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what are Core Web Vitals and why they are important?

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What are Google Core Web Vitals and why are they important?

Core Web Vitals are key website metrics that make up Google’s performance update. This update was originally planned for May, but has recently been moved back to August as Google recognised businesses needed more time to prepare.

 

What are Core Web Vitals?

Core web vitals are three core speed and loading metrics Google uses alongside its existing Page Experience Signals to understand the speed of your website. You can find a dedicated report within Google Search Console, which focuses on these three areas:

First Contentful Paint

The first contentful paint is the first point the website loads and a user is able to interact with it.

Largest Contentful Paint

This is the final point where the largest item on the page is loaded – this could be many things from a specific piece of code firing to a large header image, video, interactive graphic – anything.

Cumulative Layout Shirt

This metric is one most users are familiar with – the times elements on a page move around during loading. News websites are particularly bad with this as ads, content and pop ups continuously change the layout of the page – disrupting users.

 

Why is Google’s Performance Update Important?

Google makes constant changes to its ranking algorithm, ensuring high-quality and relevant websites are served for every search made. This update is particularly important as it’s a change to the factors Google uses for ranking – meaning poor core web vitals equals lower rankings compared to those sites with good core web vitals.
There are many different factors that affect rankability on Google, so it’s still important to focus on the standard page experience ranking signals, which focus around quality, expertise and trust.

Google Page Speed Experience factors

Image from Google.

 

Existing Page Experience Signals

Google is not abandoning their older page experience signals, in fact, Core Web Vitals are being rolled into the existing page experience signals that Google uses directly for rankings. Just like the current guidance; the Core Web Vitals signals are evaluated on a page by page basis.
The current page experience signals include:

  • Mobile friendliness
  • Safe browsing
  • HTTPS
  • Non-intrusive Interstitials

 

How to Ensure Your Core Web Vitals are Healthy

Fortunately, every website’s core web vitals can be improved. The specific fixes will vary depending on the site, how it’s built and how it’s hosted, but there are some key fixes that will work to help your website’s speed.
Optimise images

  • Specify sizes and room for content during load
  • Speed up server load times
  • Ensure above the fold is loaded quicker
  • Improve loading of third-party code such as tracking and chatbots.
  • Remove unused code
  • Lazy load slow-third party code
  • Avoid excessive load sizes (large images/videos)
  • Ensure the website is accessible
  • Enable file compression

Our team of expert developers work closely with our SEO team to identify core speed fixes for our clients. If you’re worried about your website load speed and the incoming Core Web Vitals update, speak to one of the team today who can get your website ready!

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