Core Web Vitals: Page Speed More Important Than Ever In Terms Of SEO

Gary Green
Gary Green
December 1, 2021

The Core Web Vitals are speed metrics that form a key component of the Google Page Experience signals which are used for measuring user experiences.

These metrics measure visual stability, visual load and interactivity. These metrics are now included along with page experience when ranking pages as of June 2021.

The simplest way of viewing metrics for any given website is by using the Google Search Console’s Core Web Vitals report. This allows you to see easily whether your pages have been categorised as 'good URLs', 'URLs that need improvement' or 'poor URLs'. In the report, it’s possible to see more details on the specific issues along with a complete list of the affected pages.

Why Is Page Speed So Important?

Page speed has always been important when it comes to the user experience. Even when it wasn’t a featured Google ranking signal, having a fast loading page was a good way to ensure that visitors kept coming back for more and didn’t go elsewhere after finding the site too frustrating to deal with.

If users click on a button and find that nothing happens for several seconds, they could quite easily decide that it isn’t worth waiting around to find the information or content that they are looking for and therefore decide to click away from the site and onto that of a competitor instead.

It isn’t too surprising, then, that Google uses page speed as part of its algorithm when determining the ranking of websites in its search results. This, in turn, has a major impact on how visible a site is when consumers enter a specific search query into the search engine.

Optimising page speed is one way to ensure that your site has a good chance of being on the first page of the search engine results.

Core Web Vitals – Quick Factfile

  1. The metrics have been split between mobile and desktop however only signals for mobile are now used to rank pages. Google has now switched to 100% mobile first indexing.
  2. The data is derived from the CrUX (Chrome User Experience Report). This records the data taken from Chrome users who have opted into the program. The metrics are assessed at the users’ 75th percentile and this means that if 70% of users are in the category “good” and 5% are in the category “needs improvement” the page will be judged as needing improvement.
  3. The metrics are assessed for every page however if there isn’t sufficient data, signals taken from a site’s individual sections or the site overall could be used.
  4. With these new metrics having been added, AMP has been removes from the Top Stories mobile feature as a requirement. As new stories will not have speed metrics data, it’s likely the metrics from a wider category of pages or the whole domain could be used instead.
  5. Single page applications do not measure LCP and FID through page transitions.
  6. Over time, these metrics can change and so may the thresholds. Google has changed the speed measurement metrics over the years several times already and have also changed the threshold for what is said to be fast and what isn’t.

Why Do Core Web Vitals Matter For SEO?

There are more than two hundred different ranking factors, so just improving the Core Web Vitals alone won’t make huge changes in itself. They are just one signal among many others. Nevertheless, it’s important to try to improve them as much as possible.

The Core Web Vitals components are First Input Delay, Largest Contentful Paint and Cumulative Layout Shift:

LCP –– this is the biggest visible element to be loaded in a viewport. Usually, this will be a featured image, but it could be an <h1> tag.

You can see the LCP specified in PageSpeed Insights in the Diagnostics section. You can then optimise the LCP element by preloading that image or inlining the entire image so that it downloads together with the HTML code.

CLS – measures the way in which elements move and the stability of the page’s layout. It bears in mind the content’s size and how far it moves.

One problem, though, is that it will continue measuring even following the page’s initial load although this could change soon. CLS can be caused by having images with no dimensions, or iframes, embeds and ads with no dimensions.

It can also be caused by injecting JavaScript into content, or by applying styles or fonts late into the load. You can see CLS in the PageSpeed Insights under the Diagnostics section where you can see which elements are shifting or by using Filmstrip View in WebPagTest.

CLS can be optimised by preloading custom fonts first, or by dropping them completely. Alternatively, a default font could be used for the initial page load.

FID – is the time between the user's initial interaction with the page and the page's response. This is essentially a measure of responsiveness. Some interactions which count for FID are clicking on a button or link, inputting text, clicking on a checkbox or selecting from a drop-down menu.

FID can occur because JavaScript competes for the main thread and can be optimised by breaking up longer tasks and by deferring unnecessary JavaScript.

A Final Word On Core Web Vitals

It couldn’t be more important for developers and site owners today to ensure that they have fully optimised their Core Web Vitals in order to ensure that their users enjoy the best possible experience when visiting their web pages.

It’s also important, however, to be aware that Core Web Vitals aren’t the be-all and end-all – SEO is also important. When both things are taken into account, more data can be recorded in analytics to ensure that your page ranks as highly as possible.

At Key Business Marketing, we offer a range of services, including content creation, SEO, PPC and social media management. Get in touch with us today to discuss your marketing needs and unlock your business' potential.

Tell us about your project...
Fill in your details to get started and join over 50 businesses enjoying Key Business Marketing's expertise..
We adhere to strict GDPR rules and do not reveal or sell your data to any third-parties. For more, please read our Privacy Policy.
Latest Insights
March 7, 2022
4 Easy Ways To Unlock The Potential Of Untapped Keywords

There’s no question that successful SEO work depends largely on the keywords that you’re looking to...

March 3, 2022
Your Guide To Using A Free Keyword Generator

SEO’s foundation is keywords. If nobody’s looking for the things that you write about, there’s no...

January 13, 2022
The Top Traits And Skills Social Media Managers Need

It wasn’t so long ago that social media managers didn’t even exist. However, now, virtually all...

January 11, 2022
Top Free Tools For Keyword Research and SEO

It’s fair to say that keyword research is no longer only about “keywords”. Rather, it’s about...

January 6, 2022
A Content Marketing Report For B2B Businesses

An analysis of B2B companies was carried out to gain a better understanding of the ways...

January 4, 2022
A Marketer’s Guide To The Top Social Media Tools

It’s fair to say that social media can be a minefield. Yet it’s one that must...

December 30, 2021
SEO Techniques To Increase Brand Awareness And Organic Traffic

Raising brand awareness while driving up organic traffic to a website requires effective SEO practices. However,...

December 28, 2021
Four Definitive Real-World Examples Of Growth Hacking

There are some seriously impressive examples of growth hacking out there, executed by some leading organizations....

December 23, 2021
SEO Pros Reveal The Most Frustrating Practices In Web Design

SEO professionals often find practices in web design frustrating since they can interfere with their SEO...

View Our latest insights »
Get the latest digital marketing insights delivered straight to your inbox
We care about the protection of your data. No spam. Unsubscribe anytime.
02037 282 848
Mon-Fri 9am - 5.30pm
Digital marketing guidance at your fingertips
Copyright © 2022 KEY BM LTD Reg: E&W 11055943
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram