How to Prepare for the Core Web Vitals Update

Google announced last year that it would be updating the Core Web Vitals sometime in 2021. Now that we are well into 2021, it is time to prepare your website for the Core Web Vitals update, if you haven’t already. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about what’s coming so you can take it into account as you prepare your 2021 SEO strategy

core web vitals update

Google Core Web Vitals

Google Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics for websites including speed, responsiveness, and visual stability. You can see your Core Web Vitals report in the Google Search Console. 

As any SEO expert knows, content is of course the top concern when it comes to your search ranking. However, Google and other search engines have increasingly made user experience a factor when ranking web pages. Search engines now take into account how your web page performs, not just how it looks and its content. 

As our content and websites have become more packed with content and extra features like visuals, video embeds, infographics, expanding sections, galleries, and more, websites slowed down. These elements can all lead to rendering issues and a longer wait time for visitors while they load. 

So back in 2018, Google announced that they would be factoring in page load times when it came to ranking pages. They decided to penalize those that were loading slowest by ranking them lower in the search engine results pages. 

At the end of the day, how your website performs affects user experience. In turn, user experience, also referred to as website UX, affects your search ranking.

The Core Web Vitals Update

In May 2020, Google announced that they will be updating their core algorithm sometime in 2021 to include specific performance metrics as a set of ranking signals. 

Google has promised to give a six-month notification before this officially happens. However, it is best to know what is coming so you can prepare your website as soon as possible. 

According to Google, the Core Web Vitals ranking signals will be incorporated into the part of its existing algorithm that deals with page experience. This includes mobile-friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS security, and detection of intrusive interstitials. 

Why are Core Web Vitals Important? 

When Google is deciding how to rank various web pages, which each have high-quality content, page experience can be what it comes down to. 

So, if you are in an industry where the internet is full of quality content, your page experience could be what helps you beat your competitors in the SERPs. However, remember that there is no substitute for excellent content. Even if your page experience is perfect, if you do not have good content, you will need to replace it with better content in other to obtain a high search ranking. 

core web vitals

The Components of Core Web Vitals

These are the three components of Google’s Core Web Vitals that it sues to evaluate your website: 

Loading Speed 

Your loading speed, or loading performance, is how long it takes for the largest element on your web page to load. Google refers to this as the Largest Contentful Paint, or LCP. The search engine expects that at least 75% of your loading pages will load the largest element in 2.5 seconds or less. If a page takes more than four seconds, it will have a poor LCP score. 

Web Page Interactive Responsiveness

Google checks how long it takes your page to respond when someone clicks on a link, clicks on a button, or otherwise interacts with your content rather than just looking at. Google calls this First Input Delay, or FID. If you want a good FID score, your 75% of your site’s pages should be responsive in less than 100 milliseconds. 

Page Stability

This metric measures the stability of your web page while it is loading. For instance, if your page starts loading, then expands to make room for an image or another element, this could lower your score, especially if it is too sudden or happens late in loading. Google calls this score the Cumulative Layout Shift, or CLS. 

However, this does not include situations where the page shift is intended. For example, if someone clicks on a heading to expand the text underneath it. Google hopes to see 75% of your pages meet the standard. 

How are Your Core Web Vitals?

Now that you know everything there is to know about Core Web Vitals, how does your website measure up? There are a few different ways you can check your own website: 

All of these tools will tell you where your website needs improvement. For example, they will tell you which large page elements on your site are taking too long to load.  

what are core web vitals

Your Core Web Vitals Checklist

Here is the checklist of everything you need to do to prepare for the Core Web Vitals update: 

  1. First, start by looking at the reports for your website. 
  2. Next, try to isolate the page elements that are causing any issues with your site. You might need help from a professional web developer for this step. They can fix any issues for you. 
  3. Third, run additional reports on your major competitors. Do they have a better page experience than your website? 
  4. Finally, keep in mind that updating your user experience is not the only factor for your search ranking. Make sure the content on your website is high-quality, too. 

Get Help Updating Your Website

Though we tried to explain Google’s Core Web Vitals update in a way that anyone can understand, it is a highly technical area. It can be hard to understand CWV reports and fix any issues that you may find. If you need assistance, contact us at SEO Design Chicago today. We can help you improve your website and get the search ranking you want! 

FAQs about the Core Web Vitals Update: 

  • What are Core Web Vitals?
  • How do I improve my CWB score?
  • What are the components of Core Web Vitals?
  • When will Google update the Core Web Vitals?
  • How do I check my Core Web Vitals report?

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