What do you call the time where there is a tough competition in everything you perform? It’s called Upgrade-o-clock! This simply implies that you need to be constantly upgrading yourself to stay ahead in the competition.
As a matter of fact, the world keeps evolving, and if you defy to accept the evolution, it is you who drifts apart from the league. Being a trendsetter takes you ahead in the game, but being a trend follower keeps you in the game. So, keeping up to date with the latest trends and changing patterns is a must to survive in the world of cutthroat competition.
We all know, the webpage that ranks better organically on Google gets the bread! But do you feel bewildered to think that despite learning and applying all the rules and practices of SEO, your web page still cannot rank better? Do you know what “vitals” you are missing out on?
It’s the Google core web vitals.
What are Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals in SEO are a group of factors calculated by Google to analyze the complete user experience on a particular webpage. The keyword optimization of the content does not solely decide the rank of each of the pages on Google. Google prioritizes the quality of user experience while accessing that webpage. A proper logical methodology is implemented to compute the score of each of the web pages by calculating the performance of the webpage in different subsets. These subsets are core web vitals.
Along with these web vitals, which are a set of metrics that measure the loading speed, relevance, and user-friendliness of the layout of the webpage, Google pays attention to the search signals. Search signals are analyzed based on mobile friendliness, safe browsing, and a secure and uninterrupted functionality of the webpage.
How can we measure Google’s Core Web Vitals?
You can generate the analysis reports with:
Let us guide you step-by-step to generate your Google Search Console report:
Login to your search console and click on the Core Web Vitals.
You will find all your indexed URLs given a performance remark by Google as Poor, Needs improvement or Good. The search console highlights the most poorly performing URLs report separately, thus making it convenient to act upon it.
Click on the “Open Report” option on the google web vitals dashboard.
Click on the issue (LCP/ CLS/ FID) you would like to resolve to improve the page efficiency.
Click on the URL and select the Page Speed Insights report and voila!
Start working on this report to improve your rank on the SERP!
What are the components of Core Web Vitals & how can we optimize them?
Following are the three metrics that determine the overall score of the user experience:
Let us dive deeper to understand the role of each of these parameters that comprise Google’s web core vitals.
1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP):
Best practices state that your webpage must load the most meaningful and relevant content parts of the page within the time frame of 2.5 seconds.
The prototype of LCP was FCP, First Contentful Paint. With this metric, Google algorithm intended to measure how long does it take to load the first feature of any website in the user’s viewport. Later the focus was rather shifted to analyzing the load time of the most relevant aka the largest content part of that web page. This made Google take a shift from FCP to LCP.
How Google measures the LCP score?
Google keeps an eye on the load time of the most relevant part of the webpage. If it loads completely within the time frame of 2.5 seconds ideally, then it is marked as “GOOD”. If the page load time exceeds up to 4 seconds, then it gets a “NEEDS IMPROVEMENT” tag, and otherwise, it gets marked as “POOR”.
There are some elements that are given attention to while measuring the LCP score, these are:
- <img> elements
- <video> elements
- Background image that is loaded via url() function
- Block text elements
Google is expected to add more elements by the end of this year in its updated LCP calculation process.
Google wants to maintain a heterogeneity in the elements to be considered while analyzing the score to make the user experience better from every angle possible. No rocket science, here are a few quick tips to follow to improve your LCP performance score:
- Firstly, audit the performance of your webpage and study the insights. From here, you can identify the most prominent contentful paint element on your website.
- Try to remove all the 3rd Party scripts that can slow down the loading speed of your webpage.
- Cross-check your hosting and try to upgrade it for faster load time.
- You may consider introducing lazy loading, wherein the images on the web page load only when the page gets scrolled.
- Minus the bulky CSS.
2. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
“First impression is the last impression.”
Why have we believed in this quote for ages? This may not stand true situationally, but this stands cent percent true in the case of a new website visitor! This straight away puts light on the fact that the layout of the website, no matter how good it is, must be optimized too. The beauty of the website won’t work if its functionality isn’t fast enough.
So, is your website layout stable? Does it shift during the loading?
CLS is a count of all the layout shifts of each of the page elements during a session. A layout shift is counted when any of the images, text box, buttons or banner change their position while loading.
You must be wondering, how can this affect the user experience?
Let us elaborate it for you. For example, you have clicked open a webpage. Navigating further, you are willing to click one of the “call to action” buttons, say “Speak With Counsellor”, but due to a delayed layout shift, it accidentally shifts the button elsewhere, and you happen to click open an unwanted page.
Isn’t this frustrating? This is why a CLS score is crucial. Google has set a threshold of 0.1, which means the webpage’s overall CLS score must not exceed 0.1 ideally. If it happens to be more than 0.1, then it will be marked as “NEEDS IMPROVEMENT” or “POOR”.
Again, take a few secret tips to improve the CLS score:
- Always mention the set size attribute, wherein you mention the dimensions of the video, images and GIFs you have kept on your webpage. This way the webpage visitor’s browser knows the exact dimensions of each of the elements.
- Fix apart on the web page for ads so that the real-time popping of ads do not deteriorate the user experience.
3. First Input Delay (FID):
Let us imagine another situation. Suppose that you are browsing and you open a website. You can see the menu bar, and you click on one of the tabs. The tab did not open immediately, so you clicked twice and thrice, and then suddenly your multiple inputs brought you unknowingly to the payment gateway. Although, all you were trying to do is explore that particular category.
This blacklists your web page in the mind of a user. Some might even find it fraudulent.
Therefore, Google includes FID as one of the most essential core web vitals. FID score indicates the delay in processing the request or action. Ideally, the First input delay must not be more than 100 ms. Google labels it as “GOOD”. If the FID exceeds up to 300 ms, then it “NEEDS IMPROVEMENT”, else “POOR”.
The more actively responsive your webpage will be, the less will be the delay and the higher will be the chances of ranking high on Google SERP.
The blogs and content stuffed pages do not need to feel bothered about FID as First input delay is all about the input taken from the viewer, which is not the case here.
The website visitors are not patient enough to fill in the input twice, so make sure that FID is reduced as much as possible.
The following could be the areas to monitor if you need to improve your FID score:
- Avoid any third-party scripts that can affect the FID.
- Implement a browser cache that helps you load the webpage faster.
Google is due to add more factors that will be considered while analyzing the FID of any webpage.
How can you optimize your SEO for Core Web Vitals?
Google works sharply and thoughtfully on delivering the best possible surfing experience to its users. Therefore, it works more on becoming user-centric. Let us give you the key takeaways in a nutshell:
A. Improve LCP by:
- Optimizing web fonts and CSS
- Optimizing all the media files
- Add GZip compression
B. Reduce CLS by:
- Fixing aspect ratio for images
- Fix slots for the ads.
- Preload the web fonts
- Use the formatted images and remove
C. Optimize FID by:
- File transfer sizes should be minimized.
- Serve assets with a cache policy.
Although there are various other factors that are considered to determine the website’s rank, core web vitals contribute majorly. Stay tuned for the upcoming updates on Google’s core web vitals. Happy optimization!