By now you’d probably have heard of Google’s new Page Experience algorithm update that will be rolled out from June 2021 onwards. A lot is going to change and this will affect your search engine results ranking positions for 2021 and beyond. So what are core web vitals and how is that linked to the new Page Experience algorithm update? To find out what exactly are core web vitals, let’s first do a recap of Google’s new Page Experience algorithm.
What Is Google’s Page Experience Algorithm?
Page experience in Google Search is evaluated based on the following criteria:
1. Mobile-friendliness: The website must work on mobile to qualify for a Good status in the Page Experience report.
2. Safe browsing: A site must be free from any security issues or all URLs on the site will be disqualified from a Good status in the Page Experience report.
3. Offers HTTPS: A page must be served over HTTPS to be eligible for a Good page experience status.
4. Non-intrusive advertisements: The entire website, not simply a single page, is evaluated whether the advertising techniques are distracting or interrupting. Ad Experience status changes rarely, so you don’t have to check it often.
All these factors will ultimately affect your Page Experience and whether the user continues to surf your website, which is highly valued by Google because if people don’t like your page, they are more likely to “bounce” back to the search results and look for other websites.
Other than these elements, there’ll be a fifth element called core web vitals that will be introduced as part of the Page Experience.
What Are Core Web Vitals?
Core web vitals are a subset of factors that will be a part of Google’s Page Experience score.
These metrics are ways to measure the user experience of a page that impacts Google’s Page Experience algorithm. You can check out how your website performs by reading the Core Web Vitals report.
The Core Web Vitals report has the following three metrics for measurement:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) that measures loading.
- First input delay (FID) that measures interactivity.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) that measures visual stability.
Guide To Prepare Your Website For The Core Web Vitals Update
Overall, your page needs to score “Good” for all these core web vitals to pass the assessment.
NOTE: The page status will be the status of its most poorly performing metric. So if a page has a Good LCP and CLS, but poor FID, it’ll be labelled as Poor on the Core Web Vitals report.
Follow this core web vitals guide to beat the algorithm.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
This measures the amount of time taken to render the largest content element on the page, typically an image or video. The metric will be scored as follows:
- Good: less than 2.5 seconds
- Needs improvement: between 2.5 and 4 seconds
- Poor: longer than 4 seconds
What you can do to improve your LCP performance: Optimise your server, route users to a nearby Content Delivery Network (CDN), cache assets, serve HTML pages cache-first, and establish third-party connections early.
First Input Delay (FID)
This measures the time from when a user first interacts with your page, for example clicking a link, to the time when the browser responds to that interaction. The metric will be scored as follows:
- Good: less than 100 milliseconds
- Needs improvement: up to 300 milliseconds
- Poor: longer than 300 milliseconds
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
This is the score that calculates if any page element shifts while a user is trying to interact with it.
- Good: less than 100 milliseconds
- Needs improvement: between 100 and 250 milliseconds
- Poor: longer than 250 milliseconds
What you can do to improve your CLS performance: Include width and height size attributes on your images and video elements, reduce ad shift by statically reserving space for the ad slot, and precompute sufficient space for embeds with a placeholder or fallback.
The Key Takeaway
What’s unique about this update is that Google gave everyone advanced notice and even postponed the launch, from May to June this year.
Google will gradually roll out the Page Experience update from mid-June 2021 until the end of August 2021. So do make sure you make the recommended adjustments to your site before the new upcoming update so your desktop and mobile rankings will remain the same or even better, increase drastically.