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Table of Contents:
- What is Core Web Vitals?
- LCP – Largest Contentful Paint
- FID – First Input Delay
- CLS – Cumulative Layout Shift
- Where to check Core Web Vitals indicators?
- How does Core Web Vitals affect website positioning?
The Google search engine is designed to display to users the most appropriate organic results for a specific query. The search system is based on a number of algorithms, each of which evaluates the site from a different angle to then prepare a ranking. In the process of analyzing websites, Google robots consider not only content or external linking, but also technical optimization and UX design. In order to guarantee users the best possible experience, the search engine wants to promote only the highest quality websites that meet specific guidelines. Therefore, in May 2020, Google published Core Web Vitals, or Basic Internet Indicators.
What is Core Web Vitals?
With Core Web Vitals , Google’s search engine sends a clear signal to webmasters, SEO specialists, and website owners. Website optimization is not only about the maximum simplification of the source code, image compression, setting the meta data or alt attributes of the images. UX design also plays an important role in positioning, i.e. adjusting the website to the user’s needs so that using it guarantees the best possible experience for the Internet user. The journey through the individual pages should be smooth, and the session should be as ergonomic and satisfying as possible for the internet user.
Source: Own study.
Core Web Vitals are Basic Internet Indicators used by the Google search engine to determine the quality of a website by analyzing the website during rendering and after loading. The whole is based on three indicators:
- LCP – Largest Contentful Paint (the largest rendering of the content);
- FID – First Input Delay;
- CLS – Cumulative Layout Shift.
These indicators should be on the scale prepared by the Google team. Then the website may be displayed in a high position in the search engine more often, which has a positive effect on organic traffic. Failure to adapt the website to Core Web Vitals significantly hampers SEO activities.
Source : support.google.com – Core Web Vitals values.
LCP – Largest Contentful Paint
Under the acronym LCP hides term Largest Paint Contentful , meaning the biggest render content. This is the time to load the largest fragment of the page. According to Google guidelines, the maximum charging period is 4 seconds, while the best result is considered to be less than 2.5 seconds. Search engine robots analyze the page and use the HTML code in exactly the same way as it was developed – from the first lines to the end. So it is easy to conclude that the greatest element (LCP) can change regularly. A site fragment is considered the largest when it is fully loaded. On the other hand, parts of the website that load off the screen of the Internet user are usually not taken into account by robots.
To improve the LCP , find the elements that slow down the loading of the URL and then optimize them. These include removing unused code snippets, implementing asynchronous loading, as well as CSS and JS minification. In the context of graphics, it is worth considering the use of the WEBP format (high quality, low weight). Images can be displayed immediately before scrolling the user, rather than immediately when loading the URL in the browser – this is known as Lazy Loading .
Source : web.dev – Web Vitals
FID – First Input Delay
FID indicator , i.e. First Input Delay, represents the delay on the first action and relates to the interactivity of the site. In practice, this is the time from the user’s first action while loading the URL until the requested action is performed. Internet users using websites want to obtain the information they are looking for as soon as possible. As a result, the user clicks on links or interface elements even when the page is not fully rendered. Occasionally, it may happen that the website, despite displaying content, does not respond to user interaction (or does it with a delay). This is because the browser deals with the handling of files that make up the website and only after some time it will analyze the user’s behavior. The waiting time is determined by the FIDand should not exceed 300 ms. However, any value below 100 ms is considered a favorable result.
Source : web.dev – Web Vitals
CLS – Cumulative Layout Shift
CLS is slightly different from previous indicators. Cumulative Layout Shift is based on continuous data collection and analysis of rendering of subsequent elements on subpages of the domain. The purpose of this indicator is to verify the layout of the page and to catch possible shifts, as such a phenomenon can negatively affect the user experience. For CLS, newly appearing elements and existing fragments changing their size are not important, unless they cause a shift of other page segments. Google points out that the acceptable Cumulative Layout Shift value is any score below 0.25, while high-quality URLs score below 0.1.
A popular error with a negative impact on CLS is the use of graphics without a declared size. Uploading such an image will significantly shift the page layout. To avoid this situation, you should give a predefined height and width of a given element (in this case a graphic) with the “width” and “height” attributes. Effective solutions also include the use of placeholders. This is a special place where the object, such as an ad, will be displayed. This way the layout will maintain its structure and there will be no layout shift, so the CLS result will be positive.
Source : web.dev – Web Vitals
Where to check Core Web Vitals indicators?
There are several methods for verifying Core Web Vitals metrics . It should be remembered that each URL address requires appropriate optimization for the guidelines of the Google search engine, not just the domain’s home page. Basic Internet Indicators can be analyzed using PageSpeed
You can use PageSpeed
Source : PageSpeed
To use the Lighthouse feature for Core Web Vitals analysis , you must launch the website in a browser. Then it is necessary to “examine the item” by right-clicking the mouse or using the Ctrl + Shift + I keyboard shortcut in Google Chrome. At the top of the open window is the Lighthouse function. The tool allows you to parse the URL (for desktop or mobile version). After the audit is performed, the browser will return the results. Lighthouse does not work in the same way as PageSpeed
Source : Lighthouse function in the browser – Core Web Vitals results of the Ikea store homepage.
Google Search Console
The Google team wants website owners to be able to analyze their sites for Core Web Vitals as easily as possible . For this reason, the functionality of “Basic Internet Indicators” is available in the Google Search Console tool. Crawlers retrieve information about LCP, FID and CLS and then, depending on the result, rate the URLs as poor quality, in need of improvement, or good quality. Thanks to this, it is possible to quickly implement optimization changes, without the need to manually analyze all subpages individually. Google Search Console also presents historical data in the context of Core Web Vitals , which may be useful for webmasters and SEO specialists.
Source : Google Search Console. Sample report showing site status in the context of Core Web Vitals indicators.
How does Core Web Vitals affect website positioning?
Through CoreWeb Vitals , the Google team aims to encourage website owners to better optimize their website. Websites with high ratings may achieve greater visibility in the search engine thanks to high position. This is because they are tailored to the needs of users, so Google’s algorithms are eager to rank them better in organic search results. Core Web Vitals is another step towards the synergy of SEO and UX.
High LCP, FID and CLS indicators have a positive effect on the position of the website, however, it should be remembered that the appropriate technical optimization of the website is not everything in the context of SEO. Equally important is high-quality content rich in naturally placed key phrases. Content that meets the needs of users is absolutely the basis of any website that wants to achieve satisfactory scores in organic search results. Link building plays an equally important role – although this process lost some of its importance after the implementation of the Penguin algorithm , the acquisition of external links is still the primary ranking factor for the Google search engine.
If you want to position your website, be sure to optimize it in accordance with the guidelines of the Google search engine. The site should also be tailored to the needs of users. In this way, it will achieve high Core Web Vitals rates , thus gaining visibility. It is worth noting that an innovative – and at the same time effective – positioning strategy in line with the Basic Internet Indicators is SXO . It is a combination of UX and SEO that gives a number of beneficial effects. With proper implementation of the strategy, the website can expect not only higher visibility, but also higher traffic, which then – thanks to UX – will end the session through conversion.
Appropriate website structure, errors on the page, correct URL addresses – such issues significantly affect the effectiveness of positioning, therefore the skillful creation of redirects on the website should be one of the important elements of the positioning strategy. However, you should remember about moderation – the lack of redirects is a serious problem, but their excess can also weaken the website. Correctness and optimization of implementation are important in developing User Experience. The smoother, more convenient and easier a given user browses a website, the more time he or she will spend on it and the more likely to return to it. Redirects affect not only website traffic, but conversion as well. Consider online stores – each time a potential customer encounters a 404 error, the chances of it being that he will decide to continue browsing the assortment and the final transaction. It is worth regularly monitoring the operation of the website and checking if all redirects are functioning flawlessly, then we increase our chances of quickly detecting any errors and fixing them before it has a negative impact on the operation and effectiveness of the website.
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