Google’s obsession with loading speed is progressing, and in May we will have a powerful update of the ranking algorithms. How to meet this storm fully armed – read in our article.
What are Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals is a group of new Google ranking factors that are launching in May 2021. This group includes 3 parameters:
- LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) – download speed of the main content. The main content is the largest element on the page: text, video, picture. Google compares the difference between loading the main content and the rest of the content.
- FID (First Input Delay) – the waiting time before the start of interaction with the site. The longer the user has to wait for the moment when they can start clicking on links and elements, the lower the lead generation and the higher the bounce rate.
- CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) – the stability of the layout and elements that prevent the user from interacting with the site. If, during the loading process, elements, especially clickable ones, move across the screen, the user runs the risk of clicking on the wrong button at all. Neither the user nor Google will like it now.
At least 75% of site pages have LCP, FID and CLS parameters at least along the lower border. Otherwise, Google may pessimize the web resource in the search results.
Core Web Vitals are directly related to page load speed. This is another attempt by Google to force site owners to make their sites faster: the faster the site, the more enjoyable the promotion from Google in the form of a position in the top 10. This is followed by the behavior of users who reward fast sites with leads, not their competitors.
Why is Google introducing these factors? Google strives to improve the quality of search results in order to deliver the most relevant sites to queries. The faster and better users find the answer in the search, the more often they will return to it. Add to that Google’s ad and service revenue. It turns out that Google is interested in the number of users of its search, advertising and services growing, and without qualitative changes in the algorithms this is impossible.
How will Google measure Core Web Vitals? Core Web Vitals, like other search algorithms, use real user data (Real User Monitoring or RUM) for about the last month. This data reflects the user experience – positive or negative. The more convenient the site is for visitors, the better its Core Web Vitals parameters and the higher its position in Google.
Is there a relationship between Core Web Vitals and conversions? Google research shows yes. If the LCP is more than 5.7 seconds, the conversion drops to 0.6%, and if it is 2.4 seconds, it rises to 1.9%. The same correlation between FID and conversions. From mobile devices, with a FID of up to 100 ms, the income from the site increases by 75%, and with a high FID (more than 300 ms), the income from the site increases by 327%. From the desktop with the same FID parameters, the conversion grows by 212% and 572%, respectively.
What does launching Core Web Vitals mean for SEO promotion of sites on Google?
Google announced the launch of Core Web Vitals in advance, so SEOs, webmasters and site owners have time to prepare. In addition, unlike many other formulas and ranking algorithms, Core Web Vitals are transparent: all criteria for evaluating sites are publicly available and understandable. These metrics are based on loading speed, interactivity and visual stability of elements on the screen – these are easily measurable parameters.
This means that when promoting sites, publishers and SEOs need to pay even more attention to the usability of their sites: mobile adaptation, loading speed, design, navigation, security, ad units.
Of course, it is definitely not worth tossing content, technical, link, advertising and other components: these are still important SEO parameters of the site and will remain so in 2021.
How do I measure Core Web Vitals on my site?
- Open the Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console. In the Russian version, it is hidden under the name “Basic Internet Indicators”:
Core Web Vitals = Core Web Vitals
- Check the site in PageSpeed Insights. This tool collects “laboratory” (theoretically assumed) data from the Lighthouse service and real user data from the CrUX database. You can and should check the indicators of both mobile and desktop versions. In addition to the actual assessment, you will receive a list of recommendations for improving performance.
The Origin Summary contains data about the Core Web Vitals of the site
- Open the “Performance” tab in the Chrome Dev Tools panel:
Core Web Vitals in Chrome Dev Tools
- Install the Web Vitals Chrome Extension. It shows data in real time, so it is suitable for tracking changes in the process of code changes:
Core Web Vitals in the Web Vitals Chrome Extension
How do I prepare my site to launch Core Web Vitals?
We will discuss in detail the ways to improve each of the 3 parameters of Core Web Vitals in a separate article, and here we will list the key general recommendations.
- The tools listed above provide a list of problem areas of the site, and it is worth starting to prepare for the launch of new ranking factors by correcting these particular errors.
- Pay special attention to the difference in performance between desktop and mobile versions. Remember mobile first.
- To reduce the size of images (it is often the main image that enlarges the LCP), use new formats (JPEG 2000, JPEG XR or WebP) and CDN hosting. It will be especially useful for large sites, the audience of which is highly dispersed geographically.
- Set a specific position for ad units so that the browser saves space for them and does not move elements of the page.