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Why You Should Absolutely Care About Google’s Recent Core Web Vitals Update

Posted on July 22, 2021 by Jeff Pollard

As many of you know, Google is constantly making changes to its search results algorithm. Google makes small tweaks to improve the accuracy and relevancy of results as well as attempt to provide the very best results for their users. It has been noted that Google makes somewhere in the ballpark of 3,000 updates to the super-secretive algorithm each year.

One of the most important updates in recent history is reportedly currently being rolled out by the search engine giant. This update is being referred to as Core Web Vitals and focuses on the website user experience as the site is rendering in your web browser.

Here are the specific metrics that are included in Core Web Vitals:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – This metric measures the amount of time between when a page begins to load and when the largest text or image block is fully visible in the user’s browser. In other words, it measures how quickly a user can begin to read and assess the content on the page to determine if the page is relevant.
  • First Input Delay (FID) – This metric measures the amount of time between when a page begins to load and when it is available for a user to interact with it – clicking, scrolling, etc. This is an important metric since the faster a user can interact with a site, the faster they can find the information they seek.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – This metric addresses a long-standing pet peeve of mine – content layout shift. This describes when the content on a page shifts as the page is rendering. This is the annoying issue that has caused me (and you, too, I’m guessing) to errantly click a button or link on a site because you clicked before the page finished loading. I’m hoping that Google’s push to minimize layout shift will help lessen the occurrences of this disruptive problem.

It’s no surprise that Google is continuing to reward sites that provide a superior user experience. After all, Google’s primary objective (at least publicly stated) with its search engine is to provide the users of the Internet with the most useful and relevant results, and that includes giving higher ranking to sites that provide a great user experience over sites that have usability issues.

As a user of the internet, I love that Google is prioritizing these metrics since it will ultimately push website owners to provide a better user experience on websites that I visit. And as a marketer, I love that this set of metrics gives us actionable and measurable goals to help us build better sites for our clients and help improve existing sites.

As an owner of a website, you should always want to provide the very best user experience for your visitors. After all, if your site is performing well in the three Core Web Vitals metrics, that means that they can easily and quickly navigate your site to find the information they seek and are more likely to become a converting visitor.

So while some may bemoan that Google is creating too many requirements for a site to rank well, we truly think this algorithm change is a great motivator of positive change for the web. If you want to check your site to see how well it is performing in Core Web Vitals, there are two great ways:

  • GTMetrix.com – GT Metrix’s site analysis tool now displays Core Web Vitals information when you run their free speed test.
  • Google PageSpeed Insights – This is Google’s “official” PageSpeed measurement tool. Running this free test will tell you how your site is doing with Core Web Vitals and specifically which areas your site needs to improve

And if you want to read another excellent article about the Core Web Vitals update, Search Engine Land has a great article explaining everything that is known about this important update.

And if you find that your site is performing poorly, feel free to reach out to us and we’ll be glad to help improve the performance of your site.

Need to speed up your site? Let's chat!

About the author:

Jeff Pollard

Partner, Director of Technology

Connect on LinkedIn

Jeff is one of Torx's founding partners and serves as the agency's Director of Technology. He built his first website back in 1996 and has never looked back. Jeff wears many hats at Torx: front-end designer and developer, server administrator, and resident Apple enthusiast.