Core Web Vitals is a term coined by Google that refers to a set of metrics that are used to measure the user experience of a website. These metrics focus on the speed, responsiveness, and visual stability of a website, and are considered to be critical indicators of a website’s overall performance. In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at Core Web Vitals, what they are, why they matter, and how you can improve them.
What are Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics that measure the performance of a website in terms of the user experience. The metrics are broken down into three main categories.
- Loading performance
- Visual stability
Each category is measured by a different metric, and each metric has its own set of guidelines and thresholds.
Loading performance refers to how quickly a website loads its content. The metric used to measure this is known as Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). LCP measures the time it takes for the largest piece of content on a page to load, whether that be an image, video, or block of text. Google has set a threshold of 2.5 seconds for LCP, which means that if your website takes longer than 2.5 seconds to load its largest piece of content, it may be considered to have poor loading performance.
Interactivity refers to how quickly a website responds to user input. The metric used to measure this is known as First Input Delay (FID). FID measures the time it takes for a website to respond to a user’s first input, such as a button click or a form submission. Google has set a threshold of 100 milliseconds for FID, which means that if your website takes longer than 100 milliseconds to respond to a user’s first input, it may be considered to have poor interactivity.
Visual stability refers to how stable the visual elements of a website are as it loads. The metric used to measure this is known as Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). CLS measures the amount of unexpected layout shift that occurs as a website loads, such as when an image or block of text moves unexpectedly. Google has set a threshold of 0.1 for CLS, which means that if your website has a CLS score higher than 0.1, it may be considered to have poor visual stability.
Why do Core Web Vitals matter?
Core Web Vitals matter because they are a critical component of the user experience. A website that loads slowly, responds slowly, or has unstable visual elements can be frustrating and difficult to use. Users are likely to abandon a website that has poor performance, which can lead to lower engagement, lower conversions, and ultimately, lower revenue.
In addition, Core Web Vitals are now a ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm. This means that websites that have poor Core Web Vitals may be penalized in search rankings, which can lead to lower visibility and lower traffic.
How can you improve Core Web Vitals?
Improving Core Web Vitals requires a combination of technical optimizations and content optimizations. Here are some strategies you can use to improve each of the Core Web Vitals metrics.
- Optimize images: Use image compression tools to reduce the size of images on your website, and use the appropriate image format for each image type (JPEG for photographs, PNG for graphics with transparency, etc.).
- Use a content delivery network (CDN): A CDN can help speed up your website by delivering content from servers that are closer to your users.
- Use a fast server: A fast server can help reduce the time it takes for a website to respond to user input.
- Remove third-party scripts: Third-party scripts can slow down your website and increase the time it takes to respond to user input. Remove any unnecessary third-party scripts and only use scripts that are essential to your website’s functionality.
- Reserve space for images and videos: Reserve space for images and videos on your website so that the layout doesn’t shift as they load.
- Use aspect ratios for images and videos: Use aspect ratios for images and
videos so that the layout doesn’t shift as they load.
- Avoid inserting content above existing content: When inserting new content on a page, make sure it doesn’t push down or shift existing content.
In addition to these technical optimizations, there are also content optimizations that can help improve Core Web Vitals.
- Reduce the amount of content: A website with too much content can be overwhelming and slow to load. Focus on creating high-quality content that is relevant to your audience.
- Use lazy loading: Lazy loading can help speed up your website by only loading
images and videos when they are needed.
- Prioritize above-the-fold content: Prioritize the content that appears above-the-fold (i.e., the content that appears before a user scrolls down) to ensure that
it loads quickly and is visible to users.
Core Web Vitals are a critical component of the user experience and are now a ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm. Improving Core Web Vitals requires a combination of technical optimizations and content optimizations. By optimizing your website for Core Web Vitals, you can improve the user experience, increase engagement and conversions, and improve your search rankings.