In May 2020 Google announced they were introducing a new ranking algorithm which analyses a page based on the level of user experience using a new set of metrics known as Core Web Vitals. This places more emphasis than ever on having a fast-loading, secure and mobile-friendly website.
The Page Experience update has now begun rolling out as of June 2021 and is expected to be completed by the end of August with the update gradually rolling out to all users globally.
What are Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals are user-centred metrics that give scores on aspects of your pages based on specific criteria and are a key component of the Page Experience update, to go into more detail on these criteria some examples are given below:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This metric measures how long it takes for the content of a page to load. It does this by reporting the render time of the most significant content element visible, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
- First Input Delay (FID): This measures your site’s interactivity and responsiveness. A good example of this is measuring the time taken from when a user clicks on a link to when the browser is able to respond to the interaction. To provide a good user experience, sites should have an FID of fewer than 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This metric assists you in understanding how often unexpected shifts in the content of a page occur within a page. For example, text or buttons jumping without warning.
- The use of HTTPS: Ensure your website is served over the HTTPS protocol, to check if your website’s connection is secure, open your web page in Google’s Chrome browser and look to the left of the address bar, if an SSL certificate is installed, you will see a padlock icon.
Google has detailed developer documentation on the page experience criteria if you wish to explore further.
To gain a better understanding of how this affects your website, you can put it through the Google PageSpeed Insights tool to see how it measures up and what improvements need to be made to gain a better score on desktop and mobile devices.
Content is still king
Google has stated that great quality content will still rank highly in search results even if the page has a poor user experience. However, in instances where there are a number of pages that have similar content, page experience becomes more important for visibility in search.
Optimising your website for the Core Web Vitals criteria will ensure a fast, secure and intuitive user experience which could improve engagement and conversion rates on your website, so this new update by Google makes logical sense. Now is the time to start planning for the introduction of this new ranking algorithm, as website and SEO specialists we are ready and waiting to help you achieve optimal user experience and ensure its suitably prepared and well-positioned for when May 2021 comes around. For more information on preparing your website for the Page Experience update please feel free to get in touch with us.