Web vitals and the Google Search Algorithm
We talk a lot about on-page seo, and the impact of good content, keywords, and page structure. Without a doubt these are all significant factors when it comes to site quality. Google’s new ‘Core Web Vitals’ metric (found at https://search.google.com/search-console) will soon flip things upside down.
Or will it?
What are Core Web Vitals
Google has spent the better part of the last 10 years evaluating how we use the web. They’ve watched, listened, and identified patterns in our behaviour to best understand what makes sites attractive to us.
Over the last 2 years, Google’s focus has been identifying the performance characteristics that ‘appeal’ to users, and from that investigation, they’ve devised the Core Web Vitals.
Loading speed, Mobile friendliness, Security, and even layout are considered in the metrics – specifically – performance elements (perceived and real) that directly impact the quality of the site.
FID or First Input Delay
Simply put – how long it takes for the page to respond to a request. How long for a form submission, link click or interaction with the page. Nobody wants to ‘wonder’ if the click on a submit button was captured, or if the web page stalled out.
LCP or Largest Contentful Paint
As your page loads from top to bottom, Google is paying attention to the process. LCP is more than just how long it takes for your webserver to respond. Rather – LCP looks at how long it takes for the bulk of page content to be drawn on the screen. Large images, rendered elements, or scripts can greatly impact this metric, so keep it clean and minimize content from outside your control!
Visual Stability or Cumulative Layout Shift
When elements on the page shift as content loads there is a risk of users attempting to click on elements that might ‘move’. At some point you’ve likely experienced this yourself. You’re reading a page, and see a ‘next’ button and as you go to click it – everything shifts and you’re clicking on the middle of the page, or worse – an ad banner that ‘popped’ in when it loaded from a third party script.
The Supporting Cast of Metrics
So what does it all mean?
Google is looking at the big picture. Site operators and web content creators hold the cards when it comes to user experience. Good SEO practices will likely still be the biggest factor for doing well in search rankings, but having an eye on these performance elements in addition to your existing SEO practices will only result in a better experience for users.
Like all SEO tactics, the goal is to provide a better experience for your visitors. Good content and improved performance aren’t just for a better position from the algorithm, but if your efforts improve your position relative to your competitors, well that’s not a bad thing right?
If you’re looking for help with your SEO, or need to refresh your website – Get in Touch with Mtek Digital!