Offering a positive user experience should be a priority for any website, but did you know that user experience directly affects SEO? That’s right, starting from June 2021, Google now considers ‘page experience’ as a factor to determine your website’s ranking on search results. ‘Page experience’ refers to how users may perceive or experience interacting with a web page and is measured by Google using a set of metrics called Core Web Vitals.
What are Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals aren’t an entirely new phenomenon, they’re based on known factors that affect user experience, such as page load speed and interactivity. However, by setting tangible benchmarks to measure these factors, Core Web Vitals provides a clear framework to assess and identify the existing issues with your site and resolve them effectively. Here are the three Core Web Vitals and what they measure.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
LCP is similar to previous metrics such as First Content Paint (FCP), measuring page loading performance from the perspective of user experience. LCP measures the time it takes for the largest ‘contentful’ item on the page to load – this could be a banner image or a block of text. The largest ‘contentful’ item is usually the most important piece of information that users will want to view as soon as possible.
According to Google’s guidelines, an LCP value of 2 seconds or under is good, whereas a value over 4 seconds is poor and needs immediate attention. Anything in between signifies room for further improvement.
First Input Display (FID)
Relates to the interactivity of a page and identifies any unresponsive elements that could be an obstacle for users. FID measures the time from when a user interacts with the site (e.g. clicking on a button) to when the browser actually responds to the action.
An FID time of 100 milliseconds or less is considered good, whereas anything above 300 milliseconds is likely to impact user experience negatively.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
Refers to how stable a page looks as it loads, in other words, how much the view shifts as content loads into place. For example, if users are reading an article and the text shifts once images load, the CLS likely needs work.
Google has created a scale from 0 – 0.3 to assess CLS. A value of 0.1 and lower is good, while a value above 0.25 is poor.
How do I measure Core Web Vitals?
Curious about your Core Web Vitals? See how your website performs against these metrics.
- Google’s free tools such as Chrome User Experience Report and Google Page Speed Insights can indicate your Core Web Vitals.
- Generate a Core Web Vitals report if you have a Google Search Console account.
How can I improve my website’s Core Web Vitals?
If your Core Web Vitals results aren’t ideal, it will take some work to get them up to scratch. The first step is to identify what specific problems are affecting your score. For example, a poor CLS score can be caused by unformatted images, misusing fonts, embedded elements without dimensions, or a combination of multiple factors.
In most cases, you will need a team of experts to provide a complete picture of your user experience and make necessary changes to your website. Balmer Agency’s SEO specialists can help run more in-depth reports on your Core Web Vitals, identifying the fundamental problems affecting your score, along with required optimisations and fixes. In many instances, our website design and development team will also be engaged to implement the changes on your website. Request a Core Web Vitals Report today.