What is the Google Core Web Vitals Update? What Does It Mean for Me?

Posted at Dec 20, 2021 6:55:00 AM by THAT Agency | Share

User experience - it’s been at the heart of a number of Google updates over the past several years, and for good reason. Happy users mean they continue to come back to the search engine giant, and more users equal more advertising revenue. The Core Web Vitals update--released in the summer of 2021--has everything to do with user experience, and if your website is a key piece of your business, understanding this update is key

What It Is:

Over the past few years, Google has worked to develop a number of different user experience signals to help the search engine learn more about which sites perform well according to users, and which ones need a bit of work. Core Web Vitals is one of those signals. Essentially, it’s a tool to monitor website speed and operations, and while it helps the search engine better rank your site, it can actually help you too, offering you a solid set of metrics that helps you get a closer look at what users experience every time they load your site. 

User Design

Core Web Vitals uses three different measurements to better examine user experience. These measurements take into account both field data and lab data to learn more about what happens when someone lands on your site. These data sets come from several user experience signals including how well your page does when it’s loaded on mobile devices, any deceptive content or malware that appears on your page, whether you have a secure HTTPS connection to help with user safety, and any advertisements that make it tough for users to get to your page. 

The three measurements are fairly easy to understand. The first is the load speed of your site. According to Google, it should be 2.5 seconds or less for any given page. The second measurement is called the First Input Delay. This is how long it takes the content on your site to become responsive to users. Typically the best sites score less than 100 milliseconds with this metric. The final measurement is called Cumulative Layout Shift, and that’s how stable your visuals are and how often they shift as users work within the site. The goal here is to get a score of .1 or lower. 


Is My Site a Problem?

If you’re not sure how to tell if your site is struggling in any of these three areas, then it’s fairly simple to check. First, pull a Core Web Vitals report from your Google Search Console. You’ll be able to see what has previously happened with users on each page of your site. You can even track the performance of your site over time. Just run a Chrome User Experience Report alongside the Core Web Vitals report. There, you’ll see a month of performance data to help you understand what might have an effect on the performance of your site. 


Google Core Web Vitals Optimizations You Can Make Now

What are some things you can change about your site now to help improve those metrics? Much of it depends on exactly what the reporting looks like. Most sites that are struggling are dealing with things like images that are uncompressed, files that are simply too big, or pop-ups that prove invasive to users. All of these kinds of issues should be addressed as soon as you realize they’ve become a problem for your users. Typically just following the leads from the report will help you understand the changes you can make to your site in order to better improve things from both your users’ point of view, and Google’s. 

If you’re working on optimizing for the Core Web Vitals update, we can help. Optimization is just part of what we do for all of our clients. As a full-service marketing company, we can help ensure you’re not just seen online, but that you’re heard across the internet. Ready to get started? Contact us today to learn more.

Tags: Web Design

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