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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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