The importance of the Core Web Vitals in Google rankings The importance of the Core Web Vitals in Google rankings

The importance of the Core Web Vitals in Google rankings

If you run a website, you want to rank as high as possible in the search results on Google and other search engines. In addition to the classic SEO measures for content and website structure, new updates to Google’s algorithms also require new approaches. “Core Web Vitals” have been the subject of much discussion on the internet for some time – we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know about them.

Claudius Röllin Claudius Röllin · Co-Founder & CPO

In the early days of the internet, search engines were limited to searching the World Wide Web for keywords. This often led to unsatisfactory results, and clever SEO specialists used countless tricks to outwit the search engines.

Google responded with various and increasingly complex algorithms that not only looked for search terms but also checked the relevance of websites. In addition, regular refinements are made to reflect users’ reading habits more precisely: the algorithms adapted to people’s habits.

When evaluating websites, the focus remains on content, quality and – above all – relevance. Attractively designed and regularly updated websites with descriptive headlines, flawless and content-rich text, images, videos and interaction options still offer an advantage over “tinkered” or outdated websites.

However, new criteria are constantly being added. Users should find the information that is important to them, and websites should also be technically well structured so that content can be displayed quickly and properly on desktop and mobile devices. In other words, the user experience is becoming one of the most crucial criteria for a page’s ranking.

Core Web Vitals: technical quality in figures

Google introduced a new website rating process called “Page Experience Update” in summer 2021, which has really started to have an impact in recent months. A significant part of it are Core Web Vitals: the criteria that affect the user experience, particularly during the first few seconds of a website visit, expressed in numerical values. Google measures the value on various platforms (desktop, tablet, cellphone, etc.) and calculates an average value. After all, the user experience should be as positive for everyone as possible.

Core Web Vitals are primarily about the following three key points:

Own design based on web.dev.

Largest Contentful Paint (loading time)
“Largest Contentful Paint” (LCP) is a value that indicates how fast the largest element on the page is loaded. The size does not refer to the data volume but to the actual visual visibility of the content elements. Usually, it involves content in the form of text, images or videos. Google sets a guideline of 2.5 seconds for a good LCP time. Since the largest blocks are often loaded last, this is a reliable evaluation criterion.

In the past, the loading time was mainly measured using “First Contentful Paint” (FCP). However, this only measures the time it takes for the first block to be displayed. For an overall loading experience, Google now takes into account both the FCP and the new LCP measurements. If there are issues with the measured variable LCP, Google still uses FCP to be able to make more detailed diagnoses.

Google’s experiment with the parameter “First Meaningful Paint” (FMP), i.e. the time before the first “meaningful” block was loaded, proved to be too complex and therefore unusable. FMP was dependent on the specific browser settings and, therefore, could not be standardized. In practice, it also proved to be too susceptible to minor changes in page loading time. The test results were simply too inconsistent to achieve reliable results.

Own design based on web.dev.

First Input Delay (interactivity)
“First Input Delay” (FID) measures the loading time before the user can interact with the website. All too often, page content is already displayed, but the interactive elements such as login fields or links do not work yet. However, this is not necessarily caused by the server that the website is stored on. If a page keeps the browser busy with too many tasks at the same time because it contains large JavaScript files, for example, certain processes can slow down. Google therefore requires that the user’s input on the desktop be effective and visible in no more than one-tenth of a second.

Own design based on web.dev.

Cumulative Layout Shift (visual stability)
Does the layout shift while loading? We’re most familiar with this happening on news portals when adverts are played. Loading a page quickly has many advantages but if one element loads slower, it can cause elements of the layout to jump around. This is confusing and especially annoying when the user clicks on an item and is a bit late – and then finds themselves on a website that they have absolutely no interest in. Google measures changes in the page layout with “Cumulative Layout Shift” (CLS) and immediately registers when an element changes its position. CLS doesn’t just measure how often shifts take place; it also takes into account the distance of the shifts.

Where can I check my Core Web Vitals?

If you want to check your website’s Core Web Vitals, you can easily do so using Google Search Console or the latest version of the Google Chrome Browser. Go to the desired website and select “View”, “Developer” and then “Developer tools”. In the window that appears, select “Lighthouse” and click on the “Generate report” button.

Other developer tools from Google also support the analysis of Core Web Vitals, such as PageSpeed Insights and Measure page quality. These can be used by experienced users to analyze and optimize their own websites.

Loading time
(LCP)
Interactivity
(FID)
Visual stability
(CLS)
PageSpeed Insights
Chrome UX Report
Search Console
Chrome DevTools Total blocking time
Lighthouse Total blocking time
Web Vitals Extension

Google provides the tools required to check the values of Core Web Vitals. Own design based on web.dev.

How can Core Web Vitals be improved?

Optimizing Core Web Vitals requires a certain amount of expertise in most cases. However, there are also points that amateurs can take advantage of, such as compressing images. Here are the key tips to improving your website’s Core Web Vital values:

LCP: load large elements faster

FID: interactivity first

CLS: no jumping side elements

Google also provides detailed tips for optimizing Web Core Vitals. These can be found at https://web.dev/optimize-lcp, https://web.dev/optimize-fid and https://web.dev/optimize-cls.

What about the other ranking factors?

The whole package of “page experience signals” remains up to date. Own design based on web.dev.

You should be aware, however, that Web Vitals are not a substitute for all other factors that influence a site’s ranking. They are additional factors, primarily relating to the loading speed of the website. The following criteria are also crucial:

SEO thanks to rankingCoach

Hostpoint’s rankingCoach SEO tool allows beginners and amateurs to optimize their search engine results.

If delving into Core Web Vitals is a bit too much for you, basic SEO is still a good idea. The basic, classic SEO criteria have not changed significantly. And the good news, especially for beginners, is that there are helpful tools and wide-ranging toolboxes, such as Hostpoint’s rankingCoach. This allows even amateurs to test a website based on Google criteria for its search engine ranking. Users will also receive tips and tools to improve their website’s ranking. rankingCoach offers to-do lists, tutorials and videos to help you reach the top rankings on Google.

Arrangement of images to illustrate a beautiful website about travel photography Anordnung von Bildern zur Veranschaulichung einer schönen Website über Reisefotografie

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