Google’s main goal is to provide search suggestions that are the most relevant and useful to its searchers. As consumer needs and expectations change, so do Google’s algorithms. At first, matching keywords was the best way to meet users’ needs. Then, consumer experience became a top priority. Now, in their latest algorithm update, Google will also reward websites that provide the most efficient page speed and load times.
In the upcoming PageSpeed update, Google’s introduction of Core Web Vitals (CWVs) will reveal a series of technical SEO metrics that are designed to assist marketers, developers, and business owners in improving their websites’ user experience. By understanding how the CWVs work, you can begin to adjust your SEO strategy to ensure you provide a positive user experience and secure higher rankings in the search results.
How to Measure CWVs and Page Speed
Google’s new CWVs will measure a website’s effectiveness and page speed by assessing three metrics:
LCP (Largest Contentful Paint): The rate at which the largest graphic or text block above the fold is visible to the viewer. For 75% of page loads, LCP should be less than 2.5 seconds.
FID (First Input Delay): How long a page takes to react to a user’s command. Keep FID below 100 milliseconds for 75% of pages.
CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift): When a page appears, does it load fully and remain stable, or does it shift for the user at the last second? Seventy-five percent of your pages should have a CLS score of 0.1 or less.
To measure and track these elements, Google provides two main page-performance assessment tools.
1. Google Search Console for Field Data
The Google Search Console page experience report helps you assess site performance for actual users. You can identify areas where breakdowns are occurring and find ways to improve the customer experience. This field data reveals how your page loads in real-time, how well it’s performing on different machines, and whether people are able to load and interact with your page.
2. Google Lighthouse for Lab Data
Google Lighthouse delivers data based on testing conducted in a controlled environment. These results reveal technical glitches and areas to improve the functionality of a website.
These reports help Google determine your website’s CWVs and measure your page speed for optimal performance and user experience.
What the Google PageSpeed Update Means for SEO
With a new emphasis on this page speed ranking factor, it’s important to understand what the update means for SEO. Since CWVs are now a significant element for search engine results, businesses will need to take page speed into account when designing web content for SEO. Not only do they need to create material that is useful and resonates with their audience. They have to be sure their sites load properly, smoothly, and efficiently.
This requires a shift in mindset from providing a positive user experience in terms of content to terms of page performance. Teams will need to consider page layout and use of video and photo files that might bog down load times. Pages with slow response and load times don’t provide the best value to your viewers. Google will rank them accordingly.
How to Improve Scores
Before you can begin to improve your CWV scores, you must first understand your website’s issues. Luckily, Google’s webmaster tools help to measure CWVs. They take about a month to gather and assess data, so don’t waste any time in beginning this problem solving process.
Start by employing Google Search Console to pinpoint pages whose field data indicates problematic areas. Then, use PageSpeed Insights to identify field and lab problems on those pages. If your CWV scores are showing up green, you have nothing to worry about. Otherwise, you’ll need to resolve those issues. You can do this in one of two ways:
One by one: Assess each problem individually by allocating development resources through Google’s tools.
Install software: An automated software solution fixes the problems while taking the burden off of you and your team.
Either way, you’ll want to invest some time in this task to boost your CWV scores and work your way toward higher SERPs. Doing so can gain you more visibility and help drive traffic to your website.
Work with a Professional SEO Company
Managing and developing websites that meet Google’s ever-changing algorithms is a challenging task. Kinetiks Consulting is a digital marketing company that can help you develop an effective SEO strategy that boosts rankings and generates leads. From customized content to improved page speed and response times, Kinetiks Consulting understands the front and back end of creating a website that converts.
Contact us today to schedule a free SEO consultation.