Google launched Web Vitals, a new set of metrics that measure websites’ speed and user experiences. These metrics were announced by Google last year as part of a core algorithm update. They will be used to rank sites and improve their page experience. This update slowly is being implemented and should be completed in August 2021.
UX is important, and it’s real now
In 2010, Google stated that site speed would be taken into consideration when determining rankings. In 2018, Google added the page speed ranking factor to mobile search results. Google announced in May 2020 a new update that looks at new or updated metrics, combined with other user experiences factors to create the page experience update.
Speed is not all that matters
Optimizing websites’ performance has been a matter of optimizing for speed for years. Loading times are just one part of the equation. The other half is more difficult to measure and define. This is how a user feels all the optimizations. Although the site may be speedy according to metrics, does it feel fast? It’s time to have a hard look at page experience.
Google According to Google, “Great pages enable people to get more done, engage more deeply, and be more productive; on the other hand, bad page experiences could hinder a person’s ability to find valuable information on a webpage.”
Google stated that page experience is an important factor, but Google still aims to rank pages with the most information, even if it is not the best. The page content is just as important as a great page experience. In cases where many pages may have similar relevance, page experience is often more important to increase visibility in search results.
Remember that Google originally stated that page experience was mobile-only. However, they will now consider desktop sites as well.
Register for Web Vitals
Google launched Web Vitals in May 2020. This is a comprehensively researched set of metrics that can be used to identify opportunities to improve user experience on websites. Core Web Vitals are a subset that site owners should be focusing on. Google Core Web Vitals is a collection of user-centered, real-world metrics that quantify key aspects and aspects of the user experience.
Core Web Vitals each look at a particular piece of the page experience puzzle. Together they help Google and you make sense of the site’s perceived experience. All Google tools that measure page experience include Core Web Vitals.
Over time, the Core Web Vitals will change and new ones may be added. Google identified three focal points for the initial round.
- Visual stability
These three new metrics correspond to these focal points:
- LCP, or Largest Contained Paint: This is a measure of how long it takes for the largest element in your viewport to load.
- FID, or First input delay: FID measures the time it takes for a browser’s response to an interaction initiated by the user (clicking on a button for example).
- CLS, or Cumulative layout shift: This new metric measures how much of the screen is affected by movement. Does stuff move around on the screen?
These core metrics are not just about how fast an element loads. These core metrics also consider how long it takes for elements to become ready for use. The Cumulative Layout shift is the most forward-thinking. This is not about speed but preventing bad user experiences. For example, if an ad loads at the last moment, you might hit the wrong button. How do you feel when this happens? It’s quite infuriating, isn’t it?
Combining existing ranking factors with new metrics
Web Vitals’ launch was notable enough, but Google elevated it to a new level. Google will use these new metrics, along with existing experience ranking factors to rank pages. Google considers a variety of factors when assessing websites and ranking them. While some factors have a significant impact, others are less important. They tell the story of a website when they are combined.
The Web Vitals are a combination of several factors that make up the page experience ranking factors.
- Mobile-friendliness – Is your website optimized for mobile?
- HTTPS: Is your site using HTTPS?
- Interstitial Use: Does your site avoid annoying pop-ups
- Safe browsing: Is your site safe for visitors?
These metrics are now joined by real-world, user-centered metrics such as the LCP and FID, which were mentioned earlier. These factors combine to take into consideration everything that a user has to do on a website in order to create a comprehensive picture of the site’s performance, as Google loves to say.
This is just one more way Google can gauge how great your site is. It might be easy to exaggerate the importance of this update. A site with poor content and a terrible user experience is still not possible to rank.
The quality of your content is still the most important factor in achieving high rankings. However, performance and the experience that users have had with your site are now equally important. Google now has a method to collect a lot of information that looks at your site from many angles.
In August 2021, page experience will be fully implemented
Google is often accused of not communicating well with site owners and SEOs. We have witnessed many core algorithm updates happen without any communication from Googlers in the past. Google is now more open than ever. Google has kept us informed about this algorithm update. The update will be rolling out slowly and should be completed by the end of August 2021.
These metrics are explained with a variety of tools that can help you understand how to improve your website using them. You can also find a lot more documentation from Google. You can get started right away.
The page experience update is being released slowly at the moment and, if everything goes according to plan it will be completed in August 2021.
Top Stories no longer require AMP
Another interesting fact about the page experience update can be found here. Google will not require you to use AMP to get your news pages into the Top Stories section. Any site that is Google News-validated and well-built can now aim for the top spot. Your site’s page experience will be a ranking factor in Top Stories.
Are you looking for new page experience tools? You got it!
Google did everything to make sure that every site owner was able to adapt to the changes to their page experience. You can get the information you need with new or updated tools. Core Web Vitals insights are now available in many SEO tools, including Goog Checker , Semrush. They can help you understand what it all means.
- Version 8.0 of Lighthouse is available in DevTools
- PageSpeed Insights now incorporates these new metrics
- The new Chrome User Experience Report API allows you to access historical data up to 28 days for your URLs
- DevTools Performance panel – Experience section
- Search Console’s Core Web Vitals and Page Experience reports provide a summary of your site’s performance.
- Web Vitals Chrome Extension allows you to quickly access metrics right from your browser
Start testing and improve!
Optimizing your site for speed and user experience was difficult in the past. You didn’t have a good understanding of what makes a site feel fast or fast. Google has been able to hear the needs of users for fast, usable sites over the years. Google has made page experience quantifiable and declared them ranking factors. This allows it to be used to evaluate sites.