Core web vitals are factors that Google considers when ranking your website in search engine results pages. In this post, we’ll cover what they are and how you can improve them.
Improving your core web vitals will help you rank higher in SERPs, providing a better user experience, more visibility for your website, and driving more traffic to your site.
- What Are Core Web Vitals?
- Why Are Core Web Vitals Important?
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
- First Input Delay (FID)
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
- Checking Core Web Vitals in Search Console
- How Can You Improve Core Web Vitals?
- Core Web Vitals FAQs
What Are Core Web Vitals?
Improving them will help you rank higher in SERPs, providing more visibility for your website and driving more traffic to your site.
There are three core web vitals:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This measures how long it takes for the largest element on your page to load. The ideal LCP is under two seconds.
- First Input Delay (FID): This measures how long it takes for your page to become interactive. The ideal FID is under 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This measures how much your page layout shifts during loading. The ideal CLS is less than 0.01.
Why Are Core Web Vitals Important?
If you want to learn SEO, you don’t need to focus just on link building or keyword research, but you should also pay attention to technical SEO (crawl budget, website architecture, duplicate content, HTTP status codes, robot.txt file, etc) and user experience too.
Page experience consists of a group of signals that measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page.
These signals include core web vitals, as well as other factors such as:
Google has said that core web vitals became a ranking factor in SERPs in May 2021. This means that if your website has poor core web vitals, you may struggle in ranking well.
Additionally, it may lead to a bad user experience on your website. If visitors have to wait too long for your page to load, they may become frustrated and leave.
Google wants users to have a good experience on your website no matter what device they’re using. That’s why mobile-friendliness is one of the factors in core web vitals.
If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you may see a drop in your rankings. To improve your pages, you need to make sure your website is responsive and works well on all devices.
You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to see how your website scores.
Google wants users to be safe when they’re browsing the web. That’s why safe browsing is another factor in core web vitals.
If your website is flagged as unsafe, you may see a drop in your rankings. Basically, you don’t want your site to get malware.
There are a few things you can do to make sure your website is safe:
- Use secure connections (HTTPS)
- Keep your software up to date
- Don’t share personal information
To learn more about how to keep your website safe, check out Google’s Search Central documentation.
Google wants users to be safe when they’re browsing the web. That’s why using a secure connection (HTTPS) is another factor in core web vitals.
If your website doesn’t use a secure connection, you may see a drop in your rankings.
To learn more about how to use a secure connection on your website, check out Google’s Webmaster Help post.
No Intrusive Interstitials
Google wants users to have a good experience on your website. That’s why having “no intrusive interstitials” is another factor in core web vitals.
An intrusive interstitial is a popup that blocks the user’s view of the content on your page. If you have intrusive ads on your website, for example, you may see a drop in your rankings.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
LCP refers to how long your page takes to load from a user’s point of view.
To improve your LCP, you need to make sure your website loads quickly. You can use the Lighthouse tool to see how your website scores. The Chrome DevTools has complete documentation here on how to run a core web vitals audit on your site, using Lighthouse.
You can also use Google PageSpeed Insights or other tools like GTMetrix.
All these tools will give you useful insights on how to improve the core web vitals of your site.
Now, Google says that you should aim at loading your LCP below 2,5 seconds:
So, for example, I did an audit of my featured snippets article. The results were pretty good:
And my LCP score was 708 ms (which is 0,7 seconds). Not too shabby!
First Input Delay (FID)
FID measures the user interactivity with your site.
For example, when visitors have to:
- Choose an option from the menu
- Enter data into a field
- Click on a link on your site navigation area
It’s basically the first impression of your web pages, based on the user’s point of view.
A good FID score, according to Google, is below 100 ms:
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
CLS measures how much your web page layout moves around while it’s loading.
Here’s an example of an unstable element:
Basically, you want your page elements to stay as stable as possible while they are loading.
A good CLS score, according to Google, is below 0,1:
Therefore, digging into the performance tab of the test I did earlier on my page, I could verify the CLS score of my page:
It was 0.09, so below 0,1 (which is good).
Checking Core Web Vitals in Search Console
Once Google has enough data about your web pages, you can check your core web vitals in your Search Console.
To do this, go to your Search Console and select the property you want to check. Then, click on “Experience” and “Core Web Vitals.”
The data comes from the Chrome user experience report.
Here, you’ll see a list of your pages and their core web vitals scores.
And you can use this information to improve your pages.
How Can You Improve Core Web Vitals?
There are a few ways you can improve the user experience on your website:
- Optimize your images
- Use a content delivery network (CDN)
- Improve your server response time
Optimize Your Images
Images can take up a lot of space on your website. If they’re not optimized, they can slow down your page loading time.
To optimize your images, you can resize and compress your images, by using image editing software like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP.
If you’re using WordPress, there are also plugins that can help you optimize your images, like Smush and ShortPixel Image Optimizer.
You can do this by:
To minify your CSS, you can use a tool like Minifier.
To combine your CSS files, you can use this resource.
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A content delivery network (CDN) is a network of servers that delivers content to your visitors.
Using a CDN can help improve your page loading time because the content is delivered from a server that’s closer to the visitor’s location.
There are a number of free and paid CDN services, such as Cloudflare, Amazon CloudFront, and StackPath.
Improve Your Server Response Time
Your server response time is the time it takes for your server to respond to a user’s request. To improve your core web vitals, you should try to reduce your server response time.
You can do this by:
- Using a fast web host
- Optimizing your database
- Caching static content
Using a Fast Web Host
Your web host plays a big role in your server response time. If you’re using a slow web host, it can greatly increase your page loading time.
There are a number of fast web hosts, such as WP Engine, Kinsta, and SiteGround.
Optimizing Your Database
Your database stores all the data for your website. If it’s not optimized, it can slow down your server response time.
To optimize your database, you can use a plugin like WP-Optimize.
Caching Static Content
Caching static content means storing a copy of your content on the visitor’s computer so that the next time they visit your website, the content loads faster.
You can cache static content by using a plugin like W3 Total Cache or WP Rocket.
Core Web Vitals FAQs
Q: How do I pass the Core Web Vitals assessment?
Q: What happens if you fail Core Web Vitals?
A: If you fail the Core Web Vitals assessment, your website’s search engine ranking may be negatively impacted. It’s important to optimize your website in order to pass the assessment and maintain a good user experience (which helps with search engine rankings).
Q: Does Google use Core Web Vitals as a ranking factor?
A: Yes, Google is using Core Web Vitals as a ranking factor. This means that websites with good Core Web Vitals scores will have an advantage in search engine rankings compared to websites with poor Core Web Vitals scores.
Q: How do I improve Core Web Vitals in WordPress?
Q: Why Core Web Vitals assessment failed?
A: Your website may have failed the Core Web Vitals assessment if it has a slow page loading time, lacks enough resources to load content quickly, or has unoptimized images. It’s important to optimize your website in order to pass the assessment and maintain a good search engine ranking.
Q: Are FID and FCP the same?
A: No, FID and FCP are not the same. FID stands for First Input Delay, which measures how long it takes for a user to interact with a page after they click on it. FCP stands for First Contentful Paint, which measures how quickly a page can render its content.
Q: What is TTFB?
A: TTFB stands for Time To First Byte, which measures how long it takes for the server to send a response back to the user’s browser after they’ve requested a page. It can have an impact on your Core Web Vitals scores and overall page loading time.
Q: What is CLS?
A: CLS stands for Cumulative Layout Shift, which measures how much page layout shifts around when content is loaded. It can have an impact on your Core Web Vitals scores and overall user experience.
Before You Go
Congratulations on reading so far!
So, Google takes user experience into account when ranking websites.
Why don’t you take the time to learn more about other user experience signals?
Now, it’s over to you.
Have you checked your core web vitals lately?
What steps are you going to take to improve them?
Let me know in the comments below.
And don’t forget to share the post, if you liked it. Thanks!
Winfred Acken says
Thank you so much for this insightful guide.
Erik Emanuelli says
You’re welcome, Winfred.