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What are Core Web Vitals and Why are They Important?

Generally speaking, there has been a lot of confusion surrounding Google Ranking factors since the platform emerged in 1996. Now, we all know about common ranking factors like publishing volume, outbound links, backlinks, thought leadership, keywords, title tags, and numerous other SEO elements. Still, there’s still a certain amount of mystery surrounding this subject. As Google has pointed out, there are around 200 factors influencing how websites rank on a search engine results page (SERP). Unfortunately, only Google’s leaders and developers are privy to information about the algorithm. 

However, Google is now providing some more insight into its metrics. Core Web Vitals will be used to analyze your website– and make it rank. Last year, Google introduced the concept of core web vitals. Based on Google’s announcement, many digital marketing experts are anticipating that the Core Web Vitals will make up the largest portion of your page experience score. The new vitals are slated for implementation as an official Google ranking factor in May 2021. It will become an important Google ranking factor– providing a holistic view of your website and helping inform your digital marketing strategy. 

What are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are a set of specific factors that Google will assess to determine the quality of a webpage’s user experience (UX). Traditional web vitals included things like mobile-friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS, and no pop-up ads. Google will continue to monitor these factors, but will also introduce three new vitals.

What are the Three Core Web Vitals?

The Core Web Vitals are Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (SLC). Their scores are broken down into three categories: good needs improvement, and poor. To rank at the top of the search pack, you want each category to turn green. These rank factors will soon become a part of Google’s “page experience” score. 

What is Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)?

LCP simply put, is how long it takes for a webpage to load from a searcher’s perspective. This starts from the moment they click a link to your website, to the time they see the content. Traditional page speed measurements tend to focus on how long it takes for Google’s crawlers to index a website. However, most times they failed to consider how the user was interacting with your website. 

You can check your LCP score using Google PageSpeed Insights or webpagetest.org to ensure you understand how your page is actually performing. For a more comprehensive view, you should use Google Search Console (GSC). All of our client’s companies are monitored through GSC. This allows us to get a holistic view of your website instead of viewing individual pages. The digital marketing experts at Rise Local can then help you effectively utilize this data and make improvements to your website. 

Optimal speed: 2.5 seconds

Solutions: This can be a difficult metric for web pages with a lot of features and high-res content to meet. One way Rise Local can shorten your load time is by hosting your website on our lightning-fast local servers. This is our most effective load speed solution, but our web dev team can also remove unnecessary third-party scripts, bulky CSS, and customize media elements that are slowing you down. 

What is First Input Delay (FID)?

FID measures how quickly searchers are able to interact with content and customer responsiveness. This may include things like selecting an option in the nav menu, clicking on a link, entering their email into a subscription form, or submitting a consultation request. This is important because it monitors how real-life users journey through your website and what actions they choose to take. This also measures speed, but unlike LCP, it measures how long it takes a consumer to do something on your website. This isn’t important on things like blog pages, because the user is just scrolling. However, if you want to send them through a customizable service list or to a contact form, this metric is important. 

Optimal Speed: 100 milliseconds

Solutions: To help you score better in this field, we can minimize or defer JavaScript, remove non-essential third-party scripts, and use a browser cache. 

What is Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)?

CLS is the visual stability of a web page while it loads. If visual elements are moving around a lot during this process, that’s an indicator that your CLS is high, which is bad. Users crave consistency. They don’t want to see a link or image while it’s loading, just to have it move once the page is fully loaded. Visual elements like photos, graphics, videos, and animations are notorious for driving up the CLS. 

Optimal CLS: less than 0.1

Solutions: To avoid a high CLS score, our web development and publishing teams can set size attribute dimensions to visual elements so the browser knows how much space to a lot for that media. Much like visuals, ads should also have a dedicated space so they don’t randomly appear and shift your content. 

Let Rise Local Check Your Vitals

Our digital marketing specialists understand the important role the new Core Web Vitals will play in ranking. That’s why we’ve already done our research, and are ready to analyze these new metrics for all of our clients. Our analysts can break down what’s not working and send the data over to web development for implementation. Still, having a good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content. So our content production crew will also be on standby to fulfill your needs and prevent other SEO elements from falling to the wayside. If you’re ready to dive into digital marketing, contact us today. We will offer a free consultation to discuss your needs, and we can get right to work on crafting a custom digital marketing strategy. 

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