Starting next year, Google will consider your webpage’s Core Web Vitals as an SEO ranking signal. Core Web Vitals include Loading (i.e., speed), Interactivity (i.e., responsiveness), and Visual Stability.
To give website owners transparency into the status of Core Web Vitals, Google released a dedicated report in Search Console aptly named – Core Web Vitals. The overall intent with this metric is to score a page’s user experience.
SEO Practice Lead Alex Swope considers this news significant, “Whenever Google adds a report to Search Console, I stand up and take notice.” He continued, “Google is telling us that particular attention will be paid to the quality of the user’s on-page experience moving forward.”
Considering the business impact, Account Director Ethan Reese anticipates digital publishers that rely on ads for revenue being particularly affected, “As a user, how many times have you been reading an article and you suddenly get dropped elsewhere on the page because an out-of-sight ad loaded late? That is the type of poor experience Google is trying to discourage here. If I’m a publisher or a local news outlet, Core Web Vitals just became a pillar of my go-forward digital strategy.”
When asked about how WebMechanix customer websites are responding to Core Web Vitals so far, Swope enthusiastically shared that “We’ve always valued a content and user-centric experience which aligns with what Google is now increasingly focusing on. While there are optimizations to be made before these new ranking signals kick in next year, we believe our customers will experience nothing but upside as a result of Core Web Vitals”.
Reese added, “Yeah, I think as a marketer, I lean towards tactics that produce immediate business results, but producing results doesn’t have to compromise the user experience, which is something our UX Leadership team has been saying for years, their end-user-advocacy has really set us up for success here.”
Having good Core Vital scores won’t guarantee good rankings. It is one of many factors that Google considers.
One part of Core Vitals to look out for is First Content Paint (FCP), which is about how fast the initial page loads.
A good portion of Core Vital changes to improve your score would require web development. However, marketers can analyze and identify specific things, such as pages that load slowly and unnecessary elements slowing down a page. Google’s Page Speed Insights tool and Search Console can help with that.
How a page shifts or changes while a page loads is what their Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) score is all about. Marketers can move user interface elements below the fold to improve their CLS score. Using set size attribute dimensions for any media (video, images, GIFs, infographics, etc.) will help with this score.
What do you think Core Web Vitals means for the future of SEO? How might your business be impacted? Comment below, and Alex and Ethan will dive into the issue with you.