How Google’s Core Web Vitals Update is Going to Affect Your Website
A lot of components are taken into consideration when it comes to how your website stacks up against others in Google’s search results. The practice of fine-tuning these components to achieve the desired, high-ranking outcome, is what we call search engine optimization (SEO).
In the digital marketing world, there are two types of SEO: on-page and off-page.
Off-page SEO refers to those actions which occur outside the scope of your website but still have an effect on your search engine ranking.
On-page SEO, on the other hand, refers to the work you do on your website and its pages, both from a content perspective and a code perspective.
SEO’s Impact on Website Performance and User Experience
Working on off-page SEO is simple enough and, though it can affect your ranking, its distanced nature means it has no impact on how your site performs. On-page SEO however, is heavily tied to your site’s performance. The more graphics, videos, and animations your site has, the more likely you are to suffer from rendering problems and long load times.
This practice of designing visually stunning sites is still relatively new in the grand scheme of things. It’s also constantly evolving, which means that the way search engines rank websites must evolve right along with web design.
You see, Google is the king when it comes to search engine ranking, and they’re generally concerned with one thing and one thing only: the user experience. Of course, that includes things like usability and content, but it also includes website performance. And so we’ve arrived at our topic of conversation - Google’s 2021 Core Web Vitals Update.
What Google’s Core Web Vitals Update Means to You
Google has been factoring website performance into search engine rankings for a couple of years now, and it began with measuring a site’s worth by its page load times. Today, the algorithm also includes things like mobile-friendliness and HTTPS security.
About a year ago, Google announced that the core algorithm would be updated again - an update which we now know is scheduled to occur in May 2021. This update will have an enormous effect on how a website’s user experience affects its ranking. So what does this mean for your site?
Well, it means that content won’t be the only factor separating you from your competition. Content will absolutely still be important, but if you and your competitor have equally high-quality content, this update will mean that your user experience will be that much more important.
So now that you have a little bit of background on Google’s ranking preferences, let’s get into the nitty-gritty details. The core web vitals (CWV) update will consider three main factors when assessing a site’s user experience offering. They are:
- Largest Contentful Paint or LCP - This is the time it takes for any given page’s main content to load. A “good” page will load its content in about 2.5 seconds or less. A “bag” page will take 4 seconds or longer. If around 75% of your pages can achieve a good time, your site should fare well.
- Cumulative Layout Shift or CLS - This will cover how much-unexpected layout shift occurs when loading any given page’s visual content. For example, if any image begins to load, and then gets bigger or smaller before returning to its intended size, this will be a knock against your site. CLS is scored using an equation that incorporates impact fraction and distance fraction, which are metrics you can learn more about here.
- First Input Delay or FID - In this instance, Google will consider how long it takes your site to respond when the user initiates an interaction (clicks, form fills, etc.). As long as 75% of your site responds to an interaction within about 100 ms, you should be fine.
How to Prepare for Google’s Core Web Vitals Update
Google’s Data Studio is one of many, many tools that can be used to generate core web vital reports and evaluate the responsiveness of your site. These reports aren’t simple to read, however, and they don’t do much good unless you’re comparing your website to those of your competition. We’re not kidding, about how hard they are to interpret. See for yourself:
When combined with one or several other assessment tools, our team can evaluate your site, compare it to your competitor’s sites, and work to isolate which pages are causing CWV issues, if any. Even making a few small changes can go a long way toward ranking better and providing your customers with a great user experience.
Is your website ready for Google core web vitals update? BlueTone Media can help you find out - 888-BLU-TONE (888-258-8663).