What are Core Web Vitals and why are they important?

Google is on a mission to save the internet!  To do this, it’s taking a closer look at something called Core Web Vitals. Although it sounds like something from a Casualty script, it’s a major change in how Google ranks your website.

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Sookio's Digital Strategist, Clark Chapman, writes:

To help you get started, I’ve pulled together a short guide that answers the following questions: 

  • What are Core Web Vitals?

  • What does this mean for your online marketing?

  • What can I do to improve Core Web Vitals on my website?

What are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are made up of three important measurements of a user’s experience on a website: loading time, page interactivity, and visual stability. In other words, it looks at how fast your website loads, whether text and images bounce all over the page and how quickly you can start using the website when it first appears on your screen.

Before you continue reading, I’d advise adding the Lighthouse Chrome Extension and generating a report by opening up the extension in your Google Chrome browser. This will give you a quick overview of how your website’s Core Web Vitals are looking.

Alternatively, if your website is using Google Search Console, refer to the Core Web Vitals tab for the latest measurements.

What does this mean for your digital marketing?

To improve our internet experience, Core Web Vitals will become a key ranking factor in June. If you don't take action now, you may see your website position in the search rankings start to tumble.

Google has identified these three measurements as a vital part of our experience on a website. Simply put, Google doesn't want to send its users to rubbish websites. They are future-proofing their business and in turn, making the internet a better experience for all of us.

Core Web Vitals – key measurements

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Don't you just hate it when you’re reading an article on a webpage and all of sudden, the text moves. Or even worse, when you're bashing your keyboard furiously to shut down a pop up and you accidentally click it because it moved suddenly.

The CLS metric gives you an idea of how often and how badly this is impacting user experience. If text or images suddenly move across the page whilst someone is on your site, then your Core Web Vitals score will be negatively impacted.

First Input Delay (FID)

Have you ever landed on a website and no matter how many times you press buttons nothing happens? It’s annoying, right? This is why Google has made this a key part of the Core Web Vitals.

First impressions matter. And it's no different in the digital world. When you land on a website, you want to be able to take action almost immediately. FID measures the time it takes from clicking on a website link to being able to take action on the site.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

Your LCP measurement looks at the overall loading time across your whole website. So, from the moment you land on the website until the largest image or text block has loaded.

Naturally, this takes longer than your FID but you'll want to get the overall loading time of your website down to 2.5 seconds. After researching hundreds of websites, I’ve come across some that take up to 20 seconds to fully load. In the age of ultra-fast broadband, that's a lifetime and Google will start to make them pay via their search rankings.

Read more, including how to improve your Core Web Vitals, on the Sookio blog.

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