Core Web Vitals is a collection of three specific user-centered metrics that measure the performance of a webpage. Google introduced these metrics in May 2020 to help website owners, developers, and SEO professionals better understand the factors that influence user experience. The three Core Web Vitals are:
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This metric measures the loading performance of a webpage. It indicates the time for the most significant content element (e.g., an image or text block) to become visible on the screen. A good LCP score is under 2.5 seconds.
First Input Delay (FID): FID quantifies a webpage’s interactivity. It calculates the time it takes for the browser to respond to the user’s first interaction (e.g., clicking a link or button). A good FID score is under 100 milliseconds.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): CLS measures the visual stability of a webpage. It captures how much the layout shifts during the page load process. A good CLS score is less than 0.1.
Why Do Core Web Vitals Matter for SEO?
Google has always emphasized the importance of providing a great user experience to website visitors. With the introduction of Core Web Vitals, the search engine giant has clarified that these three metrics are crucial in determining the overall UX. Since Google aims to provide users with the most relevant and user-friendly results, websites with better Core Web Vitals scores are more likely to rank higher in search results.
In June 2021, Google included Core Web Vitals in its Page Experience update. This update considers various aspects of user experience, such as mobile-friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS, and adherence to the intrusive interstitial guidelines. Adding Core Web Vitals to this update highlights their importance in SEO.
How to Optimize Core Web Vitals for Improved SEO?
Optimizing Core Web Vitals can improve your website’s overall user experience and boost its search engine ranking. Here are some tips on how to optimize each of the three Core Web Vitals:
1. Improve LCP:
To enhance your website’s LCP score, optimize your website’s loading speed. You can achieve this by:
- Compressing and resizing images
- Implementing lazy loading for images and videos
- Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
2. Optimize FID:
To reduce the FID of your website, ensure that your site is highly responsive to user interactions. You can improve your FID score by:
- Minimizing the use of third-party scripts
3. Minimize CLS:
To achieve a low CLS score, focus on stabilizing your website’s layout during the page load process by:
- Reserving space for images and videos using proper width and height attributes
- Avoiding inserting content above existing content, which can cause layout shifts
- Using CSS to control font loading and prevent layout shifts caused by font changes
Tools to Measure and Monitor Core Web Vitals
To effectively optimize your Core Web Vitals, measuring and monitoring your website’s performance is essential. There are several tools available to help you with this task:
1. Google Search Console: This free tool from Google provides a Core Web Vitals report highlighting any issues with your website’s LCP, FID, and CLS scores.
2. PageSpeed Insights: This tool analyzes your webpage’s performance on mobile and desktop devices and offers suggestions for improvement, including Core Web Vitals optimization.
3. Lighthouse: Lighthouse is an open-source tool that can audit your website for performance, accessibility, and other best practices. It provides a detailed report that includes Core Web Vitals metrics.
4. Web Vitals Chrome Extension: This browser extension enables you to measure and view any web page’s Core Web Vitals metrics in real time while browsing.
Using these tools, you can identify areas that require optimization and track your progress as you improve your website.
Core Web Vitals is a critical aspect of SEO in today’s competitive digital landscape. By understanding what these metrics are and their impact on user experience, you can take steps to optimize your website’s performance and boost its search engine ranking. By improving your LCP, FID, and CLS scores, you’ll provide a better experience for your visitors and increase the likelihood of ranking higher in search results.
Don’t hesitate to invest time and resources into optimizing your Core Web Vitals. The rewards in terms of improved user experience, increased organic traffic, and higher search engine rankings will be well worth the effort. You may start by reading Google’s Understanding page experience in the Google Search results reference page.