There is always change in SEO and digital marketing, from new algorithm updates (named after obscure animals) to zero-click SERPs. Change is the only constant we can guarantee.

The hot topic of 2020, which is currently hitting the headlines is Google’s new Core Web Vitals (CWV). Many of you may be familiar with CVW but haven’t gone into massive detail yet. Many may not have a clue what it is and how it may impact your business. This blog is here to help you understand each area of CVW and give you the resources you now need.

User Experience

Google’s focus, which has been their direction for some time now, appears to be on providing the highest quality user experience. Core Web Vitals is Google rolling out a clear set of guidelines and quality metrics. The guidelines will allow business owners to ensure their website is at a minimum standard of usability which meets the needs of today’s user.

Note that these changes will not be coming into play until 2021 as Google have giving site owners a clear 6 months to adjust their technical strategy. As 2020 has been quite eventful already, we thank Google for the adjustment/grace period. As of 2021, Core Web Vitals will be part of the algorithm to rank your website.

Core Web Vitals are the subset of Web Vitals that apply to all web pages, should be measured by all site owners, and will be surfaced across all Google tools. Each of the Core Web Vitals represents a distinct facet of the user experience, is measurable in the field, and reflects the real-world experience of a critical user-centric outcome.

In this post we want to focus exactly on the components of CWV. In very short summary, the changes include an evolution of site-speed metrics, which often changed sporadically when checking the same website.

The Core Web Vitals focus on three unique aspects of page experience.

  • Loading
  • Interactivity
  • Visual Stability

Here we will take a look at each element in turn.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – Loading

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is already a metric within the PageSpeed insights tool. LCP is a metric that tells you how well a page loads for users.

The metric is concerned with how long it takes for the largest piece of content on the page to fully render. Google shows the results for this metric, as it does all three metrics, in a traffic light system (green, orange and red).

If your LCP score is below 2.5 second then you’re ‘Good’, but you can probably make further improvements. Anything more than 4 seconds to render and it’s red meaning ‘Poor’, and you have some work to do!

First Input Delay (FID) – Interactivity

First Input Delay is focused on the interactivity of a page.
This is the measure of the level of responsiveness of a page, when a user first tries to interact with it. This again isn’t a new metric but it believed that is wasn’t part of the core algorithm.

FID is concerned with how long it takes from a user to get a response from the site in the browser. Here are a few examples.

  • clicking on a link or button
  • selecting a drop down menu
  • inputting text into a blank field

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – Visual Stability

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is the only brand new metric, and is concerned with assessing the ‘visual stability’ of a page.

Visual Stability we hear you say! You may not have heard of this before, but you’ll be fully aware of how it hinders your search experience. Especially on mobile! This is when you land on a pages and the content shifts due to new elements appearing. We see why Google would want to focus on this as it’s generally annoying to click on a link or an ad accidently as the page continues to load.

Testing Tools

Chrome User Experience Report
PageSpeed Insights
Google Search Console

Here are some of the other elements which Core Web Vitals will now include to make up Page Experience:

  • Safe browsing with no malicious or deceptive content
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • HTTPS-security
  • Non-obtrusive interstitials

The guys on over at Github have already built a Chrome Extension plugin called Web Vitals Chrome Extension. We have not used the plugin as yet, but if you hae please let us know your experience of the tool.

In conclusion, all of the Core Web Vitals (new and old) reflect a clear directive from Google to offer the best user experience you can.

If you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to get in touch.