Google delayed the rollout of Core Web Vitals from May to mid-June, delaying the full live update until the end of August. The highly anticipated new set of ranking signals will be combined with the current search signals, creating the new page experience. What does this new development mean for your business?
If you have worked diligently with your website creation SEO team and specialists to implement changes to your website, you have nothing to worry about. The delay in deployment only means that you could be ahead of the curve. If you haven’t started modifying your site, however, the delay only means that you now have time to meet the new set of metrics.
What are the main Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals are expected to change the way Google ranks websites. It covers three major parameters, namely:
- Largest Content Painting (LCP). It measures the speed at which the page loads
- First entry delay (FID). FID concerns the interactivity or engagement of your pages
- Cumulative Layout Offset (CLS). This metric measures the stability of elements on your page when users interact with it.
Thus, the new set of metrics will focus on load time, interactivity, and page stability, giving you insight into what you and your web developers need to be working on.
And here are five effective ways to do it:
- Optimize your images and videos
Slow loading pages can cost you, potential customers. For many sites, images are the most visible element, so it’s best to optimize them.
An effective way to do this is to scale and compress all the images on your website. Some image optimization tools to use are tinypng or ShortPixel . You can also convert your images to more efficient modern formats, like .png, and make sure it’s responsive images that look perfect on mobile and desktop devices.
Distinguish between “optimization” and “size reduction”. You can try to reduce the size of your images to make them load faster. But remember that the main goal of Core Web Vitals is to provide a better user experience. Your images (or videos) may load faster, but your website visitors may not find them useful if they are out of focus or of poor quality.
- Deferred loading images and third-party scripts
Lazy loading is another way to make your website images more responsive and load faster. In this method, the images load when the user scrolls to that area of the page. If they are above the fold, any images a user is supposed to view will appear first. As they scroll down, the images for those areas of the page will follow.
Lazy loading not only allocates bandwidth correctly, but it is also useful for image-rich websites.
HTML is a way to easily load a lazy image. You just need to follow this markup:
Your images and video elements should be provided with attributes of size, width and height. You can also use the CSS aspect ratio boxes to reserve the space that the image or element needs. This way, the page can allocate the correct space for the file without moving all the elements on the page when the file loads.
Layout changes only count when they are visible to the user. So if an offset occurs below the page but the user has not yet scrolled to that area, it will not count for CLS.
- Fix your UX models for desktop and mobile
Many layout changes are the result of bad UX models. An example of this is the pop-ups in websites or banners that appear at the top of the page to advertise. When these elements do that, they tend to push everything else on the page.
Make sure you reserve enough space for dynamic content. These are content that will appear later, such as promotions or advertisements. One tip is to avoid inserting new content on top of existing content, especially if you are not tracking content fit for the entire page.
- Improve your Real User Monitoring (RUM) setup
Real user monitoring is the process of capturing and analyzing the movements of every user on a website or application. We often talk about actual user metrics or monitoring the end user experience. You can do this by checking the performance data at the page level.
Google Search Console (GSC) is a useful tool that will tell you how pages are performing based on groups of URLs or groupings of URLs that have similar HTML structures.
RUM tracking will also ensure that the user’s first impression of your site’s responsiveness and interactivity is positive.
Another factor that can impact the performance of your CWV is server response time. Typically, a faster server response time improves each page load metric.
Ideally, you want the browser to receive content from the server quickly, this way it will also appear on the screen and be ready for the user to view in record time.
How do I know if the server response time is slow? Use tools like WebPage Test and Lighthouse.
Lighthouse in particular, has a page audit element called Reduce Initial Server Response Time. If you see this in your audit report, it means you need to spend some time digging into the problem with your web developers.
Better Website Performance, Better User Experience – Better Rankings
Core Web Vitals are intended to help users enjoy their online experience. With its update, Google aims to prioritize site speed and user experience. But there is no one-size-fits-all optimization formula, as it will depend on how your website is performing today, what your goals are and what industry you are in.
Ultimately, these upgrades ensure that the web is populated with quality, relevant websites. Apply best practices to your website to ensure you are providing the best service and experience to your customers.