July 29, 2020

In 2020, Google announced an upcoming change to their ranking algorithms which would incorporate new metrics for measuring user experience known as Core Web Vitals.

 These metrics are meant to show different aspects of how a page loads and how that impacts user experience 

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures loading performance. Essentially, this is how long it takes for a webpage to load. To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading. 

  • First Input Delay (FID): measures interactivity. This means how long it takes for the browser to respond when a user clicks on a button (or any other interactive element such as a calculator). For example, if a user is on your homepage and they click on “Checking Products” how long does it take for the link to show that it’s been clicked (I.e. a link changing color to indicate it’s been clicked)? That’s FID. To provide a good user experience, pages should have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds. 

  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures visual stability. For example, if you’re scrolling down a page and all of a sudden, an unexpected image loads and causes the text to jump around, that would be distracting and frustrating right? CLS measures the ability of a site to maintain structure so that no element loads “unexpectedly” but rather that all spaces are maintained, and the user can browse and click without the page jumping. To provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1. 

(source: https://web.dev/vitals/

These Core Web Vitals have been used by developers and web masters to breakdown page speed scores to determine exactly what part of a site was slow – from server issues, images needing compression, where certain code loads, etc. However, this is the first time Google is going to use these metrics when determining where sites rank in search results. This means that not only do you need to have great, relevant content, but you must also provide an excellent user experience in order to have a shot at ranking on the first page of Google. 

Though the exact date of when the Core Web Vitals will go live in the ranking algorithm is yet to be announced, Google has said there will be a six-month notice and that it’ll likely happen in early 2021. Why are we getting so much advanced notice? Because most sites today do not meet the benchmarks defined by Google, and unfortunately, there is a no “one-size-fits-all” approach to ensuring all sites hit these requirements.

Unsure where your site currently stands? We have the answers you need to ensure you’re able to meet the Core Web Vitals benchmarks. Fill out the form below and we’ll help you determine what steps need to be taken to meet these metrics before the update goes live.