Google Web Vitals: Helping you to win the race for SEO positions

As a business, you want your site to appear at the top of search engines, but have you considered Google Web Vitals?

You’ve likely invested in digital marketing and design that attempts to keep users on your site for as long as possible. Unfortunately, there are several factors that can cause visitors to leave your site without converting into leads and these might not be showing up in your search console.

Core Web Vitals represents the real-world experience of a user, and are what Google considers as a critical ranking factor. Whereas search console, Google analytics, keyword research and search intent are used to measure the user’s behavior, Core Web Vitals are intended to measure page experience and make up an essential part of Google’s data for ranking pages.

Why does Google care about your website’s performance?

Google is always looking for ways to improve the page experience for users. They found that quick loading websites get more clicks and keep users on your site longer, which means they may be rewarded by ranking higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).

A 2-second delay from 1 – 3 seconds increases page bounce rate 32%. A 4 second lag time leads 90% greater chance of leaving an application before finishing one’s browsing session compared with 5+ secs or >=6 s delays respectively!

Considering this data, Google created a way for their tools to measure pages, loading experience and pagespeed insights to create their core web vitals.

What are the ‘Core Web Vitals’ ?

Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics that measure real-world user experience for loading performance, interactivity and visual stability on the page. The three vitals in this category would be largest contentful paint (LCP), First input delay (FID) and Culmative Layout Shift (CLS). For site owners and web developers, this is an opportunity to be rewarded for investing in to user experience, faster hosting and designing for fewer key presses between each page.

Largest Content Paint

LCP measures how long it takes from when your users request any given URL until they can see all elements loaded; including images/videos etc. A score between 1 – 100+ indicates an average response time wherein lower values mean quicker load times.

Often the largest element on a web page isn’t what’s driving the user experience, so these metrics and data points can really challenge designers to think about the user needs. Of course, utilising techniques such as lazy loading is also an option.

How to reduce the largest content paint

In Googles book, 2 seconds is a good performance, but there are some other factors in play into the content paint, like slow server response times and client-side rendering so it’s really about finding out the cause of long loading times on websites, for example by looking at graphics files sizes with compressing them when possible.

One thing we know works well is making use of the Jamstack architecture, because all content will be prebuilt – this helps reduce download times during users’ visits as only minimal data from remote sources is required.

Learn how we use Jam stack to optimise site performance here.

First Input Delay (FID)

The First Input Delay measures the interactivity and responsiveness of a web page. It takes into account users’ first impressions, evaluating how quickly events are processed on your site – in other words it measures delay between when someone clicks an element or link to what they see after interacting with that particular item for just one moment!

Ready to make better impressions?

There are many ways you can reduce the FID load time of your website. One developer tool to challenge this is to only load what’s required on page, like deferring third party scripts until after initial content has loaded and keeping request counts low by minimizing main thread work; another option would be keeping transfer sizes small with highest speed connections possible.

Performance issues like slow loading times and resource racing through shared hosting have a serious impact on your site’s performance. Hosting with managed cloud services will make the difference in rendering and providing an improved user experience that benefits both you as well as Google algorithms!

Learn about how we help Secure I.T Environments utilise faster hosting to improve their ranking.

Cumulative Layout Shift

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures the visual stability of pages. Pages should not move around when interacting with your site, but if content does shift without warning users can have an unpleasant experience. They might also click buttons or make purchases they did not want to!

Create more stable experiences

Google has some great guidelines for avoiding surprise layout shifts. Make sure to include sizing attributes on images and video elements, don’t insert content above existing elements unless it’s in response to user interaction or an animation that will help provide context where they are transitioning between states of their page.

Remember, these metrics shouldn’t be used to define your page experience, often site owners can be worried about google tools reporting cumulative layout shift but remember that these are only metrics to consider the user experience. There are plenty of other metrics to measure for great SEO performance.

How do I check my site’s core web vitals metrics?

If you want to know how your site is doing, there are several Google tools that can measure a users page experience. All of them will offer page experience scores and provide basic stats on site speed, user inputs, page speed and other useful bits of data: 

Chrome User Experience Report

If your using Google Chrome, their user experience report is a powerful tool that can tell us what users think about our browser experience as well as their perception that we meet certain standards such as speed or stability; it also has recommendations based on this information which could lead towards increased SEO performance, if implemented correctly!

PageSpeed Insights

With PageSpeed Insights, Google analyzes your content on mobile and desktop devices then provides suggestions for making the page faster. PSI is powered by another great tool from google called Lighthouse that will convert performance scores per web page into an indicator between 1 & 100 with 90 being considered “Good”. To use this feature navigate to PSSI-tool, enter the url of a site or search result you want feedback about in order to receive insights based off their algorithms. 

Lighthouse

In order to check if a site has been responsive optimized for mobile, you can use this free online tool from Google called Lighthouse. This will crawl a website and generate a report which displays various measurements about your page, including how it performs across different browsers on Android & iOS devices. This is also great because it will provide suggestions based on audit results that have the potential to improve SEO! Additionally Lighthouse offers tips on ways to optimize any web pages performance for search engines. In my experience I found using both the PageSpeed Insights report and Lighthouse tends offer more information than just one alone.

Chrome vitals extension

The free Web Vitals Extension for Chrome enables you to measure the three Core Web Vital metrics. You can drill down into individual metric values, which can be especially helpful when developing a desktop site or considering how to optimise for user input. If you’re developing a new site, these core web vitals metrics can be used to develop and test web pages throughout the development process.

PageSpeed Insight for Android

The Page Speed Insights Mobile Test tool measures the speed of your page on a mobile device. The app also provides suggestions on how to improve performance which can be carried out using an extension within Chrome DevTools, or more directly through code changes. There are some limitations to this app, but it offers an easy way to check if you’re on track with the general principles of the Google PageSpeed scorecard.

Using developer tools like these will help you make informed decisions about what needs improving in order to achieve higher SEO scores and better UXs!

Ready to review Google web vitals?

If you’re looking at these developer tools and feeling lost with lost in a field of data then don’t worry. Batur are on hand to interpret these core metrics, our SEO experts will triage all of the factors that google considers and produce a roadmap that can improve your page performance.

While these tools paint a broad picture and do a great job quantifying how users interact with your site, there’s much more to consider. We not only look at the big picture, but we review all of our findings in order to present you with a plan that involves strategic and tactical changes.

Find out how our services can benefit you

Our team are happy to have a chat to you to understand your needs.

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