Every website wants to ensure they are running as smoothly and quickly as possible. Core Web Vitals are a set of factors that influence the user and Google Page Experience. They play a big role in improving on page SEO and technical SEO. In case you aren’t privy to them, or want a refresher on the value they can bring to your website, read on for all you need to know- including an update set to launch next month!

What are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are a set of specific factors that Google considers important in a webpage’s overall user experience. The Core Web Vitals Algorithm Update began to roll out in mid-June 2021, as part of Google’s Page Experience update. The full rollout was completed by the end of August 2021. Introduced by Google as part of their Web Vitals initiative, these metrics are part of their ranking criteria and focus on three main aspects: loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of a page.

These metrics are crucial for website owners because they directly impact user experience, influencing visitor satisfaction and engagement, which in turn affects SEO rankings and online success.

What are the 3 Core Web Vitals?

So, what exactly are the 3 core web vitals needed for webpages to ensure an excellent user experience? They are:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): Measures loading performance, specifically how long it takes for the largest content element (like an image or text block) to load on the screen.

For example, say there is a web page with a large hero image at the top. The LCP would measure how long it takes for this image to fully load and become visible to the user. A good user experience would mean the image loads quickly, therefore allowing for a fast LCP.

  • First Input Delay (FID): Assesses interactivity by measuring the time from when a user first interacts with your page (like clicking a link or button) to the time the browser responds to that interaction.
    Consider a user clicking a “Sign Up” button on your homepage. If there’s a delay before the browser starts processing the request, the FID would be high, indicating poorer responsiveness.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Evaluates visual stability by quantifying how much visible content shifts during the loading process.

An example of this would be if a user was reading an article, and suddenly an advertisement loads above the text, pushing the content down unexpectedly. A high CLS score would indicate such shifts are frequent or significant, lowering the user’s experience.

How Core Web Vitals Boost Page Experience?

Core Web Vitals play a crucial role in boosting Page Experience by enhancing the usability and overall satisfaction of users on a website. A quicker loading time (LCP) reduces bounce rates and encourages user engagement, as visitors are more likely to stay on a page that loads efficiently. Improved interactivity (FID) ensures that users can interact with the page without frustrating delays, enhancing the user experience and potentially increasing conversions. Lastly, a stable and consistent layout (CLS) provides a more comfortable reading and browsing experience, preventing the annoyance of unexpected layout shifts. Together, these factors contribute to a smoother, more enjoyable user experience, ultimately leading to better SEO performance and user retention.

What is the difference between Core Web Vitals and Page Experience?

Core Web vitals specifically refer to the three criteria outlined above: Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay and Cumulative Layout Shift.

Page Experience, on the other hand, is a broader Google ranking factor that encompasses Core Web Vitals along with other user experience criteria like mobile friendliness, safe browsing and HTTPS-security to name a few.

To summarise, core web vitals are three criteria that fall under the overall page experience.

New Core Web Vitals Metric Coming: Interaction To Next Paint

What is to come in the world of core web vitals? The latest core web vitals algorithm update will see the First Input Delay vital replaced in March 2024 by the new metric, Interaction to Next Paint (INP).

To refresh, First Input Delay measures the time it takes for the browser to be able to process a user interaction. However, it only measures the delay, the time it takes before an interactive element becomes responsive.

INP, on the other hand, measures the entire responsiveness of a page, not just the delay. Google explains ‘rather than only measuring the delay portion, INP measures the full duration from the start of the interaction, through the event handler, and until the browser is able to paint the next frame.’

INP is a more all-encompassing replacement of the FID metric, allowing a more fuller picture of the Core Web Vitals criteria.

Core Web Vitals Page Experience for a High Ranking Website

Core Web Vitals are imperative for ranking well on Google Search Engines. The three criteria ensure a seamless user experience and will build trust within your customer base. With Interaction to Next Paint launching as a criteria in March, it’s time to get familiarised with the criteria to stay ahead of the curve.