Over the years, Google has grown alongside and in conjunction with the internet. As the digital ecosystem and user base evolved, so too did Google’s search algorithm. The goal wasn’t to simply help internet searchers find answers to their queries—it was to create the best user experience possible throughout the entire search process.
In 2020, to make Google even more user-friendly, the Chrome team announced Core Web Vitals: “a set of metrics related to speed, responsiveness, and visual stability, to help site owners measure user experience on the web.” And recently, Google further clarified its standards.
So, what should be on your checklist to pass the new Core Web Vitals? We’ll review.
Ranking Based on Page Experience
The purpose of creating a great-on page experience is to help users accomplish more and engage at a deeper level. A bad page experience, on the other hand, may prevent a site visitor from getting the on-page information they came for.
So, when it comes to fostering a positive on-page experience, the new Core Web Vitals supplement already existing factors, such as mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines. But it’s important to note that the new ranking factors don’t override content. Per Google:1
While all of the components of page experience are important, we will prioritize pages with the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar. A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content. However, in cases where there are multiple pages that have similar content, page experience becomes much more important for visibility in Search.
The Three Pillars
The new core websites are made up of three key user-centric pillars that can help quantify important facets of what makes a great user experience. They include:
- Largest contentful paint (LCP) – LCP gauges a page’s perceived load speeds. It’s a metric that measures the render time of the largest image or text block visible to the user, which is often the first thing a user sees. A faster LCP positively impacts user perception of a site’s load times. So, sites should seek to have an LCP of 2.5 seconds or less, which would put it in the 75th percentile of page loads across mobile and desktop.
- First input delay (FID) – FID gauges the responsiveness of a website, quantifying user experience based on their initial interaction with the page. It tells Google how quickly the page responds when a user attempts to engage—whether by scrolling or clicking. A slow responding site can lead to user frustration, so the lower the FID, the better. Ideally, you want your FID score to be below 100 ms.
- Cumulative layout shift (CLS) – CLS gauges the visual stability of a page and measures how much the page layout shifts. This is incredibly important because a constantly shifting page makes for an awful reading experience that causes users to lose their place, click on the wrong link, or simply leave. According to Google, this happens for five primary reasons:
- Images without dimensions
- Ads, embeds, and iframes without dimensions
- Dynamically injected content
- Web Fonts causing FOIT/FOUT
- Actions waiting for a network response before updating DOM
Semgeeks—Optimizing Your Website
There are a variety of factors that impact how your site will rank on Google. Naturally, content should be one of your primary focuses. However, if multiple sites have competitive content, the user experience can be the differentiating factor.
This is why your site must be built with the new Core Web Vitals in mind.
If you’re unsure how to adhere to these pillars, you’re in the right place.
As a Google Analytics consultant and web design agency in New Jersey, here at Semgeeks we have the resources and expertise your website needs to stand out. Whether you need an entire site build or a facelift on your current platform, we do it all.
Ready to get started?
Google Search Central. Evaluating Page Experience for a Better Web. https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2020/05/evaluating-page-experience
Search Engine Journal. What Is Largest Contentful Paint: An Easy Explanation. https://www.searchenginejournal.com/largest-contentful-paint-lcp/374690/#close
Google Web.Dev. First Input Delay. https://web.dev/fid/
Google Web.Dev. Optimize Cumulative Layout Shift. https://web.dev/optimize-cls/
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