What are Core Web Vitals and Why Should You Care?


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a laptop with a loading screen

One thing about business is that it’s always changing. E-Commerce and SEO practices are not exempt from changing either. To be successful, you have to stay up to date on current trends and business practices. So what’s a new ranking feature in the world of SEO? Core web vitals.

At Romain Berg, we bring you results, not hype. Let us keep up with SEO trends while you sit back, relax, and reap the rewards. You can fill out our contact form to find out what Romain Berg can do to help you boost your business.

So, What are Core Web Vitals?

a graphic about core web vitals

Core Web Vitals are certain factors that Google considers essential in a webpage’s user experience. These factors are three precise user interactions and page speed measurements that can affect your web page ranking on Google.

The three components of core web vital metrics are first input delay (FID), largest contentful paint (LCP), and cumulative layout shift (CLS).

These factors contribute to a user’s experience on your web page, to put it into the simplest terms. If someone is visiting your website and your core web vitals aren’t up to snuff (combined with other factors), they’re going to have a horrible time.

Nobody wants the customer to have a bad time, especially if that can translate to a sales loss.

FID, LCP, and CLS mesh with existing page experience signals, including HTTPS, safe browsing, mobile-friendliness, and Intrusive Interstitials. Combined with core web vitals, this will create a concoction of page experience that can make or break your users’ experiences.

Google plans on making page experience an official Google ranking factor. So, not only may a sucky webpage make you lose sales, it may even affect if users can find your page at all.

*(As of July 2021, the Core Web Vitls Update is in full effect. Learn more about it from Google here.)

Let’s take a deeper dive into these page experience signals that can make our break your customer’s visit to your website.

First Input Delay

a business woman clicking a button that looks like a hyperlink

FID measures the time from when a visitor first interacts with your website to the time when their browser can respond to that interaction. Interactions include when they click a hyperlink or tap a button on your page. Scrolling and zooming are non-factors when measuring the first input delay.

With FID, users want that instant gratification. If your website takes too long to respond to a command, the visitor will move on to another site. It’s as simple as hitting a back button and revisiting their Google search. The user isn’t going to sit around and twiddle their thumbs while your website slowly takes them where they need to go. They want what they want, and they want it now.

For the best results, keep your FID at 100ms or less.

Currently, FID registers as a field-only metric. A field-only metric means it takes actual users visiting your site to yield an input at a precise time. 

You can measure FID with field-based tools like:

  • Chrome User Experience Report
  • Search Console’s Core Web Vitals Reports
  • PageSpeeds Insights

Largest Contentful Paint

a laptop with a loading screen

LCP measures when you can see the largest content element in the viewport. LCP determines when the main content of the web page renders on the screen.

The more time it takes a browser to receive content from its server, the more time it takes to render things on the screen. A more rapid server response time improves every page-load metric–that includes LCP.

In other words, LCP is a fancy metric for how well the largest part of the page loads for users. That’s it.

When it comes to LCP, the ultimate goal is to have 75% of your page load in at least 2.5 seconds. If you can get your web page to do that, you’re sitting pretty.

You can get your content to load faster by:

  • Moving your site to a better host
  • Optimizing your images, making sure they are the correct size and adequately pressed
  • Highlighting render-blocking sources like JavaScript or CSS

If you can get your load times to be as fast as technologically possible, you’ll inevitably have an excellent page user experience overall.

Cumulative Layout Shift

A website layout diagram

You’ve probably experienced CLS many times in your life. You’re loading a webpage, and while it’s loading, all the page’s elements are moving around like they’re playing a game of musical chairs.

CLS is the unexpected moving of elements of a webpage while the page is still downloading. Elements that tend to cause this shifting are images, videos, ads, embedded objects, fonts, buttons, contact forms, etc.

In essence, CLS assesses the visual stability of a webpage.

Minimizing the cumulative layout shift is significant because pages that move around can cause a poor user experience. There it is again: the threat of a bad time.

Luckily a little coding can fix CLS.

Here are some of the culprits that cause unwanted CLS:

  • Fonts downloaded from the web
  • Ads that are not correctly formatted
  • Embedded objects like a YouTube video or Tweet

Cumulative layout shift can sometimes be missed during website development, as certain aspects of the page are in the developers’ cache from previous visits. Because they are previously loaded, you can’t see the page shift with each new reload. You have got to keep an eye on those devs sometimes.

You can measure CLS in the lab or the field. In the lab, you can use Lighthouse in Chrome Dev Tools.

The Best is Romain Berg

a graphic about a boosted webpage experience

While core web vitals are becoming a critical part of Google ranking, nothing beats high-quality content. 

At Romain Berg, we have knowledge that goes beyond core web vitals. We know all the tricks for search engine optimization that will have your site ranking up. We’re committed to creating the most user-friendly web pages to keep your customers coming back for more.

Let us show you we’re about results and not hype. Visit the Romain Berg webpage and fill out our contact form so we can start working on the level up of your business ASAP.

*Blog updated to reflect more current information 7/19/2021.

About the Author

Sam Romain

Sam Romain

Digital marketing expert, data interpreter, and adventurous entrepreneur empowering businesses while fearlessly embracing the wild frontiers of fatherhood and community engagement.

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