Google’s Plan To Provide Ranking Boosts Based On Core Web Vitals

This May, Google plans to provide ranking boosts to websites based on performance. This is great news for newer websites or newly designed websites. For years the age of a website and the number of links pointing to a website has been a core factor in how a website ranks. This has given an unfair advantage to older businesses. New businesses can often struggle and get frustrated when they see older businesses with underperforming websites outrank them. Google means to address this by giving businesses with better performance a boost in ranking. But there is a deadline. Google will only apply these rank boosts for websites that meet minimum standards for 3 core web vitals.

What Are The Core Web Vitals

No matter what type of business you are you will want to get this rank boost. But in order to do that you will need to meet Google’s standards for three measurements of website performance. These measurements include:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This is a measurement of how long it takes for the main content on a page to load. According to Google, this should take no longer than 2.5 seconds. LCP doesn’t require all of the content to load, but just the main content above the fold. This means that certain plugins designed to load assets further down the page after the above the fold area is fully loaded can be very helpful.
  • First Input Delay (FID): This is a measurement of how long it takes before a user can interact with the page. This includes the ability to scroll or click. Google will reward websites that can do this in under 100 milliseconds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This is a measurement of how often a user experiences a layout shift. As a website loads elements may suddenly move or shift position. This is usually caused by certain elements taking longer to load. Pages should maintain a CLS score of less than 0.1.

How Do You Find Your Scores & Data For Core Web Vitals

Because Google is providing the rank boosts based on these scores, you should use a Google tool to find out how your website is performing. There are 6 tools provided by Google that measure the core web vitals.

  • Google Search Console: Google Search Console is a great tool to not only monitor performance but also check for errors and to submit sitemaps so that Google can crawl your website even quicker. Back in 2019, Google added speed tests to search console.
  • Lighthouse: Recently Lighthouse has been upgraded to Lighthouse 6.0 it is Google’s main tool for measuring performance scores.
  • Chrome Devtools: Chrome DevTools is a collection of tools for website developers that they can use to troubleshoot performance issues for their websites.
  • Web Vitals Extension: This Google Chrome web browser extension makes it easy to look up your performance metrics as you browse the web. Simply install the extension and run tests on the webpage you are already on.
  • Chrome User Experience Report: The Chrome UX Report provides real user experience and real-world data to show how websites are performing. Because of the upcoming rank boost, this tool has recently added the core web vitals to its dashboard. This does require some level of setup to get it working for your website.
  • PageSpeed Insights: This tool was recently updated and works in tandem with Lighthouse 6.0. Not only does it provide data on a variety of web vitals but it actually highlights your Core Web Vitals with a blue ribbon and recommends some changes.

How Do You Fix Your Core Web Vitals?

There is no one size fits all solution for fixing your core web vitals. If any of your web vitals fall below the standards set by Google, you should first troubleshoot what is causing the problem. A common problem could be the server your website is hosted on. Your LCP is greatly impacted by the strength of your website hosting provider’s server. Google’s speed tools luckily provide. Another common problem is large images that take too long to load. Optimizing photo size can greatly improve loading times for your website. Additionally caching plugins and optimizing your CSS, Javascript, and HTML can greatly impact your LCP.

Get Help Making Your Site Faster

At Boston Web Marketing we are constantly staying on top of any benefits or potential issues that the Google algorithm may cause for our clients. If you want to get the most out of your website, we would be happy to provide a free website audit that can help you get your website’s core web vitals in the correct range prior to the May update.

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