Google has announced that early next year it will be introducing a new ranking signal called “Page Experience Signal”, which will include Core Web Vitals to the existing user experience signals in place to help evaluate the overall user experience on a page.
The Core Web Vitals that will be evaluated, as illustrated above, are loading speeds, responsiveness and visual stability, which will be measured alongside mobile friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS and intrusive interstitials. Google has the following definitions for the Core Web Vitals measures:
- Largest Contentful Paint: The time it takes for a page’s main content to load. An ideal LCP measurement is 2.5 seconds or faster.
- First Input Delay: The time it takes for a page to become interactive. An ideal measurement is less than 100 seconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift: The amount of unexpected layout shift of visual page content. An ideal measurement is less than 0.1.
Though by no means replacing the need for strong, relevant content, Google has opted to include these Core Web Vitals in its ranking factors as a way of ensuring site owners are focusing on building websites that people want to visit and have a good experience on. That’s not to say that a page of content that’s highly relevant to a query would never rank well, even with a sub-par page experience. However, if two pages have equally strong content for a query, the page with a higher page experience signal will outrank the other in the SERPs.
As our Lead Front-End Developer Steve has discussed previously, website performance has a huge impact on the overall conversion rate of a website, so the benefits of getting your Core Web Vitals right go well beyond just ranking well in the SERPs. Studies have consistently shown that the quicker a webpage loads, the more likely a user is to convert, alongside other factors including: page design, page layout and the strength of the copy and imagery on the page.
In terms of measuring of these Core Web Vitals, Google is busy working on a plugin for Chrome, which will allow you to instantly evaluate any page, but in the meantime, you can measure the individual components using the usual tools such as Search Console, PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse.
From our perspective, this change, once implemented, will give a far more rounded view of a web page, including not only the quality of the content for answering a specific query, but also the technical build of the web page and its subsequent user experience. At Avenue, we have always aimed to ensure that both the technical and content side of our clients’ websites are given due consideration, so we anticipate seeing positive results from these changes when they come into play.
There’s no doubt that these new Core Web Vitals highlight the importance of technical SEO more than ever before. We're on hand to perform technical audits of websites and look at ways we can work with you to improve your website’s front-end performance.