Understanding and Preparing for Google’s Core Web Vitals Update
The Google Page Experience update goes into effect in May 2021. Here’s how this new Google update will impact your SEO.
Google first announced its “Google Page Experience” update in May 2020. It is now imminent, as it is scheduled for May 2021. So, what should you expect from this refresh of the Mountain View giant’s algorithms? What impact will it have on your SEO?
Before answering these questions, let’s first talk about the Google Page Experience.
What is the Google Page Experience?
Google describes the Page Experience update as, “a set of signals that measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page beyond its purely informational value.” Simply put, Google will add a set of new signals to its algorithm. This will result in better rankings for websites that are fast, easy to use, and well-designed.
- The new update also builds on Google’s existing user experience signals. These signals are essentially: mobile friendliness, secure browsing, HTTPS, and pages that load fast.
- Google even mentioned the addition of new “visual indicators” in its search results (SERPs). These indicators will be used to highlight pages with an excellent page experience score.
- Metrics around loading speed and usability will also be refined. These new metrics are called “Core Web Vitals.”
Understanding the Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals or Essential Web Signals are Google’s new metrics for determining whether a page’s experience is good or not. The Core Web Vitals include three criteria:
- LCP (Largest Contentful Paint): LCP, or loading performance, refers to the largest visible image or block of text on a page. It determines when the main part of the page was displayed on the screen. Google recommends that sites have an LCP that occurs within 2.5 seconds from the start of the page load.
- FID (First Input Delay): FID is used to measure interactivity. Google measures the time between a person interacting with your site (clicking a button, scrolling, etc.) and the time the site begins to respond. This latency can be the result of the browser working on other tasks, such as loading other parts of a web page. To provide a good page experience, sites should strive for a score of less than 100 milliseconds.
- CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift): CLS, or visual stability, measures how much the window elements move as the page loads. For example, if your visitor tries to click on a link and it moves. CLS tells you whether or not users can interact with the page properly. To have a good page experience, you should aim for a SLC score below 0.1.
What Doesn’t Change with Google Page Experience?
Before Google Page Experience, web pages were already ranked based on scores for:
Whether the website and its landing pages work well on cell phones. Google’s Mobile-First index now penalizes sites that are not mobile-friendly.
Whether the site does not use deceptive practices or malware. The site should also not allow security holes that hackers could exploit at the expense of visitors.
If the site uses the HTTPS protocol.
Site Loading Time:
Whether the site does not use pop-ups or other types of content that slow down the loading of content expected by the visitor.
The addition of the Core Web Vitals means that when Google Page Experience is deployed in May 2021, we will have 7 key signals to monitor for SEO.
How Big Will the Google Page Experience Be?
Google’s Panda update affected about 12% of search queries. The BERT update affected about 10% of all search queries. What will be the impact of Google Page Experience on search engine results? It’s hard to say at this stage, but we can rightly think that it will be significant.
Google officials have already stated that this update is not designed to target pages that already have great content. Instead, sites with high-quality content should rank even higher in the SERPs once the update is rolled out.
Regardless, the rule still applies: the more quality content you produce, the better you’ll rank. Content is still king and will continue to play a central role in search engine rankings, and that’s regardless of the updates Google makes to its algorithm.
Need to do an SEO audit of your site to make sure you are up to Google Page Experience standards? Contact Impact Digital Marketing in Michigan for more information about how we can help.