A website is only as good as its ranking on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and the ranking is earned by only how good the website is.
You have a website and it needs to show up on the search engines, especially the Google search engine. Well, it’s not a big deal to get that done.
However, the rub lies in reaching the first rank on the first page of Google SERP. Millions will try but only one will succeed. Sure, it now looks as difficult as either the takeoff or the landing of Apollo 13.
That might have been a bit of an exaggeration but yes, it isn’t an easy job to get a desired rank on the much competitive SERP.
A search engine thrives on its efficiency in providing accurate search results to its users. Since millions of people use the Google search engine regularly, it’s only natural for the search engine to know the wants and likes of its users.
Hence, in an attempt to improve the user experience, the search engine has frequently rolled out new criteria on which the quality of a website is ascertained and given a rank accordingly.
In other words, there are various factors demanded by the Google search engine from websites to ensure the best user experience for the audience using the search engine.
This is where comes Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which in simple terms would be the steps taken to optimize a website as per the requirements of a search engine.
What Is Core Web Vitals?
Google Core Web vitals is the latest criteria by which Google ranks websites on its SERP. Presently, Core Web Vitals is the hottest topic in the SEO community.
In the end, only by improving them can a website provide a better user experience and simultaneously improve its page ranking.
Essentially, Core Web Vitals has an asset of user-friendly metrics regarding speed, responsiveness, and visual stability which helps website owners determine their website’s user experience.
It is worth noting that earlier, Google used to gauge user experience based on whether a website offered HTTPS, was mobile-friendly, and if the site is free of intrusive interstitials.
However, currently, the three factors have been added with Core Web Vitals which together work to send signals to Google concerning a website’s “Page Experience”.
Thus, websites will have to pass the Core Web Vitals assessment to achieve growth and success online. They will have to score good for all three Core Web Vitals which are, the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
This article will regularly make use of the terms field data and lab data so it’s better to first understand the difference between the two.
Field data is gathered from real users using the Chrome User Experience Report. Meanwhile, data gathered from within a controlled environment devoid of real users is called Lab data.
Core Web Vitals is divided into Core Web Vitals and non-Core Web Vitals. This is further divided into Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) while the non-Core Web Vitals is made of Total Blocking Time (TBT), First Contentful Paint (FCP), and Time to Interactive (TTI).
There are so many divisions because each metric is tasked to measure how “good” one part of the Page Experience is.
Why Are Core Web Vitals Important?
There are many reasons why core web vitals are important. Google is the leading search engine in the world and it’s a dream of any website owner to achieve the best rank on SERP.
Following Google’s Core Web Vitals will not only improve the ranking of your website but also boost the user experience of your audience along with site credibility.
Here are three other reasons why core web vitals are important:
- Great user experience ensures great returns through conversions. Besides, visitors love fast sites which are easy to use and gadget-friendly irrespective of their location.
- Although it has become a ranking factor as of mid-June 2021, it may not cause a big shift right away. That is, content relevance still retains its importance. However, in time it’s sure to gain importance.
- Having a good Core Web Vitals score will decrease bounce rate due to the good user experience. Meanwhile, Google has given hints that they may start displaying a “Good Page Experience” badge in their search results. If or when implemented, this will naturally influence search engine user behavior resulting in more clicks for websites bearing the badge.
How to Improve Core Web Vitals?
There is no one size fits all SEO solution. It varies across industries and reacts differently to different factors. However, taking a broader view of optimizing your site can be a recommended path.
Google themselves claims that many elements work together to come up with scores and there are no specific points to bring about drastic change.
Google only provides insights into your website through Core Web vitals. It only shows what’s slowing down the website or hurting the user experience.
Some tools advise on how to fix issues. However, it is left up to how you interpret the data and experiment with remedial measures to achieve the desired outcome.
Having said that, here are things you or your developer can do to improve your Core Web Vitals:
1. Image Optimization
This is an age-old rule to follow for SEO. The importance of image optimization cannot be stressed enough. Large images are often the largest contentful paint (LCP) for any given site and therefore they must be optimized to load quickly.
Otherwise, a single big unoptimized image on your homepage or landing page can cause much harm to your SEO plans. A quick loading page with a big image is a wonderful welcome to your visitors.
Many tools can help in image optimization. The aim is to serve the image in the right size and compression without loss of quality. Besides, you can also adopt modern formats like WebP which deliver high-quality images at a lower size.
Your CMS can also have tools that will help in improving loading images. For example, WordPress has automatic lazy loading of images which only loads those images that appear on the screen. It loads the rest of the images only when the user interacts with that screen.
2. Increase Server Speed
The speed of your website is directly proportional; to the speed of your server. Hence you can increase the site speed metrics by getting the server to respond quicker.
Servers handling complex sites are usually busy with handling requests and serving files and scripts. Hence it is well-advised to optimize such processes.
There are several parts involving optimizing your server. You will first have to upgrade your hosting plan which in itself is the easiest, most effective way of improving your site performance.
You need to select the one that offers good performance at a fair price. Also, make use of the recent version of PHP. Besides, you may need to upgrade the hardware if you find that lacking.
3. Check Critical CSS
As it is, CSS loads late and thus makes the whole loading sequence of the website longer. Hence it is necessary to eliminate render-blocking CSS and enhance the loading of your site.
4. Improve Third-Party Scripts Loading:
Websites can get slow due to external reasons like the use of ad scripts. One can hope that the ads perform in line with the SEO but if the ads load slowly, then it’s time to change the ad provider.
In other words, your website can be slowed down by third-party scripts. At times like this, you need to ask the question do I need this script so badly.
After all, compromising on a third-party script due to a minor profit might turn out to be a costly mistake for your SEO.
In conclusion, optimizing site speed and user experience is very important to your SEO plan. It may not seem as simple as waving a wand and presto! the website become super-fast.
Instead, it gets technical and complicated very fast but with an excellent web developer like OneCity, you can easily get more insights into the new Core Web Vitals metrics and implement necessary fixes to improve your Core Web Vitals score.
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