Google recently released the Core Web Vitals report worldwide, a report that can be found in your Search Console property.
This is not the first time that the giant has made a move towards improving page speed. Past algorithm updates were mainly focused on this subject, as Google gives more and more importance about user experience.
But, what are Core Web Vitals? How can they impact my SEO? How can my website be optimised for User Experience? Keep reading this post to find out key elements of the next Google ranking factor and what can you do to improve your website.
What are Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals are a combination of signals that have been created aiming to improve page and user experience.
Page experience is, essentially, how usable your webpages are. Are they a pleasure to navigate? Or are they a chore? Can customers find their way, or are they encountering blockers and hurdles to get to their desired goal? Optimizing pages to give users the best possible experience is vital for business success.
There are a number of Google search ranking factors that make up page experience: Loading, interactivity, and visual stability.
These are referred to as “Core Web Vitals” and they take into account several factors that target page speed.
Google was aware that until this report was released, it was difficult to pinpoint the origin of these issues. Since May last year, webmasters are able to see the performance of their pages in these report where there are a combination of:
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
How long it takes for a page’s main content to load. An ideal LCP measurement is faster than 2.5 seconds. This marks the exact time when the biggest piece of content above the fold gets loaded.
First Input Delay
How long it takes for a page to become interactive (For example, the time that takes between a click and its response). The ideal speed is less than 100 ms.
Cumulative Layout Shift
The amount of unexpected layout shift of visual page content. An ideal measurement is less than 0.1. This measures the visual stability of the site. Sometimes, the content of a page will change while the site keeps loading, making the user click in wrong places.
When measuring Core Web Vitals, it is important to take into account all pages of the website. John Mueller recently explained that in some cases the Core Web Vitals ranking signal might be calculated using non-indexed web pages.
When will Core Web Vitals become a ranking factor?
Google has announced that Core Web Vitals will become ranking signals from May 2021 – At the moment, these do not affect SEO rankings, however, this was announced to change on the set date. Google made public this information in one of their most recent articles about page speed and UX.
These ranking signals will combine Core Web Vitals and previous UX-related signals.
The previous UX-related signals already established by Google are:
As mobile continues to gain strength as the preferred device, this should be the main focus of optimisation efforts. A way of improving mobile friendliness is via AMP pages.
Users can become frustrated and grow impatient with slow loading pages, especially when using mobile devices. Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) can be used on your eCommerce site to speed up the load time on your pages, which helps improve the overall experience.
SSL Certificate and safe browsing
An SSL certificate is what allows a domain to move from HTTP to HTTPS. This is important, especially on eCommerce sites, as it increases trust on the website. A user will be more likely to buy from your store when they land on a secure domain.
Intrusive Interstitial Guidelines
Google penalises sites that damage user experience. Intrusive pop-ups, banners, and any other element that could interrupt the user journey will damage your website rankings and visibility.
How will Core Web Vitals affect my SEO?
It is likely that these signals will affect SEO on a page level instead of website level. In the past, pages that have seen the biggest SEO improvements are the ones that have been optimised from “Very slow” to “average”, however, these changes haven’t been as noticeable on websites from “average” to “fast”.
On another hand, optimising page speed is not only necessary for SEO but as well to improve returning users and their journey.
Site owners are already working hard to optimise their websites towards improving their Core Web Vitals signals. The main focus of these improvements should be the user. Making their journey smoother and easier will not only improve SEO factors such as bounce rate or average time on page but also improve website conversions.
The best way to improve your website’s user experience is having a UX audit done to detect opportunities and ways of improvement.
Our talented UX department will assess your eCommerce website and identify any usability problems, giving to you the best solutions to be ready for Google’s new ranking signals. Get in touch now by calling 0121 369 5874 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org