Google has recently affirmed that ‘Core Web Vitals’ is a ranking signal for search results in May 2021. Google has announced Core Web Vitals to become the ranking signals since May 2021, which affirms that the ‘page experience’ signal will determine the ranking of your search results on the web pages. Let’s read about How Google Core Web Vitals update will Influence the Ranking in 2021 on the Search Engine Result Pages?
The ranking of your business website would primarily be focused on the following parameters:
- Whether your business is mobile friendly and has amplified mobile pages (AMPs)
- Whether your business website is safe for browsing
- HTTPS-security is a must-have
- Intrusive interstitial guidelines
The Core Web Vitals update is primarily focused on quantifying how users experience the speed, responsiveness, and visual stability and appeal of a website.
So What Actually Are Google Core Web Vitals
In May 2020, for the first time came an announcement from Google that they would be releasing a set of metrics called the Core Web Vitals, focused primarily on speed, responsiveness, and the visual stability of a webpage.
These scores were supposed to be included in the core algorithmic update by Google in 2021. These scores were supposedly ranking signals for the web pages to function on, and the SEO community took a few months to get habituated to these scores. The scores will emerge as bigger focus areas for organizations as they step forth in the year 2021.
What are the Key Metrics Qualifying as ‘Google Core Vitals’
The following metrics are primarily defined as Google Core Web Vitals:
a) Largest Contentful Paint – It’s the time taken by the main content on a webpage to load. Ideally, an LCP measurement is 2.5 seconds or faster.
b) First Input Delay – It’s the time taken by a page to become interactive, and its ideal measurement is less than 100 ms.
c) Cumulative Layout Shift – The unexpected layout shift of the content on the visual page and its amount. An ideal measurement is less than 0.1.
In general, a web page loading time indicates the loading speed of the website. The first input delay is the metric that reflects on the web page’s interactivity, and the cumulative layout shift is the metric reflecting on the visual stability and appeal of the website.
The Core Vitals Update reflects Google’s commitment to ensure that people get more helpful and enjoyable experiences across the web.
According to Google, “These signals measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page and contribute to our ongoing work to ensure people get the most helpful and enjoyable experiences from the web.”
Notably, Core Web Vitals would change from time to time as users’ expectations of web pages change.
How to Improve Google Core Web Vital Metrics
SEOs can effectively audit and provide insights to the developers on ways to improve the Google Core Web Vital Metrics. Performance has played a vital role in rankings to date. By keeping a track record of the website speed, web page testing, focusing on the incoming core web vitals, and tracking the Core Web Vitals, the SEO people can generate the Chrome Experience Report.
This equips the SEOs to measure the Core Web Vitals – as it’s the actual data that the SEOs are being scored against. The Chrome User Experience Report is indicative of Google’s huge database of the real-user data that Chrome maintains.
This data source is available to everyone and can be queried via BigQuery. Thus, the site’s scores can be checked. The best place to review this data at the domain level is through Google’s own Data Studio report.
The data is then categorized across the user base into three categories viz. ‘Good‘, ‘Needs Improvement‘ and ‘Poor’. While tracking these metrics, the following key points need to be considered:
- These scores are for the whole domain and not just for the homepage. This implies that if marketers have a single and very slow template, their overall scores may suffer.
- The real user data will, as a rule, have people who have poor experiences.’ The poor experiences are hard to justify and can be regardless of the loading time of your website or the layout of your UI.
- As the website loading time is subject to change every month, users’ insights on any improvements can be monitored over time.
SEOs need to be aware of the Google Core Vital metrics and learn how to deal with them more and more. First of all, the Google Data Studio dashboard needs to be created. As this data would be shared with the key stakeholders, this would give them a top-level view of what’s happening in the organization.
After assessing the trend over a while, SEO marketers can recommend changes related to the Core Web Vitals. The insights about the website loading time and page speed aren’t enough.
The quality of content also matters, so defining metrics related to the top-performing parameters as a cumulative summation of the related metrics might be a good practice.
A wide array of data sources can be used to measure the core web vitals, which is often a combination of lab data (DeepCrawl and Page Speed Insights), and the Chrome User Experience Report data the best way.
How Google Core Web Vitals update will Influence the Ranking in 2021?
Google’s core web vitals are all set to be rolled out in May 2021 and become a prime ranking signal. It’s only going to be a bigger focus for marketers from 2021 onwards, and the SEO community has a few months to get ready to embrace the changes.
Let’s have a look as to what will change from May 2021 onwards:
a) Expect Additional Labels in the Search Results – Google may label the search results implying which ones will provide a good page experience. Google is currently working on visual parameters that substantiate an optimal page experience.
The test of these visual labels would be rolled-out soon, and if it is successful, its full-fledged version will be live by May 2021, alongside the page experience update.
A survey by Search Engine Journal reveals that less than 15% of websites are optimized to pass the Core Web Vitals’ assessment. In general, web pages optimized for mobile devices offer great page experiences.
b) Non-AMP Content Might Get Featured in the Top Stories Carousel – From May 2021, non-AMP pages will be eligible to appear in Top Stories.
This update is expected to roll out at the same time as the page experience ranking signal.
Pages that fulfil the content policies of Google News appear in the Top Stories carousel, and pages offering superior experience are polarized in the ranking.
Google will continue to support AMP in Google Search results in the same way it does now.
How to Use Google Data Studio to Report Core Web Vitals?
There are two methods of pulling Core Web Vitals data into GDS to create a comprehensive and automated web vitals report: the Chrome UX GDS connector and PageSpeed Insights.
1. Chrome UX Reports GDS Connector
This is a free, open-source connector. The Chrome UX report (aka CrUX) provides user experience metrics for how real-world Chrome users experience popular destinations on the web.
This connector allows marketers to have access to:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
- First Input Delay (FID)
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), and
- First Contentful Paint (FCP)
To use this connector, one needs to select “Create” at the top left hand side and then “Data source.”
Search for “Chrome UX Report”, and it will appear at the bottom. Then click on the connector.
This connector only accepts origin URLs. For additional information on how to input URLs, Google has an excellent resource for details about the Chrome UX connector.
Once the data source is created, it can be used and configured in Google Data Studio.
Here is how we recommend visualizing and reporting on the Core Web Vitals metrics, with five reporting elements in the equation.
This Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) sample focuses on five reporting elements that provide context to the understanding of CLS and how it is trending on the website over time:
1. Last Month – This sideways 100% stacked bar chart displays “Poor CLS,” “Needs Improvement CLS,” and “Good CLS.” The data range has been set to “Last Month,” and the percentage for each metric has been included for clarity. When an individual section is moused over a pop-out box of the metric name, the result is reflected.
2. Change Over Time – This 100% stacked column chart sets back as far as the data is available for the metric. The time frame varies from metric to metric (for instance, the Largest Contentful Paint metric only goes as far as September 2019).
The data is read from left to right, the left spot represents the earliest data available, and the right represents the most recent. The chart allows you to see how improvements are being made.
Accordingly, the metrics are named “Poor CLS,” Needs Improvement CLS,” and “Good CLS.”
3. Device Type – Seeing Core Web Vitals as a whole is useful, it’s also critical to understand that these metrics may behave differently on device platforms such as desktop, mobile, and tablets, and therefore score differently.
A “Device” filter allows marketers to see where these metrics are most impacted. The “Last Month” and “Change Over Time” charts are 100% stacked charts responsive to this filter.
4. “Good” CLS and “Poor” CLS can be compared YoY – The “Good” and “Poor” metrics were picked to highlight the scorecard with “Last Month” as the data range and YoY comparison data underneath.
This will tell you at a glance how your website ranks and how the metric has changed compared to the previous year.
5. Definitions – Core Web Vitals measures specific aspects of users’ experience with a web page. This section reiterates what that measurement is and what is considered “Good,” “Needs Improvement,” and “Poor” as it relates to each metric.
This format is repeatable for all three Core Web Vitals metrics, as well as First Contentful Paint. Here are the first four pages of the report:
2. Fetching the PageSpeed Insights via the URL Embed Tool
The second data source that can be used in this web vitals report is PageSpeed Insights. To achieve this, marketers have embedded PageSpeed Insights measuring “potent.com” on the final page of our GDS report:
This report is embedded in GDS; click on “Insert” in the top navigation bar, and scroll down to “URL Embed.” Draw a box on the GDS slide where you wish PageSpeed Insights to appear.
Embedding a URL into GDS functions allows you to access your GDS functions.
Benefits of Using the Data Sources
The benefit of Chrome UX reporting is that it allows you to comprehend Web Vitals’ trends and how they transform over time. PageSpeed Insights provides marketers with real-time measurement of how their website performs & what actions need to be taken to improve the Web Vitals score.
Thus, the marketers can prepare a Core Web Vitals dashboard to understand better which metrics one needs to improve to position his website for a smooth transition once Core Web Vitals start influencing the SERPs’ rankings.
Core Web Vitals constitute a subset of Web Vitals that apply to all web pages. Once the Core Web Vitals are surfaced across all Google tools, they would need to be measured by all site owners. Core Web Vitals represent a distinct facet of user experience, measurable, and reflect the user-centric outcome’s real-world experience.
Optimizing for quality user experience holds the key to the long-term success of any site on the web. Whether you’re a business owner, marketer, or developer, Web Vitals indicate the experience of your site and provide you with the opportunities to improve.
The metrics that constitute the Core Web Vitals will evolve with time. Marketers need to focus on optimizing the three aspects of users’ experiences viz. loading, interactivity, and visual stability to keep abreast of Google’s latest update.
Author Bio –
Priya has about 6 years of experience in Market Research. Currently, she is working for Valasys Media as a content writer, one of the top global business consulting companies.
They provide their clients with an array of services such as Lead Generation, Database Management, Information Technology – IMS, Account-Based Marketing, to name a few. Their services are personalized to help the clients meet their business goals & optimize their Return on Investment (ROI).
She has been preparing several personalized reports for our clients & has done a lot of research on market segmentation, cluster analysis of audiences & inbound methodologies. She has worked with government institutes as well as corporate houses on several projects.