The web moves at a rapid pace but the qualities of a good website have remained consistent for many years: It should be well-structured and laid out; fast loading; easy to use and navigate; visually appealing; and contain engaging, helpful, and valuable content. All these elements can create an excellent user experience, resulting in more clicks, more customers, and, eventually, more revenue. However, measuring precisely how web visitors feel when interacting with your website can be challenging.
But what if there was an actual way to measure your website’s health to enhance the user experience? One of the most popular search engines, Google, has rolled out a set of metrics to do just that. It’s called Core Web Vitals. This article discusses the basics around Core Web Vitals and how improving your Core Web Vitals scores will improve your site’s performance in search.
What are Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals are a set of specific factors that Google deems important for evaluating a site’s overall user experience. The metrics contain user interaction and specific page measurements, and they now make part of how Google scores user experience in a website. If your site’s vitals are good, it shows that you’re providing a premium quality user experience.
But how important are Core Web Vitals? Their significance is down to the direct impact they have on how your business is found online. It’s Google’s way of measuring your overall user experience. A good score will give you a greater opportunity to rank competitively, which means that your site’s look, navigation, and functionality should provide smooth sailing for web visitors.
Core Web Vitals Metrics and Benchmarks
Core Web Vitals focus on three metrics to specifically measure ways users can have either a good or bad experience on your website. They include the following:
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
The work of LCP is to measure page loading performance. It takes into account how long a page takes to load the largest content piece. These include items such as rich images, videos, or text blocks, from the time a visitor requests the URL. For a good user experience, the benchmark set for LCP is under 2.5 seconds
First Input Delay (FID)
As for FID, it assesses how interactive a page is, explicitly focusing on the user’s impression of how your site processes a command. This is the measure for things like taps, key presses, or clicks from the user. How your site responds to a user’s actions is crucial to creating an excellent first impression and forming a smooth experience. The benchmark set for a good FID is when the website responds in under 100 milliseconds. Notably, FID only gauges the first input processing delay and not how long the browser updates the rest of the content.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
CLS is the metric for the visual stability of a page. To be more specific, CLS checks how page elements shift around on loading. These movements are labeled as layout shifts. Each unexpected movement or shift gets a score. CLS is the cumulative sum of these layout shift scores, and the benchmark is below 0.1. A page should be stable to enable users to interact with it appropriately. Because unexpected page movements are annoying, they create a poor user experience. For instance, if a page shifts unexpectedly, causing buttons to jump, a user may send the wrong command, such as submitting a form instead of going back or canceling. A high score on your site’s page shifts could be a sign you may need a new website.
How can Core Web Vitals Improve Your Website?
Core Web Vitals are all about improving the health of your website’s user experience. When you create a smooth customer experience, these are the perks your site will receive in return:
Improved Search Engine Rankings
User experience and SEO have always had a special connection. The score of your Core Web Vitals enhances this connection further as they have a considerable impact on your website’s SEO performance. When your website’s vitals are within benchmarked limits, Google is more likely to return your site for relevant search queries ahead of less optimized sites.
Enhanced Brand Loyalty
When you give your web visitors a good experience, they’ll keep coming back. A business that takes user experience seriously has the upper hand over those that don’t. The simple reason for this is that satisfied visitors don’t need to look elsewhere for what they want. Hassle-free engagement with your website should be the goal.
Improved First Impression
FID is all about ensuring that your web visitors are impressed from the very beginning of their experience of discovering and interacting with your site. Design and functionality are key but speedy and seamless loading is a major part of this. Remember, you have under 100 milliseconds to create that first impression.
Google cares a lot about user experience, and with good reason. To remain the world’s most used search engine it has to serve the best results. Core Web Vitals are a way of helping Google and other search engines to determine which sites will most accurately address a user’s query whilst also giving them a smooth on-site experience. Core Web Vitals now directly influence your search visibility as part of Google’s core ranking algorithm so it pays to work towards achieving optimal scores to maintain competitive visibility in search.