What are Core Web Vitals: Essential metrics for website user experience
In today's digital world, having a website is essential for any business. However, simply having a website isn't enough. To attract and retain visitors, your website needs to provide a smooth and enjoyable user experience. That's where Core Web Vitals come in. Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics created by Google that measures loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability of a website. In this article, we will explore what Core Web Vitals are, why they matter, and how to optimise your website's performance.
What are Core Web Vitals? #
Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics introduced by Google to measure the overall user experience of a website. The current three metrics that make up Core Web Vitals are:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This measures the loading speed of a website. Specifically, it measures how long it takes for the largest piece of content on a page to load. Google recommends that the LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
- First Input Delay (FID): This measures the interactivity of a website. Specifically, it measures how long it takes for a website to respond when a user interacts with it for the first time. Google recommends that the FID should be less than 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This measures the visual stability of a website. Specifically, it measures how much the content on a page moves around as it loads. Google recommends that the CLS score should be less than 0.1.
In 2022 Google introduced an experimental metric called Interaction to Next Paint (INP), which measures the time it takes for the browser to render the next visual update (paint) in response to a user interaction (e.g., clicking a button). This metric is currently in the testing phase and is not yet an official part of Core Web Vitals. However, it provides valuable insights into website performance and user experience and we think it will replace FID as a Core Web Vital metric in the near future.
Why and how Google created Core Web Vitals #
Google's mission is to provide its users with the best search experience possible. In order to achieve this, Google uses a variety of metrics to evaluate the quality and relevance of websites. Google has recognized that website performance and user experience are important factors in providing a positive search experience in recent years. As a result, Google created Core Web Vitals, a set of metrics focused on website performance and user experience.
Google's research found that users are more likely to engage with and convert on websites that provide a fast and smooth user experience. Core Web Vitals were created to help website owners and developers understand how to improve their website's loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability, which are critical components of a positive user experience.
To create Core Web Vitals, Google analysed user experience data from millions of websites and worked with developers and website owners to understand the most critical aspects of website performance. Google also consulted with industry experts and third-party organisations to ensure that Core Web Vitals are a comprehensive and reliable set of metrics for website performance and user experience.
Overall, Core Web Vitals are a result of Google's commitment to providing the best possible search experience for its users. By creating these metrics and making them a ranking factor, Google has incentivised website owners and developers to prioritise website performance and user experience in their website design and development processes.
Why do Core Web Vitals matter? #
Core Web Vitals are essential for both the user experience of a website and its search engine optimisation (SEO) rankings. Here are a few reasons why Core Web Vitals matter:
- Improved User Experience: When a website loads quickly and responds to user interactions promptly, visitors are more likely to stay on the site and engage with its content. This can lead to increased conversions and sales for your businesses.
- Better SEO Rankings: Google has stated that Core Web Vitals are a ranking factor for search results since May 2021. This means that websites with better Core Web Vital scores will be more likely to rank higher in search engine results pages.
- Bounce Rate: A high bounce rate, which occurs when a user quickly leaves a website after landing on it, can negatively impact your website's performance and user engagement. By optimising your Core Web Vitals, you can reduce your bounce rate and increase user engagement.
- Accessibility: Core Web Vitals can help make your website more accessible to users with disabilities. By improving loading speeds, interactivity, and visual stability, you can make your website easier to navigate for users who may have visual or motor impairments.
- Brand Reputation: A slow-loading website can significantly impact a user's perception of your brand. By optimising your Core Web Vitals and providing a fast and responsive website, you can improve your brand's reputation and credibility in the eyes of your customers.
- Crawl Budget: Google allocates a crawl budget to each website, which determines how often and how much of a website's pages Google's crawlers visit and index. If a website's server response time is poor, Google may crawl fewer pages on the site, leading to lower search engine rankings. If you optimise Core Web Vitals, Google can crawl more pages of your website and new links earlier and more frequently.
- Ad Performance: If your website contains ads, slow loading times and a poor user experience can negatively impact your ad performance. By optimising your Core Web Vitals, you can ensure that your ads are displayed correctly and provide a better user experience for visitors to your website.
- Competitive Advantage: By optimising your website's Core Web Vitals, you can gain a competitive advantage over other websites in your industry that have not yet optimised their Core Web Vitals.
You’ll make more money if you’re providing a great user experience
How to Optimise Core Web Vitals #
Optimising your website's Core Web Vitals can seem like a daunting task, but it is essential for improving your website's performance. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you optimise your Core Web Vitals:
- Compress Images: Large images can slow down your website's loading speed. To improve your LCP score, make sure to compress images before uploading them to your website.
- Use Lazy Loading: Lazy loading is a technique that defers the loading of non-essential content until a user scrolls down to view it. This can improve your LCP score by reducing the amount of content that needs to load initially.
- Lower Server Response Time: Slow server response time (TTFB) can significantly impact your website's Core Web Vitals. Make sure to optimise your server response time to improve your website's performance.
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN): A CDN can help improve your website's loading speed by storing copies of your website's files in servers around the world. This reduces the distance between the user and the server, resulting in faster loading times.
- Prioritise Above-the-Fold Content: Above-the-fold content refers to the content that appears on a website before a user needs to scroll down. Prioritising above-the-fold content can improve your LCP score by ensuring that the most critical content on your website loads quickly.
- Optimise Web Fonts: Large web fonts can slow down your website's loading speed. To improve your LCP score, use web fonts that are optimised for performance. Always use woff2 format or try to use variable fonts.
- Use Browser Caching: Browser caching allows a user's browser to store a copy of your website's files, so they don't need to be downloaded every time a user visits your site. This can significantly improve your website's loading speed.
- Monitor Your Core Web Vitals: Regularly monitoring your website's Core Web Vitals is essential to ensure that you are meeting Google's recommendations. You can use Google's PageSpeed Insights or other tools to monitor your Core Web Vitals. Keep in mind that these tools have a delay of 28 days so it its always advisable to invest in Real User Monitoring.
Overall, Core Web Vitals are essential for optimising your website's performance and ensuring that it is both user-friendly and search engine-friendly. By focusing on these metrics and following best practices for website optimisation, you can improve your website's performance and achieve your business goals.
FAQs about Core Web Vitals #
Q: How do I check my website's Core Web Vitals?
Q: How often should I monitor my Core Web Vitals?
A: It's essential to regularly monitor your Core Web Vitals to ensure that you are meeting Google's recommendations. You should monitor your Core Web Vitals every few weeks or after making changes to your website.
Q: What happens if my website's Core Web Vitals are poor?
A: If your website's Core Web Vitals are poor, you may experience lower search engine rankings, higher bounce rates, and lower engagement. To improve your Core Web Vitals, follow the tips and tricks outlined in this article.
Core Web Vitals are essential for optimising your website's performance and improving the user experience. By focusing on the three metrics that make up Core Web Vitals (LCP, FID, and CLS), you can improve your website's loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability. Regularly monitoring your Core Web Vitals and following the tips and tricks outlined in this article can help you optimise your website's Core Web Vitals and gain a competitive advantage in your industry.