Before we dive in, here is a quick summary of everything you absolutely need to know right now.
- The Core Web Vitals update began around mid-June and the full roll-out is expected, around the end of August.
- The update focuses on User Experience and introduces Core Web Vitals to the Google Algorithm.
- Passing Core Web Vitals is one of hundreds of ranking factors, and likely won't be one that heavily weighted (yet).
- Core Web Vitals will get more important over time, but for now, serves as a tiebreaker
What are Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals are a set of real-world user-centred experience metrics used to measure how a user will experience your webpage. Alongside mobile optimisation, safe browsing, HTTPS, and not using interstitial pop-ups, Core Web Vitals will be joining a group of metrics that Google calls Page Experience signals.
Core Web Vitals are three specific page speed and user interactions methods that Google considers necessary for user experience. These three metrics are:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
- First Input Delay (FID)
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
These three metrics answer the questions Google will ask when determining how user-friendly any given webpage is. How fast does a page load, how quickly is the page interactive, and how stable is the page? Read our blog on Core Web Vitals if you want a more detailed explanation.
Okay, so maybe it won’t affect your site. No one knows the google algorithm, anyway, right?
Here is the thing. If you are paying for Google Ads anyway, yes, your website won’t be affected in rankings. However, this doesn’t spill over to organic search.
We suspect that Core Web Vitals will only form about 5% of the Google Algorithm. We aren’t sure. No one is as per the point above (no one knows the Google Algorithm).
Well then, why is there such a big push for Core Web Vitals and site speed if it’s only supposedly 5% of the algorithm and it won’t affect rankings for paid for advertising anyway?
What you need to take into consideration is, by doing Core Web Vitals and improving the Site Speed on your website, it means that from the moment the user lands on your page all the way to check out, the speed at which the user can navigate your site, is reduced. This is driven by data. If a user can land on your site and get to the checkout faster, this will increase conversion.
Read this case study here if you need more convincing.
Here at Blend, our technical developers run extensive tests at various times of the day in order to get an average baseline, then run these tests before and after improvements have been implemented. Even after all this, the metrics of your site look the same? So why bother?
Well, here’s why, while the metrics don’t look highly improved, what you need to remember is that from a raw data point of view, the Home Page might take 3 seconds to load. But once your website is loaded, this will be cached which means that the Product Page may now take 0.5 seconds to load. This won’t be reflected by running these tests. And ultimately, if you can speed up the user's journey through your site, you’re going to increase conversion.
Which is ultimately what Core Web Vitals is all about - The Experience. Prioritizing the experience your users have on your page may not suddenly push you to page one. But your customers and users will have a better user experience on your page thereby making conversions both easier, and more likely.
So while we focus on site speed scores, it’s always important to keep in mind that the ultimate metric we are trying to improve on is in fact Conversion.