime: 1) limit your webpage resources to 50 and bring down each webpage’s size to 500kb or less. Pages should load fast and make for an enjoyable experience for the web visitor.