Core Web Vitals: How Dangerous Are They?Rana Tarakji
Google search engine dominates the online world. It has billions of active users, and if you want to access those resources, you must follow all Google guidelines. Google got where it is by providing the best service to its users, and to maintain that position, it keeps updating its eight major search algorithms. Every expert SEO analyst will recommend improving three things to get around them by leveraging on core web vitals. RankBrain, which focuses on user experience, remains the fifth most crucial ranking factor, but its importance increases with time. Now that Google has added core web vitals in Page Experience, everyone is most focused on preparing for them.
What are Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals are Google’s set of criteria to determine whether or not your webpage is user friendly or not. In simple terms, Core Web Vitals are what help Google determine if visitors will have a hard time when they visit your webpage or not.
There are three core web vitals, each of which focuses on different parts of the user experience:
- Fast Loading
- User Interaction
- Visual stability
Why Are Core Web Vitals important?
When it comes to search engines, Google is king. Basically. Anything that Google says goes. It has been made clear by Google on its blog that these vitals are a ranking factor.
Google has core web vitals as its signal. It provides an insight into the quality of a visitor’s experience to a particular webpage. Then it’s better that you implement those metrics that Google provides. You also need to perform well in them so that you rank higher on Google’s SEO radar.
While there is no denying importance of these tests, they are also not very difficult to pass. Here is how these three core web vitals work.
1- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
Largest Contentful Paint tests how long it takes to load a page, but, unlike First Contentful Paint, it does so from the user’s point of view. It marks when a user clicks on the link and calculates the time in which the user can see that page’s main content. A slow performing LCP means lower Google search engine rankings, and a higher-performing LCP means higher Google search engine rankings. It is that straightforward.
Google has also added this test in the Google PageSpeed Insights, and it shows every change you need to make to improve the LCP score. You can detail each test and its score and have the designer update your website pages.
Most commonly, images cause a delay in LCP. Ensure all photos, videos, and block-level elements are as optimized as possible and run this test for mobile and desktop devices. Also, upgrade your web host, remove third-party scripts, and consider setting up lazy loading. Lazy loading is a function that only loads images when the user scrolls down to that part of the page. It is going to help with your LCP performance.
2- First Input Delay (FID)
After measuring the time, it takes your page to show content, the second core web vital tests how the user actually interacts with it. Interaction includes actions like opening accordion text and clicking on a link or menu.
First Input Delay may not be much big of a deal for blog posts where the only interaction is scrolling and reading. You will see this test in the Search Console of your website if you have login pages or lead generation forms.
Just a fast loading site doesn’t guarantee a good user experience. Business websites will also see an improvement in their conversion rate when they have successfully executed FID.
3- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
Many pages keep reshaping as they load. While the developer might be trying to show content as soon as possible, shifting images and links are not appreciated by any user.
They might end up clicking the wrong link or image and then wait for it to load before they can go back. Cumulative Layout Shift measures visual stability to make sure the page is delightful for the user.
Ensure all images, videos, and GIFs have set size attribute dimensions and reserve space for ads. This problem is most commonly found in e-commerce stores, which can be fatal for them.
They have to analyze user data on the run time to show relevant results. If the design is not strong and properly optimized, the user will be annoyed by the shifting images and links.
How Are Core Web Vitals Dangerous?
Just like with all things SEO, when misused, or abused, or not even used, then they can provide a serious threat to your website and search engine rankings. Core Web Vitals are dangerous if you don’t use them on your website. Especially because Google puts a lot of emphasis on core web vitals to determine if a website is user friendly or not, ranking it appropriately on it’s SERP (search engine result page). Your misuse or lack of use of core web vitals may be the reason why your website is not performing up to par.
But as I mentioned earlier, any abuse with SEO tools and tactics can also be anti-productive. So while you want to apply the right core web vitals tools and techniques on your website, you don’t want to go overboard with it. Stick to the tips and tricks mentioned in this article, and you should be ok.
Working with SEO means you need to pay attention to the ever-changing Google algorithms, rules, and regulations. You don’t want to rest easy because at any moment, a new feature or update can be rolled out, and you could end up back in square one. When it comes to core web vitals, it’s a sure-fire, easy way to put up some numbers on to the SEO scoreboard. So make sure you check on how you’re performing in that area of your SEO. And if you find an area for improvement, improve it.