Google is notoriously known for keeping SEO specialists and marketers on their toes. For instance, the Hummingbird update, which was announced in 2013 but introduced in 2017, was a fundamental change that left everyone scrambling to relearn the basics of how to do SEO. The implementation of this updated algorithm-based search platform was a clear indication that Google was on its way to make the internet user-friendly.
The latest Google Core Vitals update is yet another step in this direction. With this major change scheduled for a May 2021 release, it’s best to learn about it to stay ahead of the curve. On that note, let’s look at what the Vitals mean to your website and how you can adapt to it.
How SEO Works
Without going extensively into the details, let’s refresh our memory on what is SEO and how it works.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO), involves the process of optimising a website’s visibility on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Webmasters typically carry out on-page and off-page optimisations to make websites more searchable, friendly, and trustworthy for users and search engines.
Search engines deploy bots, known as search engine crawlers, which crawls on a website to assess its parameters. The better your website performs, the better the chances for it to rank higher on SERPs.
What are Google’s Core Vitals— and why are they important?
Core Vitals are a predefined set of factors that Google considers crucial for maintaining a satisfying viewing experience. The current version primarily focuses on three metrics (more on this in the next section), namely:
- Largest Contentful Paint
- First Input Delay
- Cumulative Layout Shift
A glance through these factors signifies that on-page experience is becoming a vital metric in improving website performance. Adhering to these standards can help land a sweet spot on the SERPs!
Furthermore, judging by the name and Google’s announcement, it’s apparent that Core Vitals are set to become formidable ranking factors in the years to come.
What are the Key Metrics of Core Vitals?
Google currently cites approximately 200 factors that impact site ranking. Some of the page experience metrics in the list include:
- Offering a safe browsing experience
- Presenting the page through HTTPS
- Elimination of interstitial or intrusive pop-ups
Core Vitals metrics will also feature prominently in the score. Let’s first take a look at LCP or Largest Contentful Paint.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
Largest Contentful Paint, or LCP, is your page loading performance. However, it’s not the same as the actual loading speed of your website.
In fact, it is a perceived entity that answers this question: How many seconds does it take for your website to display relevant sections to visitors?
By making valuable content readily available and accessible, Google aims to bring down the bounce rates.
First Input Delay (FID)
First Input Delay, or FID, refers to the responsiveness of your website. It’s the time elapsed between the user’s first interaction with the webpage and the browser’s response to it.
For instance, if the viewer clicks on a link or a CTA, Google inspects how long does it take for the website to comprehend the response and initiate the next course of action.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is the frequency at which any dynamic element changes your website’s layout and visual stability.
It primarily deals with the intrusive components, such as ads, buttons, or video pop-ups that change the layout of the website, causing viewers to get frustrated. Webmasters will have to focus on bringing it down to zero.
How to do SEO with Google Core Vitals?
If your website is user-friendly and offers a seamless on-page experience, you won’t have to implement any ground-shattering changes. After all, those are exactly what Google aims to achieve in the first place!
Regardless, you can take a few initiatives to make your website more compliant with Google’s demands. These are the following:
- Place most of the information above the fold and prioritise its display to take place within 2.5 seconds.
- Maintain a short and clean code.
- If your website is content-rich, post a TLDR in the first frame.
- Take advantage of lazy loading.
- Get rid of any third-party scripts that slow down your website since it impacts all the three Google Core Vitals.
- Improve site responsiveness with the help of a browser cache.
- Keep a designated space for ads so that they don’t interact with site elements.
Optimise Your Core Web Vitals
Google’s Core Vitals may bring about an anticipated overhaul in web development, content management, and search engine optimisation processes. However, you don’t have to struggle with it all by yourself. Let experts take charge in optimising your website for Google’s Core Web Vitals— and slowly climb to the top of SERPs!