Did you Prepare for Google’s Core Web Vitals update from May 2021?
As websites and web users have turned toward more user-friendly experiences, Google will now be considering page experience when determining search engine rankings.
About a year ago, Google announced that it would implement Core Web Vitals in the spring of 2021. The metrics were executed in May or mid-June of this year. This new measurement has left many website owners wondering if they should be concerned by their Core Web Vital metrics. The answer is yes and no.
What Will Core Web Vitals Be Changing?
Core Web Vitals make up 3 metrics that evaluate a page’s overall user experience. They measure a website’s loading time, interactivity, and visual stability.
The three Core Web Vital Metrics are:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): LCP measures your load speed and website performance. It zeroes in on the largest text block or image visible on a page and records how long the graphic elements take to render. A good score is 2.5 seconds to load or less- anything longer is considered poor.
- First Input Delay (FID): This metric deals directly with the load responsiveness of a web page. FID measures the time between when a user clicks or taps a page and when the browser actually starts processing. If the reaction is within 100 milliseconds, the webpage is considered to have a good score.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): How often have you been tapping a screen on your phone, only to have it redirect you to somewhere completely different after it suddenly realigns itself? CLS measures how stable a webpage is during loading, i.e., if there are any major layout shifts.
Some other UX elements that affect CWV metrics are mobile-friendliness and limited pop-ups.
The global online community has seen a shift toward making the user experience more delightful across web browsers, and Google is attempting to mirror that in their algorithm. Google wants to provide its users with excellent information and UX. This move will be incredibly beneficial because UX can help small businesses compete with larger businesses on google rankings instead of competing for keywords.
How Do SEO Strategies Need to Be Adapted?
It may seem like a lot, but with the following tweaks to your SEO strategies, you can ensure your Google search ranking remains unaffected. And it may even improve. Additionally, better UX will result in more satisfied customers, decreasing your bounce rate and increasing your revenue.
Perform a Site Audit
The best place to start is with a site audit. By utilizing a variety of analytical tools, you can zero in on every URL on your website and determine which ones aren’t meeting Google’s UX standards.
Adjust Graphic Sizes
When it comes to improving load speeds and layout, compressing large files and scaling images back are great ways to streamline your website.
Monitor Your Traffic and Analytics
While site auditing can ensure your URLs are functioning correctly, an efficient way to diagnose UX pain points is by monitoring your site’s traffic and analytics. This data will let you know where your users are having difficulty on your site so you can better pinpoint areas of improvement.
Continuous SEO learning
Google utilizes over 200 factors to rank pages. By staying up to date on current SEO trends, you’re ensuring that your IT, UX, and SEO teams can strategize ahead of the competition.
Optimize for Mobile Search
Make your page responsive to mobile devices to improve the experience of mobile users. Being mobile-friendly means reducing page redirects, improving load speeds, rethinking your site structure for clarity, and optimizing web page design for mobile.
No Intrusive Pop-ups
Analysis has shown that any sort of pop-up or banner that interrupts a webpage can negatively impact a user’s navigation which will affect your search rankings. This means using effective CTAs on your website that will attract your customer, but not impact their user experience.
While many of the updates revolve around page experience best practices, only about 15% of all websites currently meet Core Web Standards. Google itself has explained that they’ll still prioritize excellent, informative content, even if a website doesn’t meet Core Web Vital standards.
However, for content that’s duplicated and repeated elsewhere, CWV metrics will be the deciding factor in a website’s rankings. Best practices for websites would be to do their best to implement the above listed SEO strategies, and maintain a focus on both user experience and publishing superior content.