As you may or may not be aware, Good old Google usually releases a small number of core updates per year, along with hundreds of smaller tweaks to its algorithms. These may be related to how the site appears in search results or the importance of specific offerings that Google offer (Google My Business, for example). As part of their commitment to a good Page Experience, Google has shifted their focus and segmented this experience into what they are calling Core Web Vitals.
Core Web Vitals (we’ll abbreviate this to CWV from now on) is the new standard of quantifying the experience of your site and identifying opportunities to improve. These don’t include the other web vitals that they would hope all sites have (valid SSL’s, mobile-friendly sites etc), but CWV is made up of three specific page speed and user interaction measurements: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). These are measured on a ‘Good’, ‘Needs Improvement’ and ‘Poor’ scale, depending on the individual website’s score.
- LCP: How long it takes for a page to load from the user’s point of view. There are a number of factors that can affect the LCP, from poor hosting, images with an unnecessarily high filesize, 3rd party scripts running on the page through to how well the theme or design has been coded. To achieve a ‘Good’ score, this would need to be under 2.5 seconds.
- FID: This is the time it takes for a user to actually interact with the page – so being able to choose an option from a menu, or clicking on a link or a phone number, or entering information into a form etc. This is similar to the LCP, but this is about the time it takes to interact with the site, not just how long it takes to load. For a ‘Good’ score for this, the site needs to achieve less than 100ms.
- CLS: This is all about the websites stability. If there are sites that have elements that move about as the page loads (some sites have the content loading in from the bottom/sides as a user scrolls, or a slider that has a lot of movable elements etc then the score for this will be higher. If you can achieve a result below 0.1, Google will give you a ‘Good’ score.
How important is the Core Web Vitals update?
As far as we know, poor results in vitals won’t penalise you, but if competitors have better results there is a very real chance they will rise up the ranks, thus dropping yours down. It is important to remember that any update to the search algorithm could have a positive or negative impact on your website, but this one is causing much concern in the industry – it could be huge.
So, what do I have to do as a site owner/manager?
There is also no ‘one size fits all’ approach to fixing a site, as there are so many variables in play on any given site. If you have a website and want to know whether your site requires work to bring it in line then get in touch with our Marketing team and they’ll be able to advise. To do so, email them on email@example.com or call them on 0333 2200 555 and select option 5.