Google’s Core Web Vitals: New Metrics For SEO

Google makes changes to its algorithms all the time but there’s a difference between those changes they make weekly and the larger ones that affect your ranking status, which is where the core web vitals comes into play. 

Google’s core web vitals aren’t supposed to take effect until 2021 but if you’re in a highly competitive market, or just want to tweak your website in advance, you may want to learn about these new metrics now. As stated on Google’s page, the goal of core web vitals is to fix user experience on your site using real- world usage data – or field data.

Field data is one of two types of data used to enhance your SEO rankings. The other component is lab data. Lab data deals with performance issues, like debugging and collected in a controlled environment (which are the weekly changes Google makes to its algorithm). Field data, on the other hand, is aimed at capturing real-world user experience. The new metrics that Google is implementing will show how your page performs based on field data.

The three new metrics that Google has announced are focused on loading, interactivity, and visual stability. Here’s a quick breakdown of these new web vitals:

Largest Contentful Paint (Loading)

Largest Contentful Paint, or LCP, measures how fast your webpage loads. Just as the name suggests, Google measures this by the time it takes for the largest piece of content, whether it be text, image, or video, to load. The cycle repeats until your page is fully loaded or the user starts interacting with it.

Now is the time to ensure that your page speed falls within the benchmark and make the adjustments to achieve optimal page speed. Here’s more on page screen optimization.

First Input Delay (Interactivity)

First Input Delay, or FID, measures how fast the page is interactive. When the user clicks on a button, how quickly does your page respond? It’s great if the website loads immediately, but if it’s meant to be interactive and is lagging, this will negatively impact your SEO. 

FID is slightly different from LCP and CLS because it can only be measured in-field. The measurement is taken from the interactive element that the user first clicks on. Compressing your images and files as well as merging or using less JavaScript can help improve this metric.

Cumulative Layout Shift (Visual Stability)

Cumulative Layout Shift, or CLS, is a measurement of how fast the webpage is stable. This usually isn’t as much of an issue for desktops as it can be for mobile devices. Have you ever had a webpage load on your mobile device and when you click a button it seems to have a mind of its own and the page shifts causing you to click on something else? This results in poor user experience and is what CLS measures.

If your content keeps moving when your webpage is seemingly fully loaded, you’ll want to address this. One way to fix this is to include size attributes for your images and videos. If left undefined, they’ll most likely shift. 

Final Thoughts on Google’s Core Web Vitals

If your webpage is already generating great results and ranks highly, these new metrics should be considered and tested but those with webpages that are already struggling will definitely want to start making the necessary changes. These metrics fall in line with the small technical things we must look for anyways, but it is about time to start analyzing your webpage for these specific vitals. Although it’s important to keep up with the latest in SEO, quality content should still be prioritized. Get started on measuring core web vitals today with these tools!