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May 21, 2021

Core Web Vitals: What You Need to Know

Core Web Vitals for Businesses

Showing up first in Google search results is the overarching, sometimes elusive goal for a business with a website. (And if it’s not, it needs to be.) To the chagrin of business owners and marketers, there is no magic formula to create content that ranks higher than that of competitors and certainly no guarantee that one format or another will help a company win the rankings game. Google shares a lot of information about what factors don’t help a website, as well as guidelines to consider and practices to implement. But they sometimes announce updates, move the rollout dates around for years, release the update then roll it back, or simply move it into the “what the internet should look like” opinion category with no ranking consequences. Google’s latest Core Web Vitals is the most recent of those planned, big changes

First announced about a year ago, the day finally came to pass and Web Vitals are now starting to be taken into account in Google Search rankings. They’ve updated the announcement to include a postponement of many of the changes, including the impact on site ranking. 

While it’s worth noting they’ve postponed the full rollout of the page experience update until mid-June through August 2021, there are still a few changes that are live now. 

What are Core Web Vitals and When Should I Make Changes?

However, a slight delay in a full deployment of changes doesn’t mean businesses shouldn’t be adjusting their website; in fact, Google made this decision to allow for more people to make necessary changes and plans to accommodate all three aspects of the core web vitals suite: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures loading performance; LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.

First Input Delay (FID): measures interactivity; pages should have a FID of less than 100 milliseconds.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures visual stability; pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.

Creating a Quality User Experience

When it comes down to it, core web vitals are just one more way Google will rank the quality of website user’s experience. Which means that while it’s important to understand and tailor a website to meet the latest set of expectations from Google, it’s also important to understand the bigger picture: a quality user experience. Neil Patel defines user experience as a combination of mobile-friendly optimization, a safe browsing experience, a page using HTTPS, no intrusive popups or content blocking the page, and adherence to core web vitals.

The Final Word on What Businesses Need to Know About Core Web Vitals

In Google’s own words, core web vitals are just one more piece of the way they assess the overall website user experience and in competitive search markets, this grouping of factors will play the role of tie breaker. However, these three elements on their own will not guarantee optimal search performance on the platform.

The page experience update introduces a new signal that our search algorithms will use alongside hundreds of other signals to determine the best content to show in response to a query. Our systems will continue to prioritize pages with the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar. A good page experience doesn't override having great, relevant content. 

This is similar to changes we’ve had in the past, such as our mobile-friendly update or our speed update. As with those signals, page experience will be more important in “tie-breaker” types of situations. If there are multiple pages of similar quality and content, those with better page experience might perform better than those without.

The best plan of action for website owners is to reach out to a website development agency who will be able to provide an audit of the current website against the current and upcoming metrics for search engine optimization and success.

If you’re looking for a more technical analysis of the benefit for businesses adopting core web vitals, this is a great resource.

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VanNoppen Marketing has 20 years of experience helping clients achieve their marketing goals. One of our core lines of service is providing custom web solutions for businesses of all sizes, startups through large corporations, and helping those websites rank well in search engines and convert traffic to customers for the business. Our backend developers work closely with our front-end design team to ensure websites are aesthetically pleasing, branded to the client, serving the goals of the business, and adhering to all best practices and industry standards in design and performance.

Curious how your website stacks up? Contact us for a site assessment and list of recommendations.

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