Google is always making changes to constantly improve the experience that it gives to its users. I recently wrote about the ageing Google Panda algorithm update and how this once hot topic in SEO, was now ten years old, yet the fundamentals of this update are still at its algorithmic core and values around quality content are still as important today as ever.
As with the Google Panda update ten years ago, Google was open and honest about changes that it would soon be making to its algorithms before they were implemented, giving website owners time to make any changes necessary to their websites to avoid any potential ranking or traffic declines.
Ten years on and Google are telling us that in May 2021 a users ‘Page Experience’ will become ranking signals that combine Google Core Web Vitals.
What are Google Core Web Vitals?
Google’s Core Web Vitals have been introduced to measure the speed, responsiveness and stability of a webpage when visited by a user.
The Core Web Vitals are then further split into three categories, LCP, FID, CLS and you’re now probably thinking WTF!
LCP – Largest Contentful Paint: Simply put, this is the time that it takes for a page to load its main content. Ideally, anything 2.5 seconds and faster is seen as good in the eyes of a search engine and puts you in good stead to rank well. Whereas anything over 4 seconds is seen as poor and can have a negative affect on your search ranking potential.
FID – First Input Delay: This highlights the time it takes for a page to become interactive. This is measured in milliseconds and anything less than 100ms is deemed acceptable but over 300ms is classed as poor.
CLS – Cumulative Layout Shift: Or visual stability of a page, this measurement measures the amount of unexpected layout movement on a page. If you’ve ever read an article and then lost your place as the page jumps around as it loads ads within the content, this is CLS. Aim for a measurement below 0.1 to see your rankings benefit, anything over 0.25 may negatively impact your sites ability to rank as well.
How do I measure my websites Core Web Vitals?
You could hire an SEO professional like myself to take care of monitoring and recording how your website is performing under Core Web Vital metrics and hire a developer to implement changes to the website to improve core web vitals.
However, if you want to learn about how well your website is performing and work out if you need to make any changes there are plenty of tools out there to help.
Google Search Console – Or if you’ve been working in SEO for many years, you’ll still struggle not to call this by its former name, Google Webmaster Tools.
You can add a simple line of code to your website to connect Google Search Console to your site and get real world data regarding which pages need attention.
It’s clear and easy to see what needs work with data broken down into Poor, Need Improvement and Good.
Page Speed Insights – This is one of my favourite tools for measuring Core Web Vitals, as it gives really clear data and lots of helpful information to help improve your website. It breaks the data down by mobile and desktop versions of your website and gives you a clear ‘passes’ or ‘does not pass’ result.
Google Page Speed Insights takes data from Google Lighthouse which is another really great tool to use to evaluate your core web vitals and goes into much more detail than page speed insights.
There is plenty of time before the May Google ‘Page Experience’ and ‘Core Web Vitals’ become ranking factors but if you run a website and are worried that your websites performance might be effected in future algorithm updates, then theres never been a better time to start investigating your Core Web Vitals than now.
If you want to talk about anything SEO related or discuss your business website rankings and how I might be able to help, do drop me a line, I love to natter over a cuppa.