Google puts the positive user experience above all else while ranking a website. Core web vitals are there to improve the user experience for the better.
Google’s core web vitals consist of three specific metrics, which are the largest contentful paint, first input delay, and cumulative layout shift. They refer to page load speed, responsiveness, and visual stability, respectively. In this article, we will investigate these metrics and cover their significance for a website.
Largest Contentful Paint
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is the metric that measures the load time of a web page from the user’s point of view. It solely measures the page speed, which refers to the time between clicking on a link and seeing its’ content on the screen.
A good LCP score for Google is 2.5 seconds. So you should optimize your website in compliance with this limit. You can measure your LCP score by utilizing Google PageSpeed Insights, Chrome User Experience Report, Google Search Console, and many other free online tools.
First Input Delay
First Input Delay (FID) is about user interaction. FID measures the time when a user interacts with a web page, such as clicking on a button, choosing an action from the menu, navigating to another page, and etc. In its’ essence, FID measures the delay between event processing on a web page.
A website should have less than 100 milliseconds as an FID score to provide a good user experience. The only way to measure FID score is possible through Real User Monitoring. It is heavily dependent on various uncontrollable factors such as the user’s device, preferences, behavior, etc.
Cumulative Layout Shift
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) refers to the visual stability of a web page. Elements on a web page should load as stable as they can be so that the user doesn’t get confused. CLS measures all unexpected layout shifts and then calculates a total score. A layout shift occurs when a rendered frame changes its position.
Why Are Core Web Vitals Important?
Although Google never really revealed how many ranking factors are there, it is known that Google determines the rank of a website by measuring almost up 200 different factors. In 2021, Google plans to introduce Core Web Vitals as an important signal while ranking a website in addition to some other user experience factors, which can be listed as:
- Safe browsing experience.
- Lack of disruptive pop-ups.
- Relevant and non-intrusive ads.
Google will announce the update six months prior. However, you should start improving your website’s Core Web Vitals scores as soon as possible to avoid any adversities in the future.
How to Improve Core Web Vitals?
There are many techniques you can implement on your website to improve Core Web Vitals. Some of them are also applicable to the same Core Web Vitals metrics.
To improve LCP:
- Remove large page elements.
- Remove unnecessary third-party tools and scripts.
- Upgrade your web hosting service and optimize your server.
- Cache assets.
To improve FID:
- Use a browser cache.
- Remove non-critical third-party scripts.
- Optimize pages for interaction readiness.
- Minimize unused polyfills.
To improve CLS:
- Use set size attribute dimensions for media.
- Reserve specific places and dimensions for ad elements.
- Add new UI elements below the fold.
- Suitable font and image choices.
It’s important to note that most of these techniques require at least intermediate coding as well as web mastering skills.
FAQs about Core Web Vitals
Your LCP score should be less than 2.5 seconds. If a web page takes more than 2.5 seconds to load, then it is safe to say that your website has an LCP issue. LCP greater than 4 seconds effects badly on the user experience and is rated poor by Google.
PageSpeed Insights is a free online tool provided by Google. It helps users to analyze any website’s performance. PageSpeed Insights also provides various audits and suggestions to help site owners to optimize their website better. It is recommended that you use PageSpeed Insights to implement required Core Web Vitals techniques to your website effectively.
CLS refers to layout shifts occurring on a web page. There are two main metrics that go into play while calculating it, which are the “impact fraction” and the “distance fraction.” CLS is calculated by multiplying these two factors. The CLS score rises when they both increase. So you should try to keep them at minimum values.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLP) is a Google metric that measures the user experience. It will become an important ranking signal in 2021. There might be many reasons regarding CLP issues such as images/ads without dimensions, dynamically displayed content, some web fonts, etc.
Google Search Console is a free service that lets site owners monitor, maintain, and fix various problems on their website. It is a must for them to utilize this tool effectively for numerous reasons. When it comes to Core Web Vitals, you can use Google Search Console to analyze website results and get insights into problems regarding LCP, FID, and CLS.
Core Web Vitals in Short
Core Web Vitals consist of three main metrics that let Google understand the user experience much more thoroughly on a website. They are the largest contentful paint (LCS), first input delay (FID), and cumulative layout shift (CLS). Although Google is already considering various metrics about UX, the next Core Web Vitals update in 2021 will greatly increase its effects while ranking a website. So you should start testing your page load speed, user interaction features, and page layout shifts to comply with its requirements.