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Understanding Google's Core Web Vitals

Published on:

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Every business that operates online will admit to a love-hate relationship with Google (and if they don’t, they’re lying!)

Google has the power to either make your business shine or hide it away in a corner - basing much of its decision on your ability to keep up with the ever-changing algorithms and SEO demands, which put as much emphasis on keywords and search terms as on the quality of your products, your multichannel marketing prowess, and the navigational experience of your website.

While Google is famously hard to please, there are certain elements of the platform which are easier to dissect and predict using the information given.

In this blog post, we’re sharing a deep dive into Google's Core Web Vitals from the perspective of a digital marketing agency.

What does Core Web Vitals focus on?

Google page speed insights

An integral part of your online SEO strategy, Google’s Core Web Vitals considers the value of a website from a user perspective. It looks at three main metrics:

1. Page loading speeds (LCP)

2. The responsiveness of webpages and different elements on those pages (FID)

3. The visual stability of websites (CLS)

These three metrics are designed to target the very basics of the user experience on any website, tapping into user’s desire for webpages which load quickly, which respond to clicks and actions, and which remain stable and easy to read across different devices.

A Guide to the Core Web Vitals Metrics

1. Page loading speeds

The first metric under Core Web Vitals assesses the efficiency with which the main landing page of your website loads when a user arrives on your site.

Business owners will be no stranger to consumers’ desire for instant activity, with the mildly terrifying stats out there telling us that a website which takes longer than a few seconds to load is instantly seen as a write off by users. In short, if your webpages don’t load quickly enough, prospective customers will simply look elsewhere and go to one of your competitors instead. And now, if Google recognises this limiting factor in your user experience, it will further penalise you with a poor ranking.

To measure this, Google looks for a load speed of under 2.5 seconds - with anything over 4 seconds considered a bad experience which will be ranked poorly by the search engine.

2. Webpage responsiveness

FID is the metric which looks at and dictates how quickly a page becomes responsive and interactive. This measures the time it takes for the buttons to work, navigation elements to function, and any action that the user takes to be followed. From a user perspective, this is an often underrated but crucial element to the overall experience as it is what allows the website to follow along with the actions that users take.

Google denotes that a response time of under 100ms is good, and that anything over 300 ms is considered a poor experience - not only causing consumers to give up on your website but giving Google a negative perception of your website from a user point of view.

3. Visual stability

The third and final metric looks at the different elements of a webpage and their stability on the page once loading is complete. In short, it looks at all the different elements and pieces of content on a page and measures how much they shift and move as a user interacts with the site. Google recognises that the most movement occurs in the first 5 seconds of a user’s experience on the site - assuming that a measurement of under 0.1 is good while anything over 0.25 is poor.

Generally, we find that the more elements a webpage has in terms of ads, images, and content blocks, the higher the chance of elements jumping around and shifting as the page loads - meaning that in many cases, the simpler your page is the better.

How to optimise your website’s Core Web Vitals as part of your SEO strategy

As you can tell from the above explanations, Google’s Core Web Vitals focus specifically on the way a webpage responds to user activity - both in terms of load times and the presentation of the page.

Putting yourself into the shoes of a user or prospective customer, it’s easy to see why Google has chosen these elements to focus on as part of its Core Web Vitals - with businesses needing to focus on these elements as a crucial part of their SEO strategy if they want to rank well on Google and receive the business support required to perform well on search engines.

As part of a renewed focus on user’s online experiences, it’s crucial that you work with your web designers to strip away any unnecessary or oversized elements of your webpages which could be impacting load times and page stability - instead focussing on the elements which enhance the user experience and drive the right activity and action. In addition, businesses should be looking to integrate measurement tools into the backend of their website so that they can continue to track these stats and metrics - identifying and isolating issues for resolution before they impact your SEO performance.

Here at Social Loop, we work directly with businesses across all industries and sectors, helping them to fine tune their website and online experience to meet Google’s ever-changing needs and demands, without impacting the unique aesthetic presentation and experience delivered across their website. When you choose us, we pair backend algorithms with frontend design features, creating bespoke websites which serve their purpose while ticking all of Google’s boxes and more.

Get in touch today to find out how our SEO services can help improve your website's search engine performance.