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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.

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.

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:

  • 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

image1

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: June 18, 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 Search Console reports with # signs in them are not related to canonicalization in Google Search, it is related to Google Sitelinks. Bing Webmaster Tools can show clickthrough rates of over 100%, no joke. Google is testing black sitelinks. Google Maps added an edit and post button to the main buttons for Google Business Profiles. And no, Google Search does not always show the original source in its search results.


Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Google: #s In Google Search Console Reports Are Unrelated To Canonicalization


    There is a lot of talk in the wider SEO community around pound signs, #, in the Google Search Console reports, meaning something about canonicalization. John Mueller from Google, along with a number of SEOs, said it has nothing to do with canonicalization. Instead, it has to do with Google tracking on-page sitelinks from the Google Search results.

  • Google: Our Search Results Do Not Always Show Original Source


    Google’s John Mueller said in the last SEO Google Office Hours video that Google’s “search results are not an indication of what Google’s systems consider to be the original source.” This means that just because Google ranks a piece of content, it does not necessarily mean that the content is the original source.



  • Bing Webmaster Tools Clickthrough Rate Over 100%


    Did you ever sort the Bing Webmaster Tools clickthrough-rate column from highest to lowest and notice that you can see a CTR higher than 100%, I even see 300%. Well, Fabrice Canel from Microsoft said this is possible when a searcher clicks on your listing more than once from the same search result set.


  • Google Maps Adds Edit & Post Button To Business Profile Listing


    Google has added an “edit” and “post” button more prominently as big buttons to Google Business Profiles within the Google Maps interface. Previously, these buttons were not as accessible in the Google Maps interface.

  • Google Search Tests Black Sitelinks


    Google is testing another variation of its sitelinks design, this one uses black font colors for the sitelinks. Of course, Google generally uses blue for those links, because links are generally in blue underlined font.



  • Google Japan Zashiki Seating


    Daniel Waisberg was at the Google Japan office and he snapped some photos, shared them on LinkedIn. Here is one of one of the cafe areas that has the Japanese floor seating, also called Zashiki /Tatami seating.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

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: June 17, 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.


We had another possible Google search ranking update this weekend. Google Ads is forcing some advertisers off credit card payments. Apple updated its Applebot documentation in a big way. Google Maps updated its fake engagement policy. Google updated its hreflang documentation. Google Ads now allows for some opioid painkiller ads. And a special piece from Glenn Gabe on tracking AI Overviews in Google Search Console – well, kinda.


Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Google Father’s Day Weekend Search Ranking Volatility


    Happy Father’s Day – it looks like we are seeing some pretty significant ranking fluctuations and volatility within the Google Search results over the past day or so. Yep, yet another big Google weekend update of sorts – of course – not confirmed by Google.

  • The Maddening Adventure Of Tracking AI Overviews In Google Search Console




    Google launched AI overviews in the SERPs in the United States officially on May 14th at I/O. This follows the launch of Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) in May of 2023…



  • Google Ads Forcing Some Advertisers Off Credit Card Payments


    Google Ads is forcing many of its advertisers off the credit card option for paying for their ad accounts and onto bank-based payment methods, such as ACH, wire, or paper check. If you do not comply by July 31, 2024, your account can be suspended.



  • Apple Updates Applebot Docs With Applebot-Extended, Reverse DNS & More


    Apple has made some really big changes to the Applebot documentation after the Apple WWDC event, where Apple announced Apple Intelligence. Apple added more about Applebot, reverse DNS details, Applebot-Extended and much more.



  • Google Maps Updates Fake Engagement Policy With More Detail


    Google has updated its Google Maps contributor fake engagement policy to flesh out in more detail how the policy works. The new text is like 40% longer and seems to have received a nice refresh.



  • Google Updates hreflang Documentation While I Was Offline


    Google has tweaked its hreflang search developer documentation to clarify that link tags for denoting alternate versions of a page must not be combined in a single link tag. Google said it wanted to document this “quirk” in its documentation.



  • Google Now Allow Some Opioid Painkillers Ads


    Google Ads will update its Healthcare and medicines policy this month to allow advertisers to discuss opioid painkillers without promoting or selling them. The example given is that you can have ads to discuss public policy solutions for opioid painkiller abuse.



  • Googler In Training Jacket


    Here is Mike Ryan’s kid wearing a Googler in Training red rain / wind jacket. He posted about the Google merch a year ago and I guess now his kid is old enough to wear it and shared this photo of his kid wearing it.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

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 Father’s Day Weekend Search Ranking Volatility Update

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Google Fathers Day Doodle

Happy Father’s Day – it looks like we are seeing some pretty significant ranking fluctuations and volatility within the Google Search results over the past day or so. Yep, yet another big Google weekend update of sorts – of course – not confirmed by Google.

I am seeing a huge spike in chatter from SEOs here where these SEOs are seeing big ranking changes for the keywords they track in Google Search. The tools; some of them have never been this heated but most of the tools have not yet picked up on the volatility – I do wonder what they will show tomorrow.

Like I said, yet another weekend update, because we had weekend Google Search ranking updates or volatility over the past several weekends now. We had one last weekend, June 8th. We also had unconfirmed updates on June 5th and then on the weekend, June 1st. That was followed by the Memorial Day weekend, then we had around May 22nd, May 16th, May 9th, May 3rd and April 25th. Before that the March 2024 core update started on March 5th and ended on April 19th, 45 days later.

SEO Chatter

Here is some of the early chatter at WebmasterWorld and comments here:

USA traffic is dying again…last two days way down the entire day, and then suddenly surges at the end of the day to break even. I hardly think that is a real traffic pattern, and the complete lack of any new sales inquiries this week proves it. My last actual sale was three weeks ago. That is impossibly bad…I am beginning to think that everyone has stopped spending completely in expectation of a recession. Are people seeing a decline in sales from other (non-Google) channels? I don’t sell via amazon and other sources.

I’m seeing more and more sites that are stopping or being updated very rarely than before. Some have been abandoned for months now. The once precise SERPs are now replaced with sites with the most generic results possible and with forums everywhere or short superficial guides written by brands. I’ve noticed that Bing is also going the Google route, I’ve done some searches with completely wrong results. I don’t know what’s going on, but it looks like there’s an intention to destroy the web.

Something has definitely happened in the past 24 hours.

More rank drops.

Seems like Google is going for the kill.

+Traffic drop…Unimaginable Traffic drop…expected it to hit 0 within a week but it seems max 3-4 days is enough for that.

So again I’m seeing garbage in Google search results.

Paid for articles on major news site ranking on top, then some more high DR sites abusing the high DR only to rank high, then sites that don’t load at all, sites that don’t have the product listed at all, ..ebay, amazon.. an that on top of 4 ADS at the beginning.

Same in almost every niche

Added spam links in my niche

are you all ready for a big shuffle for Father’s day? Seems Google has already started it in my niche. We had a few quiet days.

massive drop infact…im disheartened that traffic will touch 0 in 5-6 days…im not sure whether there r others like me who r experiencing such massive traffic drops approx 50-100 daily traffic drop

I think it is super early but I suspect a lot of the tools to match with this chatter tomorrow – I guess…

Google Tracking Tools

Some of these tools, like Accuranker, have not been this heated in a very long time. Some tools are still not showing the volatility yet but maybe they will tomorrow?

Accuranker:

Accuranker

Algoroo:

Algoroo

Semrush:

Semrush

SimilarWeb:

Similarweb

Advanced Web Rankings:

Advancedwebranking

Mozcast:

Mozcast

SERPmetrics:

Serpmetrics

Mangools:

Mangools

Wincher:

Wincher

SERPstat:

Serpstat

Cognitive SEO:

Cognitiveseo

I’ll try to come back later today and tomorrow to update these screenshots with more recent data.

What are you all noticing over the Father’s Day weekend?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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