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What are Core Web Vitals and Why You Should Care?

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When it comes to optimizing your website, you do so for various reasons. It’s important that your site is set up to generate leads, optimized for SEO, encourages more email subscribers so you can grow your email list, and that it provides an optimal user experience.

You may not have heard of it before, but Core Web Vitals are especially important for increasing the experience of your users. Let’s dive into what Core Web Vitals are and what you can do to make sure your website has good Core Web Vitals.

What are Core Web Vitals

Web Vitals is an initiative by Google on how to provide a great user experience (UX) for the web. Core Web Vitals, a subset of Web Vitals, helps you to judge your website’s UX against a distinct set of UX metrics.

Google intends to evolve Core Web Vitals over time. However, as of 2021, the current set of Core Web Vitals focuses on the following three areas of UX: loading, interactivity, and visual stability.

These three areas are measured as Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).

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Why Core Web Vitals Are Important

In May 2020, Google announced that Core Web Vitals would be incorporated into Google’s Search Ranking Signals. What that means is your website’s Core Web Vitals will influence how well your website ranks in Google Search, along with many other ranking factors.

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Google began introducing Core Web Vitals to Google Search in June 2021 and is scheduled to be completed by the end of August 2021.

Since 2015, Google has been increasing the importance of good website UX as a Search Ranking Signal. This puts more emphasis on website owners to ensure their website UX is excellent if they want to be rewarded with good Google search rankings.

How Can I Tell if My Website Has Good Web Vitals

Unlike most of the other Search Ranking Signals, Google has made it easy to know if your website has good or bad Core Web Vitals.

To get a quick overview of your website’s Core Web Vitals, you can use either Google PageSpeed or Google Lighthouse.

For a fast and simplified overview of your website’s Core Web Vitals, enter your website URL into Google PageSpeed and hit the Analyze button.

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To check your website’s Core Web Vitals as well as other user-experience metrics, you can run a Google Lighthouse audit from within Chrome DevTools.

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Although there are other ways to check your website’s Core Web Vitals, these two tools use field data wherever possible as opposed to lab data. Field data means data collected from real-life users that have visited your website in the past. Lab data means simulated data based on averages collected from other websites.

Google recommends using field data over lab data when testing a live website’s vitals as field data is more closer to what an actual website user would experience in the real world.

What Can I Do to Make Sure my Website has Good Web Vitals?

Ensuring your website is golden when it comes to Good Web Vitals isn’t necessarily a quick SEO tactic you can implement in just 15 minutes. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing.

Fortunately, Google has outlined what metrics you should aim for if you want to have good Core Web Vitals. They are as follows:

  • Largest Contentful Paint: within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
  • First Input Delay: 100 milliseconds or less.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift: 0.1. or less.

If your website’s Core Web Vitals are not within the thresholds outlined above, the next section will tell you how you can improve them.

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Improving Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

The time it takes for a browser to receive content from your server can have an adverse effect on how quickly your website appears on the screen. A faster server response time improves page-load metrics, including LCP and time to first byte (TTFB). You can improve your TTFB by:

  • Cleaning up your server and ensuring it has enough resources
  • Implementing a content delivery network (CDN)
  • Ensuring all static website files such as CSS and JavaScript are cached
  • Making sure HTML pages are served cache-first
  • Establishing third-party connections early
  • Using signed exchanges (SXGs) wherever possible

Unoptimized WordPress websites are notorious for having poor LCP/TTFB metrics. That’s why investing in a high-performance WordPress hosting server is important if you want to achieve the best Core Web Vitals scores.

Another area that can drastically improve your LCP is optimizing the way your website loads static JavaScript and CSS files. Here are a few ways you can optimize your website CSS and JS file handling:

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  • Reduce/remove render-blocking JS and CSS
  • Compress and minify JS and CSS
  • Defer non-critical JS and CSS while making critical JS and CSS inline

Aside from CSS and JavaScript, your website assets (images, videos, and fonts, etc.) could be hurting your LCP. Here are a few ways to minimize the impact your website assets has on your LCP:

  • Remove unnecessary images
  • Optimize and compress all images
  • Use modern image formats such as JPEG 2000, JPEG XR, or WebP
  • Lazy-load website assets and consider using an image CDN
  • Preload any custom web fonts and use the WOFF2 format
  • Ensure GZIP is enabled on your web server or CDN

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Improving First Input Delay (FID)

FID measures the time from when a user first interacts with your web page to the point where they can actually respond. A real-life human interaction would be necessary in order to measure this response delay. That means lab tests will not work to simulate FID. If you are unable to test your website with field data, total blocking time (TFT) can be used as a fallback metric. Here are a few ways to improve your website FID and TFT metrics:

  • Remove or reduce unnecessary JavaScript
  • Break up long tasks into smaller asynchronous tasks
  • Optimize your web page for interaction readiness
  • Reduce reliance on cascading fetches and third-party JavaScripts
  • Consider on-demand loading for critical third-party JavaScript
  • Use a web worker for non-UI operations
  • Reduce JavaScript execution time by deferring unused JS
  • Minimize unused polyfills

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Improving Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Have you ever gone to click a website button only for it to shift its position when the page finally loads? That’s an example of a website with poor CLS. The CLS metric measures how unstable your website layout is by summing up layout shifts that happen without user input. It also looks at how much visible content has shifted in view as well as the distance it shifted by. If your website has poor CLS, here are a few ways to improve it:

  • Always include width and height size attributes on your website images and videos
  • If your website has banner ads, statically reserve a space for the ad slots
  • Avoid placing non-sticky ads at the top of the viewport
  • Use a placeholder or fallback to reserve the space for iframes and embeds
  • Avoid pop-ups that shift the layout of your web pages when they are still loading
  • Avoid using animations that shift your website layout
  • Use the CSS transform attribute over attributes that can cause layout shifts such as box-shadow and box-sizing

Wrapping Up

Website optimization is crucial for success. Your site plays a key role in growing your email list and getting you new leads to engage with. It needs to be built successfully so it leaves an impression and delights your users.

Improving your Core Web Vitals will not only help improve your user experience but also your website’s ability to rank well in Google search.

Author:
James, Founder of jamesbanks.co, teaches entrepreneurs how to start and scale online businesses with search engine marketing. His content stems from growing over a thousand businesses over the last decade as a digital marketing consultant and agency co-owner.

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Daily Search Forum Recap: February 27, 2024

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


Google’s local pack dropped the ability to see more results, for 16+ hours. Google Search’s travel/hotel listings are being hijacked in the EU regions. Google Analytics 4 now has a new default Google Ads report. Google Ads now color codes the limited by budget status. Microsoft wanted to sell Bing Search to Apple but Apple said it had quality issues, Google said.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Google Drops Link To See More Local Results From Search Results


    Google has dropped the “more places,” “view all” and links to see more local results from the local pack, the places box, in the Google Search results. This happened last night around 5 pm ET, and I thought it was a bug, but so far, Google has not yet fixed the issue.

  • Google Europe Search Hijacking Bug With TripAdvisor, Booking, Hotel.com & More


    Google Search may have a bug in the European regions with hotel listings being hijacked by spammy sites. Google will show TripAdvisor, Hotels.com, Booking.com and other legit sites in its search results but when you click on those listings, you’re taken to a different site, a spammy site.


  • Report: Microsoft Tried Selling Bing To Apple But Search Quality Issues Held It Back


    According to a court filing by Google, Microsoft tried to sell Bing, its search engine, to Apple but Apple did not want it because of search quality issues and lack of investment. Plus, Microsoft pitched Apple to make Bing the default search engine but that was rejected as well.

  • Google Analytics Adds New Default Google Ads Report


    Google Analytics seems to have added a new default Google Ads report to the performance reporting section. This is if you have linked your Google Analytics 4 profile with your Google Ads account.

  • Google Ads Limited By Budget Status Now Color Coded


    Google Ads now will use colors, like yellow and red background highlights, for the “limited by budget” status column. I assume a yellow indicator color is not as limited as a red indicator color.


  • Google Photos Sprinkle Waffle


    Here is an old photo I just recently found on Instagram but is from way back in 2015. It is of a fancy looking waffle in a Google Photos box, it looks delicious but by now I am sure it is pretty hard to eat.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

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Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, on Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky and you can follow us on Facebook and on Google News and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.

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Daily Search Forum Recap: February 26, 2024

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


This weekend we had massive Google ranking volatility reported by the third-party tools but chatter was not that high. Google Analytics has a Polish referral spam problem. Google Ads updated is change history page for some. Google Search is testing a “most-read articles” carousel. Google reviews has this “beta questions” section, do you know what it is. Will Google make a content deal with Quora next, some signs lead to that.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Massive Volatility Reported – Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update?


    I am seeing some massive volatility being reported today after seeing a spike in chatter within the SEO community on Friday. I have not seen the third-party Google tracking tools show this much volatility in a long time. I will say, the tracking tools are way more heated than the chatter I am seeing, so something might be off here.

  • Google Analytics Referral Spam From Poland – Complaints


    There is a large thread in the Google Analytics help forum with complaints from site owners of being flooded with fake referral traffic originating from Poland. This seems to be the typical referral spam issue and it started around February 17th or so.

  • Google Ads Tests New Change History Page


    Google Ads is testing a new change history page that shows more details on the changes made to your ads and campaigns. It now documents the change overview by user and by performance as a toggle.

  • Google Most-Read Articles Search Carousel


    Google Search is testing a new carousel named “Most-read articles.” I guess Google is using click data to see which articles are being read the most. Or maybe Chrome or Google Analytics data? Maybe?

  • Google Reviews Disclaimer For Beta Questions


    Now when leaving a review on a business within the Google local and maps results, the disclaimer has a notice about “beta questions.” It reads, “For beta questions, your answers may not be displayed publicly during the experiment and may only be visible to you and/or others participating in the experiment. We may delete answers after the experiment.”

  • Google To Make A Content Deal With Quora Next?


    Last week, Google revealed it signed a deal with Reddit to access its content using an API so it can get the content faster and in a structured format. This deal costs Google $60 million annually. There is now speculation that Google might make a similar deal with Quora.

  • Concrete Steel Plant At Google


    Here is an interesting plant that is at the Google Kirkland, Seattle office. It is a concrete, steel ball with a plant embedded within it. I wonder how that works.



Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Advertisement

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, on Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky and you can follow us on Facebook and on Google News and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.

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Google Helpful Content System, Reddit’s Google Deal, Product Variant Schema, Google Ads, Bing Search & Search Volume Predictions

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Google Helpful Content System, Reddit’s Google Deal, Product Variant Schema, Google Ads, Bing Search & Search Volume Predictions

Google spoke more about the time it takes to recover from a helpful content update and then said it is up to you to decide ice what old content is helpful or not. Google said it wants to reward the best content no matter the site size. Meanwhile, Google will now pay Reddit $60 million annually for faster access to that content – I am not kidding. Google Search now supports new product variant structured data. Google said many of those using the Indexing API wrong are spammy and low-quality sites. Google has a but with negative search operators in shopping. Google’s Shop with AI seems live. Google Ad Strength formula to weight assets quantity and variety more with AI expansions. Google Merchant Center updated how it estimates delivery times. Google Merchant Center now requires images made with AI to be labeled as such. Google is pushing Google Ads ads in Gmail. Google Ads prohibits using famous people or companies to entice people to part ways with money or information. Google Ads API version 16 is out. Google Search is testing a new search bar design. Google Search is testing having forums in the search bar filters. Google is testing fading in the search result text. Bing Search has sub and expandable sitelinks. Bing is testing a next page and refresh page button for pagination. Google local packs tests showing pricing. Gartner predicts search volume will drop 25% by 2026, and only 20% of SEOs think search volume won’t change. And if you want to help sponsor those vlogs, go to patreon.com/barryschwartz. That was the search news this week at the Search Engine Roundtable.

SPONSOR: This week’s video recap is sponsored by Duda, the Professional Website Builder You Can Call Your Own. Also, here is the charity event.

Make sure to subscribe to our video feed or subscribe directly on iTunes, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or your favorite podcast player to be notified of these updates and download the video in the background. Here is the YouTube version of the feed For the original iTunes version, click here.

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