To determine your website ranking in search results, Google will now attempt to measure the quality of a user’s experience on your site, using signals or metrics called Core Web Vitals. How can you make sure you don’t lose traffic when the update rolls out?
Everyone’s favorite search engine has been busy, rolling out the first of a two-part algorithm update early this month, with the second part to at the beginning of July 2021, followed by a Core Web Vitals update.
When you search for something on Google, their ranking systems sort through billions of web pages and find the most relevant, useful results for you, in a fraction of a second. These ranking systems determine which pages show up for your search through algorithms that consider many factors, including the words of your query, relevance, usability, expertise, and your location and settings.
To keep the quality of search results as high as possible, Google’s algorithm is always being updated. These June and July 2021 core algorithm updates are routine and are not related to the big Page Experience Update that Google has been promising for a while.
What is the Google Page Experience Update?
Simply put, the Google Page Experience Update will change how Google judges what a ‘good’ browsing experience is. It has starting to roll out and will be completed by the end of August 2021.
Several signals go into creating an optimal browsing experience, and Google assesses each of these to give your website an overall page experience score.
Mobile usability, page security, HTTPS usage, and ads that don’t distract or interrupt user browsing experience have all been part of the page experience score calculation for some time now.
What’s new is the Core Web Vitals — three metrics that have been in play merely as guidelines. But starting June 2021, they will directly affect how your website ranks.
What are Google Core Web Vitals? What’s new?
Like we mentioned, Google’s Core Web Vitals are a set of measurements. Originally, they were suggestions on criteria to be met to provide the best web experience to users. Developers could strive to meet these benchmarks and give users a better experience, but if they didn’t, SEO rankings weren’t affected.
Let’s look at the three metrics that make up Core Web Vitals, and could determine your SEO performance.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is the time the largest element ( image, text block, or other) takes to appear on your site visitor’s screen. Google recommends that sites should aim for an LCP metric of 2.5 seconds or fewer.
First Input Delay (FID) measures the time between a user interacting with a page (clicking a link, tap on a button, or other) and the time when the browser responds. For a good user experience, Google recommends a First Input Delay of 100 milliseconds or fewer.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures if and how visual page content shifts unexpectedly as the page loads. This is scored on a scale of 0 to 1, and Google considers a CLS score of up to 0.1 as the benchmark for a good user experience.
How do the Google Page Experience Update and Core Web Vitals affect my website SEO?
Google has gone on record to say that there should not be any major changes spotted in your site rankings because of this update. These new metrics aren’t the only things being considered, they are just being added to all the other measurements that already affect your ranking.
That being said, your best bet is to make sure your business website meets the Core Web Vitals benchmarks. Even a small negative change in your site ranking could mean the difference between a prospect clicking on your website, or your competitor’s.
If you’re not sure how it will affect your site, a thorough SEO check-up might be in order, so you know exactly what you need to do to prepare for the roll-out and be Core Web Vitals-ready before the update takes hold completely by August 2021.
What can you do to improve Core Web Vitals metrics?
This Core Web Vitals update will make technical aspects like LCP, FID, and CLS have a bigger impact on your page ranking on Google.
Without getting into too many technical details, we’ll outline one way to improve each of these metrics for your website SEO:
LCP: Large media files like images and videos should be compressed and uploaded in the correct size.
FID: FID is mostly a measure of your hosting platform and server location. Most providers should meet this benchmark, but if not, you should consider upgrading your hosting or changing your server location.
CLS: Using a static element as a placeholder to mark off the space that a slow-loading element will appear in will prevent Layout Shift.
Unsure how all this works? Get a free website checkup.
To make sure your site isn’t losing traffic, you can get a free website checkup here.
A digital marketing expert from Mystique will review your website, ask you a few questions, and generate a complimentary, customized report with results, recommendations, and a follow-up phone consultation to answer your questions.
If you’d prefer, we invite you to schedule a 15-minute conversation with us to understand how these changes could affect your website and your business.
We’ll learn more about your business, and share a few ideas on how you can ensure the updates don’t affect your search rankings.
Worst-case scenario—- we both walk away just a little smarter than we started out.
Pick a time that works for you.