Google

Why Worry About Core Web Vitals?

Sep 7, 2021

The mantra of marketers for years was "content is king." However, in this age of "crowd shaping," getting a company's message out means amending that adage to "the audience is king." So today, one of the trends directing successful modern digital marketing campaigns is to give the user the best possible experience.  

User experience is complicated to quantify. Researchers typically relied on subjective opinion surveys to rate experience but often lacked a standardized way to quantify mathematically intangible customer impressions with website interactions.

To help remedy this shortcoming, Google announced the Core Web Vitals, part of the Web Vitals initiative, to aid website managers in optimizing user experience by giving them the desirable metrics of three separate areas: loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability.

Google's stated intention is to focus on search engine ranking algorithms that favor sites with the best user experience ratings. Of course, great content will still matter, but Google's new system factors how websites meet audience expectations for performance and interaction norms.

What Do These Metrics Mean?

Each aspect's metric provides a fascinating insight into one area of page performance. However, when marketers combine all three, they gain invaluable knowledge about how site users perceive their value based on web interactions.

This more profound understanding of audience expectations provides a clear path for knowing how to improve Core Web Vitals to boost customer retention and conversion rates.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP):

LCP measures the time to show the most important content above the fold on the screen. Thus, the metric captures the time required for content immediately relevant to the user to be ready for interaction.

Google believes this specific metric reflects a level of user satisfaction with loading speed. A "Good" LCP is less than 2.5 seconds. Above 4 seconds is utterly unacceptable performance.

The following elements factor into the LCP:

  • Text elements
  • Images
  • Image tags
  • Background images with CSS
  • Video thumbnails

First Input Delay (FID):

FID helps measure the user's impression of a site's responsiveness by quantifying the delay in response time for the first time a user performs a specific action on a website. Then, the metric assigns a value for a positive user impression of interactivity based on how long the user must wait for a response.

On average, anything over 300ms garners a poor performance rating. The desirable time is less than 100ms, which gives users a sense of immediate acknowledgment.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS):

CLS marks the visual stability of elements loaded by a website. Excessively shifting elements distract the user from the content and degrade the overall page experience.

When a visible page element changes position during a frame render, a layout shift occurs. A CLS score of less than 0.1 puts the usability factor of the sire within the acceptable range. A score over 0.25 can mean users are leaving the site because of unexpected shifting of elements on the page.

Tweaks To Improve Core Web Vitals

The Core Web Vitals scores help guide activities to enhance the overall experience of users on the Web. Here are a few areas to approach when attempting to improve scores:

  • Pre-determine the height and width of ads and banners to avoid excessive page layout shifts when loading.
  • Practice font management techniques and limit the number of custom fonts on the site. Preload fonts to reduce load times.
  • Be mindful that large external linked pages like CSS and Javascript can slow load times.
  • Linking videos to a third-party hosting site can reduce site bandwidth and required load times.
  • Compress large photos on the page and make sure all images are optimized for screen resolution.

Ways To Measure Core Web Vitals

Leading developer tools contain modules that measure Core Web Vitals. These tools provide scores to indicate how a user will experience a website and offer suggestions for improvement. The following are some of the leading developer tools offering Core Web Vital measurements.

  • Chrome DevTools
  • Web Vitals Extension
  • PageSpeed Insights
  • Search Console
  • Chrome UX Report
  • Lighthouse

Paths To Understanding

Google's update to focus on user experience is challenging for marketers and developers vying for page ranking. However, these steps will ultimately help to ensure that users can find what they need and are satisfied with their online shopping experience.

Developing a resilient marketing strategy in today's environment is pre-eminent. However, staying ahead of the curve is sometimes challenging, especially with changes occurring in Google's philosophy about what constitutes a decent page ranking.

The experts at ScaledOn use their talents to help companies achieve their online marketing goals in the ever-changing digital landscape. So get started today exploring their full range of digital marketing services.

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