Strategize your SEO with Google’s Core Update: Core Web Vitals

Algorithm updates are a permanent fixture for Google. On average, it makes nine updates daily. Most go unnoticed but a few create ripples. One epoch-making update is on the horizon, Core Web Vitals. Expected in 2021, it would change how SEO strategies are crafted and executed.

Any SEO agency in India will tell you, ignoring Core Web Vitals means compromised visibility. Whether you are a digital marketer, a webmaster or a business leader, it’s important to know what it is all about and how to leverage it for marketing gains. Read on, here’s your rundown.

Core Web Vitals:

It’s a ranking factor focused on delivering a fine page experience. For starters, page experience takes into account the experience a user gets when interfacing with a web page. Google had previously defined a set of search signals to determine the page experience and SERPs.

  • Responsiveness: The web page needs to work seamlessly on mobiles and tabs.
  • Secure browsing: Absence of false ambiguous info or malicious software on the page.
  • HTTPS: The web page should be served in HTTPS, a more secure protocol than HTTP.
  • Non-intrusive: No issues about the primary content should be there.

Note that, the webpage’s informative value isn’t considered to determine the page experience. Though Google prefers content over page experience for rankings, it’s important nonetheless.

Core Web Vitals is the new addition to the existing page ranking metrics. It features a subset of factors related to the webpage’s loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability. Simply put, it’ll factor in how quickly the webpage loads, how quickly the user can interact with the webpage, and how quickly the webpage stabilizes. As it turns out to be, Core Web Vitals is about speed.

How to Leverage it?

We get it. You are eager to rush to the digital marketing agency in Bangalore to have your site optimized for Core Web Vitals. But not before you know how to make the most of it.

Core Web Vitals has three metrics to it, each with its significance and specifications.

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): (Loading Speed)

The loading speed of the web page’s largest element is your LCP. Simply put, it’s the time the web page’s above-the-fold content takes to appear on the screen from the moment a user clicks on the link. Note that, the content beyond your screen isn’t factored in for LCP.

The largest element could be pictures, videos, or text, or all three together. LCP differs from other key page speed metrics (notably TTFB and FCP) on many counts. For one, LCP deals solely with things that matter in page speed – accessing and interacting with the webpage.

How to Make the Most of it?

Ideally, the LCP should be 2.5 seconds. Anything above is unacceptable and requires fixing at the earliest. Thankfully, there’re quick and convenient ways to reduce latency, including:

  • Typically, an image is the major element of a webpage. It’s imperative to optimize it for speedy LCP. As image format is a key load speed determinant, prefer WebP. It has up to a 50% smaller footprint than JPEG and can retain image quality. Transparency and alpha are also well supported. Also, consider compression and adjusting image dimensions.
  • A slow server can impact LCP. Enhancing the server performance can help. Consider a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to boost performance via spatial distribution of service.
  • Your SEO agency is likely to deploy URLs repeatedly and add caches to the web page. It’s a clever ploy to store and present data quickly for future requests.
  • Render blocking JavaScript and CSS files contributes to loading times by stopping sites from populating webpage unless these files are loaded. These files need to be fixed.
  • First Input Delay (FID): (Interactivity)

FID is about quantifying the user’s very first interaction with the webpage. The site processes the whole thing at the backend and populates the page each time the link is clicked. The time involved is your FID. Think of it as the time the webpage takes to respond to a user’s specific action. FID often determines interactivity from mouse clicks, key presses, and other events.

How to Make the Most of it?

FID relies largely on user experience (UX). Identifying and fixing issues that impact UX is critical to draw on FID for visibility. The goal should be restricting FID to 100 milliseconds or below.

  • The JavaScript code needs to be optimized by opting for smaller, asynchronous tasks over long tasks, increasing content volume, using web workers, and more.
  • The CSS code should be tweaked as well to better the UX. Eliminating fallow CSS code can be done to this end. Text file compression can also help.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): (Visual Stability)

CLS deals with a webpage’s visual stability. It factors in how frequently the uncalled for shifting of elements takes place across the screen when the page is still loading. It has to be below 0.1.

How to make the most of it?

Optimizing factors that lead to unforeseen layout shifts is important. It’s done by:

  • Avoiding superimposition of new content over the existing one
  • Keeping the ad slot space defined beforehand
  • Having right-sized images, ads, and embeds
  • Choosing transform animations

Now that you have an exact idea about Core Web Vitals, it’s time to get in touch with your digital marketing agency to have the site optimized accordingly. Good luck!

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