DOES YOUR SITE PASS THE CORE WEB VITALS TEST?
Google has recently added a new challenge for those fighting the good fight for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). The giant search engine is now hot on a new website ranking factor – page experience.
Page experience goes beyond user experience, which has always been necessary for a site to perform well in the Google rankings and search results. It requires a whole new set of metrics that you need to put into play when assessing your site’s SEO performance. At the centre of high rating page experience lies the need to tend to your Core Web Vitals.
Don’t worry – it’s not as painful as it sounds, especially in the hands of a professional SEO expert. Testing your Core Web Vitals mainly involves site speed metrics, which can be confusing because they shift and change rapidly, proving hard to pin down and evaluate. Knowing how to manipulate a website to improve the Core Web Vitals takes expert knowledge and probably the input of a web developer.
We’ll get on to how Core Web Vitals are measured later – for now let’s find out they involve. Core Web Vitals are essentially made up of three factors, which together are used by Google to gauge page experience.
The Impact of CLS, LCP and FID on SEO
Don’t you just love all those acronyms! No need to hit Google to find out what they all mean because we’re going to demystify them.
- The first pillar of page experience, or Core Web Vital, is LCP, which stands for Largest Contentful Paint. This is a measure of page load performance – the time it takes for the largest image or block of content on a web page to appear on the screen. Obviously if it takes an age to load it is annoying for the user, and won’t score well on the LCP Core Web Vital scale.
- Our next Core Web Vital is CLS – Cumulative Layout Shift. This is a fancy way of referring to the visual stability of your webpage. You’ve no doubt experienced the frustration of having elements of a web page move around before it is fully loaded while you are trying to click a button. A good CLS score therefore translates into a good page experience, and thus is good for SEO.
- Finally, you need to measure FID – First Input Delay – which tests how quickly the site reacts to a user input like clicking on a link or button. In other words, it’s a measure of interactivity speed. Too slow and it is, of course, annoying for the user – a bad page experience.
How to Test Your Core Web Vitals
There’s no overall tool for measuring or evaluating page experience, so you need to measure the three components that make up Core Web Vitals individually.
Google has provided a variety of developer tools to use for doing this, so you can get down to testing your Core Web Vitals as soon as possible:
- Lighthouse (LCP & CLS)
- Chrome UX Report (LCP, FID & CLS)
- Chrome DevTools (LCP & CLS)
- Search Console (LCP, FID & CLS)
- Page Speed Insights (LCP, FID & CLS)
NOTE: If you’re not confident using Google developer tools contact Dentons Digital and we’ll test your site for you, and make recommendations for improving your scores if necessary.
The benchmark for each element against which to measure your website’s scores are: LCP at least 2.5 seconds; FID within 100ms or less; and CLS should be anything below 0.1.
Can Poor Web Core Vitals be fixed?
Indeed, if your website doesn’t pass the Core Web Vitals test there are ways to improve the situation and speed things up. There’s no magic bullet and one-off fix, however – it is a cumulation of little things that will achieve big results. Improving site speed falls into the remit of a good web developer who is trained in user experience.
Our web developers here at Dentons Digital, for example, would use the following tactics as some of the ways they can improve your Core Web Vitals:
- Optimising images for quick loading to improve LCP;
- Preventing the annoying jerkiness of CLS by adding dimensions for images in the CSS and taking other measures to reserve space for injected content;
- And remove any unnecessary third-party scripts.
Your web host could also be slowing down your website, so it is worth investigating and possibly switching to a faster server.
The Increasing Complexities of SEO
As the internet marketplace becomes increasingly crowded, competition is hotting up for those coveted top search rankings. SEO is the way to win them. It’s a field that is becoming increasing complex as the search engines like Google constantly refine their algorithms and ranking criteria.
If you want to stay ahead of the game with things like optimal Core Web Vitals, you need to put your website in the hands of an expert team like Dentons Digital. Why not get in touch for a no-obligation quotation and a free SEO website audit.