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What are Core Web Vitals?

What are Core Web Vitals?

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Calling all designers, developers and marketers! Have you heard about the latest updates to Google’s Core Web Vitals?

Google has added three new page experience metrics to their Core Web Vitals and these are now used as a ranking factor for search engine results pages (SERPs). Many teams have been left confused on what they mean, how to improve them and their impact on search.

Our Senior Project Manager, Dani, has put together a blog about this topic to help you find out what they mean for your teams, and your roadmap.

What are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals cover three metrics that report on site performance and user experience. The three metrics are:

1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

This metric monitors page loading performance and is an indicator of ‘perceived’ load speed, meaning how quickly the main content takes to appear. Google considers content to be embedded images or videos and block-level elements, which impact how fast the above-the-fold content renders for a user.

LCP is important to provide the best user experience to your users. The quicker you can show your content, the quicker users can engage with the content and convert.

At Digital Detox, we’ve been taking pride in detoxing web design for a while now. Check out our blog on how to detox enterprise web design.

2. First Input Delay (FID)

This metric measures interactivity, from when a user first inputs an action and the page executes it, for example clicking a link.

You’ve probably noticed a page loading more slowly following adding analytics tracking software - or you’ve been warned by your dev team about this! A big contributor to a low FID score is third party code. It’s good practice to regularly review your third party code to ensure it’s relevant and not unnecessarily impacting your FID score.

We’ve shared some quick wins to detox your application development here.

3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

An important user-centric metric, this score quantifies how often users experience unexpected layout shifts. This may include when you visit a site and see the tell-tale ‘flicker’ (observing content changing) of an A/B test loading in and you were left wondering what the control was. These interruptions can cause loss of trust in users and ultimately lost conversions.

This metric is a major contributor to ‘user delight’ and keeping your CLS score low will ensure your site offers a lag-free experience to your users.

Benefits of optimisation Core Web Vitals

While all businesses strive to provide a seamless user experience, the update to include Core Web Vitals for SERP ranking may bump up the priority in the backlog. The reason behind it is that optimisation of Core Web Vitals may result in improved rankings in organic search, as well as an increased quality score which reduces the cost per click for paid search.

Measuring and reporting Core Web Vitals

When it comes to measuring Core Web Vitals, SEOs and site owners can use a variety of Google’s own tools such as:

  • The Chrome User Experience Report
  • PageSpeed Insights
  • Search Console (Core Web Vitals Report)
  • Web-vitals JavaScript library

How to improve Core Web Vitals scores

A recent study by Searchmetrics found that 96% of websites fail to meet the three Core Web Vital thresholds for good website performance and usability.

Practical considerations to improve scores include minifying and compressing CSS Files, using lazy loading for content that isn’t necessary to appear first and removing third-party tracking tags. The aim is to reduce as much necessary javascript to avoid code bloat.

At DD, we use energy-efficient design practices and use sustainable code principles to guide our development processes. We understand the importance of collaborative work between teams and believe the wider adoption of improving CWVs should enable greater transparency and collaboration between teams.

By understanding the effect certain web design practices can have on user experience, designers can work with developers to mitigate limiting factors of performance that will help the user and also increase performance in search rankings.

Key takeaways

  • The Core Web Vitals updates will affect all product teams and roadmaps. From SEO to UX, through to marketers and developers.
  • Google says improvement of Core Web Vitals will result in better user experience and may influence search engine ranking.
  • Optimising images and Javascript execution remain best practices and now may improve your search ranking.
  • While a seemingly small update, businesses that optimise their Core Web Vitals may benefit from improved organic search and a reduction in cost per click for paid search.