For the past few years, Google has constantly been working on upgrading the user experience. With each passing year, Google brings something new and refined that takes the page-ranking game several notches higher.
The latest announcement by Google regarding their Core Web Vitals (CWV) update has been sending ripples across the entire world. This latest update is expected to arrive in May 2021 and sure to take the world by storm.
With this news, Google has also released some tools to help the developers and website owners to optimize their web pages for the update.
Here is everything you should know about this latest Core Web Vitals update.
What is Google’s May 21st Core Web Vital Update?
Core Web Vitals entail the loading speed, visual stability, and interactivity of a web page. These three variables, along with other relevant factors, determine the quality standards of web pages. These variables are considered essential for an up to par user experience.
From May 2021, Google has decided to rank the websites based on these metrics, i.e., Core Web Vitals.
However, how strongly these metrics will impact the rankings is still a mystery. But Google will now pay more heed to user experience factors associated with the page loading speed, visual stability of the content while loading, and responsiveness or interactivity of the page.
Loading is measured by Largest Contentful Paint, visual stability is measured by Cumulative Layout Shift, and interactivity is measured by First Input Delay. Let’s get into the details of these three metrics.
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): It measures the loading operation of a website. Optimum loading performance is when the website’s largest element loads within 2.5 seconds after a visitor opens a page. If the loading time is longer than 4 seconds, the score of the website drops.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): It is a measure of the visual stability of a website along with the frequency of unanticipated layout changes that a user experiences on the website. CLS of less than 0.1 is considered to provide an acceptable user experience.
- First Input Delay (FID): It measures the time in which a page becomes responsive or interactive. Ideally, it should be less than 100 milliseconds to ensure a good user experience.
What does this update mean for website owners?
There are a million websites on the internet that share relevant information. For a particular keyword, several pages from various websites flash on the screen with almost similar content. All these pages effectively answer the user’s query. With this latest update, the page with a better quality score will rank higher in the search results.
It means that apart from focusing on the quality of content they are sharing, the website owners now need to optimize their web pages to get a better CWV score to rank high in the search result.
Furthermore, Google may also introduce a badge for the Core Web Vital status of the page that will be seen adjacent to the title of the page in search results. With this, the user will know which page to choose for getting relevant information while enjoying a great overall experience.
In a bid to further amplify the user experience, Google is planning to add new page experience signals, which it will keep updating time and again. The current search signals, including safe-browsing, mobile-friendliness, intrusive interstitial guidelines, and HTTPS security, will remain relevant.
The Pros and Cons of meeting Google’s threshold
As we know, nothing interesting is ever completely one-sided; this latest update from Google is no exception.
The three metrics appendaged to Core Web Vitals update are indeed the biggest benefits you will get with this new update.
- With LCP, you will be able to measure the loading operation of your website and optimize your website if it takes longer than 4 seconds to load.
- With CLS, you will get cognizance of the visual stability of your website. You can optimize the website if CLS is more than 0.1.
- With FID, you will be able to measure the time taken by your website pages to become responsive. Work on them if they take more than 100 milliseconds.
Although the update is promising, there are a few downfalls too.
- Optimizing website pages with these three metrics is easier said than done. You will have to spend a considerable amount of time optimizing every page based on these metrics.
- Not upgrading the pages will negatively impact your website. If you fail to optimize your web pages based on these metrics, your website will down-perform comparatively to your competition who are adhering to these optimizations.
How to know if your website will be affected?
Of course, you would want to know whether your website will be affected by this latest update or not. You can easily check the performance of your website using a set of tools offered by Google to analyze your performance.
Using these tools, you can keep a tab on the performance of your website, identify the problems, and fix them before they escalate into bigger issues.
Here are these tools:
- Google Search Console (GSC)
If you are a verified website owner, this tool allows you to check the current status of your website in its Core Web Vitals Report. It rates pages’ performance as “Good,” “Need Improvement,” and “Poor.”
- Lighthouse and Chrome DevTools
These tools come in handy when you want to measure the specs of your web pages and find out the problems. They help you identify the issues and guide you through the fixing process.
- Page Speed Insights (PSI)
It is another tool that helps in the identification of the issues. Run PSI on the web pages that need optimization, and it will diagnose the issues.
- Chrome Use Experience Report (CrUX)
This tool uses real-life user data to help you gauge the performance of a website.
- Web Vitals Chrome Extension
This tool helps you monitor the core web vitals of your pages in real-time. You can use it on every page of any website, even if you are not a website owner.
These diagnostic tools help you spot every existing problem with your website and help you to fix them as well.
The impact of Google’s Core Web Vitals Update on your website’s ranking
A website’s rank on the search results depends on various factors, such as quality of content, the frequency with which the content is updated on the website, SEO Maryland, use of alt tags, metadata, use of external links, etc.
This latest update will add a few more variables to this list. A website with a faster page loading speed, better visual stability when loading, and high interactivity or responsiveness will get an edge over others. The pages having a higher CWV score will rank high in the search results.
The Bottom Line
A poor user experience is the biggest culprit in turning the traffic away and restricting conversions despite the use of best conversion rate optimization techniques. With these latest updates, Google will surely compel the website owners to update their website to ensure a seamless user experience. This update is going to benefit both ends of the spectrum.
If you are a website owner or developer, it’s high time you optimize your website for these updates because procrastination may lead you to a point where you will have to revamp your website completely. It may impact your traffic and enhance recovery time.