- Websites that rank well on Google tend to have a higher Core Web Vitals score
- Three core web vitals make up the majority of the site’s overall page speed score
- Prioritizing user experience in web design and could give you a competitive edge
- This comprehensive guide prepares you for the rollout of the new algorithm update
What are the Core Web Vitals metrics?
Core Web Vitals extends Google’s page experience signals, including mobile-friendliness and HTTPs. The three Core Web Vitals metrics measure loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability, which Google views as providing an accurate depiction of a real-world user experience.
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures the loading time of the most prominent visible within the user’s viewpoint.
- First Input Delay (FID) measures the interactivity on the page by calculating the time from when a user first interacts with the site to when the browser responds to that interaction.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) refers to how much the content shifts during page rendering.
How to check your page speed insights
Many online tools check your page ranking score, including PageSpeed Insights, Chrome User Experience Report, Lighthouse Audit, and Search Console. These sites measure page speed in various elements and display the results using a traffic light system. PageSpeed Insights provides a breakdown of the results and highlights areas of improvement.
What does “good” performance mean in numbers?
To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading. Pages should have fewer than 100 milliseconds of FID and maintain a CLS of less than 0.1. Websites like Wikipedia have the highest page speed score due to a lightweight web design approach, mainly text and optimized images. Websites that rely heavily on video content and images are slower to load and have a poor user experience. Therefore, there is a balance to strike between design and user experience.
See where your site ranks. Visit PageSpeed Insights and enter your URL. Note: The top number is your Lighthouse score, also called PageSpeed score, measuring from zero to 100. At the same time, it’s an excellent general benchmark for your site’s performance. It’s not entirely related to the three Core Web Vitals metrics, which should be viewed as an analysis of LCP, FID, and CLS.
How to improve your page speed
Passing is considered a “good” score in all three areas. Making small changes can improve the page speed score by as little as one second, which can shift the site from a “poor” or “needs improvement” score in LCP to a “good” one. Reducing load time will make users happier and increase traffic to the site. Tom Wells, the creative marketing expert at Searchmetrics, says, “Anything that’s not needed on a website shouldn’t be there.” Putting it simply, identifying and removing elements that are not used or have a substantive purpose could improve the site’s page speed score.
1. Oversized images
Poorly optimized images are one of the leading causes affecting a site’s LCP score, as this is usually the most significant element to load. Ecommerce businesses and those who rely heavily on images may have poorer LCP scores due to the page rendering of multiple high-resolution images. Optimizing these assets using responsive design or next-gen image formattings such as WebP, JPEG 2000, and JPEG XR can improve the score by reducing rendering time. Often, images can be condensed to a much smaller size without affecting the quality of the picture. Free resources like Squoosh can do this for you.
2. Dynamic content and ads
Loading ads on a web page is one of the main causes of a bad CLS score. This can be down to elements on the page shifting to accommodate dynamic ads, which makes for a poor user experience. A smart implementation method, such as allocating size attributes or CSS aspect ratio boxes for all ads, videos, and image elements, is one way to reduce content shifting. Some companies may use a plugin or coding at the top of the website to place the ads. However, this could to a slower website, impacting the user experience negatively and indirectly affecting rankings. Also, never insert content on top of existing content, except in response to specific user interactions, as this ensures any layout shift that occurs. For example, when you click a CTA button and a form appears is an exception.
3. Plugin-centric web economy
4. Too much code
When should I start?
Google’s rollout of the new algorithm began in mid-June, so it’s worth getting a start on reviewing how well your site scores on page speed tests. Websites that rank well tend to have higher Core Web Vitals scores, and this trend is set to continue as Google places greater emphasis on user experience.