Google Core Web Vitals: what they are and how they affect SEO

by | Jul 12, 2020 | Seo

Home 9 Seo 9 Google Core Web Vitals: what they are and how they affect SEO

Speed, speed, speed. It took you about three seconds to read these words. If your web page doesn’t load at the same time, 53% of mobile users abandon your site. Google officially stated that the loading speed of the site will be one of the ranking parameters, introducing the concept of Core Web Vitals. Panic has broken out among those involved in SEO and website development, but in reality there is nothing new. We just need to figure out how to read the data before drawing conclusions.

Core Web Vitals are the parameters considered fundamental by Google to evaluate the quality of a user’s browsing experience on a web page. They refer to loading speed, response time, and layout stability. From 2021 they will affect the ranking of the website on Google, but the quality and relevance of the content will always remain the most important factors.

How Core Web Vitals are calculated

Core Web Vitals metrics are calculated based on the Google Chrome experience of users who have opted in to sync their history and enable usage statistics reports. The data is collected and processed by the Chrome User Experience, from where it is then shared with other analytics tools.

One of the main tools for analyzing Core Web Vitals is Google Search Console: in the tab that was recently added, all the indexed pages of the website are analyzed (learn the difference between Google Search Console and Google Analytics). You can analyze individual pages (even from sites that we don’t own) with the Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights tools, or with the Web Vitals extension for Google Chrome.

What are the three Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are used to determine if web pages are fast, which elements are slowing down to load, and how we can improve. The three elements are loading speed, response time, and layout stability. PageSpeed Insights actually adds the first view with content that is not a Core Web Vital, but it can help us improve the usability of the website.

Google Core Web Vitals

LCP: Loading Speed

LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) indicates the loading time of the largest element visible on the home screen (i.e. not after scrolling). It’s usually an image, video, animation, or text block. This value indicates the loading speed of the main element of the page. The optimal value should be less than 2.5 seconds.

FID: Response Time

FID (First input delay) indicates the time elapsed between the user’s click on an interactive element of the website and the response from the browser. Scrolling and zooming the page is not considered, but it can be penalized by too much JavaScript loaded in advance. The optimal value should be less than 100 milliseconds.

CLS: Layout Stability

CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) measures the movement of an element within the page after the end of loading. The result is the product of the impact component (space occupied by the element before and after it moves) and the distance component (the percentage value of the maximum distance traveled by the element divided by the size of the window). The optimal value should be less than 0.1.

How and why to improve Core Web Vitals

Google has announced that from 2021 Core Web Vitals will be considered to all intents and purposes elements that will contribute to ranking, but the qualitative value of the content will always be the most important aspect. On the SEO side, we must therefore try to increase these parameters with technical interventions, but we must not panic if we are not promoted with flying colors.

We can reduce the weight of Css, JavaScript, images, and multimedia elements, but also use asynchronous loading. There are WordPress plugins that can optimize the performance of your website. We can also adopt the AMP format which reduces the loading time of mobile web pages.

On the usability side, the Core Web Vitals give us important indications to improve the browsing quality of our users and avoid abandonment caused by a site that is too slow. After all, if we make our users happy, Google smiles at us too.

Luigi Nervo

Luigi Nervo

Digital Marketing Manager

Marketing, Seo and content expert (read the bio).

Keep in touch

Would you like to add value to your digital marketing activities?

Keep in touch now! You can find me on LinkedIn, or you can write filling the following form.

I hope to hear from you soon.

15 + 2 =

Luigi Nervo

Luigi Nervo

Digital Marketing Manager

Marketing, Seo and content expert (read the bio).