If you gravitate toward the world of SEO (search engine optimization), you’ve probably heard about some new positioning factors that are about to be evaluated by the Google algorithm: Core Web Vitals.
After Google first announced their arrival on the scene in May of 2021, their deployment date was recently pushed back, however they should be introduced starting in mid-June (of 2021).
Core Web Vitals are essential web signals, metrics that indicate how your pages are performing based on actual usage data. The purpose of these metrics is to evaluate webpages and grade them based on their:
The goal of this latest update to its ranking algorithm is to improve the way in which Google analyzes the overall experience offered by websites. Core Web Vitals will therefore be added to the following UX signals already weighted by the search engine:
As previously mentioned, Google has already identified the three main metrics that will be evaluated for Core Web Vitals, which will enable the experience of a site’s page to be assigned a score.
The first web performance metric is Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). This metric highlights the time needed to load the largest visible element (generally the page’s main content). When we say “the largest visible element,” this often means an image or a video, but it’s also possible that it’s a text-based element.
That said, the format of the main content is does not really matter. What counts is whether it’s loaded quickly. According to Google’s recommendations, an LCP of 2.5 seconds or less should ideally be respected.
The second measurement taken by the search engine is First Input Delay (FID), or the time between a user’s first action and the browser’s response. In other words, the time it takes for a page to react. This value is particularly important for pages where a user action, such as clicking on a link or pressing a button, is expected.
What FID is attempting to evaluate is the reactivity of the webpage. In Google’s opinion, an ideal FID is 100 milliseconds or less.
The third metric to keep in mind is Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). Google defines this as the sum total of all scores for every unexpected layout shift arising during the lifespan of the page. To simplify things, here are four examples of visual content that can change position unexpectedly and affect the CLS:
Cumulative Layout Shift enables search engines to evaluate the visual stability of webpages. According to Google, a webpage should ideally get a CLS score below 0.1.
Now that you know what the three main performance metrics of Core Web Vitals are, as well as what they allow you to observe, you should now apply them to optimize the efficiency of your webpages. There are a variety of tools are at your disposal, but we’ve selected the three that we judge to be the most important.
In order to help webmasters track the performance of their webpages through essential signal analysis, Google recently added a new report, called Core Web Vitals report, which is accessible through the Page Experience section of Google Search Console.
In this report, you will find your URLs ranked in three categories:
It is important to note that the report from Google Search Console will not offer optimization recommendations. However, you will find a link to PageSpeed Insights, which enables testing of the selected page. With this tool you will be able to identify possible concrete solutions.
Sites and webpages don’t always face the same kinds of problems. This makes it difficult to provide general recommendations that will function in all cases. That said, here are a few avenues for optimization that will apply to many sites:
If these tips don’t apply to your particular situation, we suggest creating a personalized, prioritized list of your needs and start by attacking the problems that affect the largest number of your pages or the pages that are most important for your website.
For those interested in the more technical aspect of their site’s and pages’ performance, other tools are available for a deeper analysis and to precisely observe their platform’s efficiency in terms of Core Web Vitals, such as:
Finally, Web Vitals, a new extension for Chrome available in the Chrome Web Store, was also created for the express purpose of measuring the speed, reactivity and visual stability of your pages in real time.
In closing, it’s important to keep an eye on the performance of your website and its pages with Core Web Vitals because these metrics will very soon become the most important positioning factors. As we’ve been able to observe in recent years, Google has increasingly taken into account user experience when updating its algorithm. Core Web Vitals will therefore soon become essential data in the analysis of your website’s performance.
That being said, while a solid technical base is essential for a good ranking, the best way to advantageously position yourself in search results is still through the creation and provision of unique content, tailor-made for users, that responds to their needs, problems and questions.