Web Vitals are a essential a metrics that Google will start using to measure the user experience of your website. Now that we have that cleared up, I wanted to take a few minutes to give you some insight into ways you can use the FREE tools that Google give us to improve your site. Using new algorithms that Google will be using to measure the overall quality of the site you currently have.
What matters more than anything else? How fast your site loads.
LCP- Largest Contentful Paint
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures loading performance of your website. IF your pages take longer than 2.5 seconds to load the content on each page, we need to work on ways to improve the page loading speed. People don’t have the patients to wait for slow sites. Google will now use this a factor into their Web Vitals index. I may have mentioned that speed already impacts the way that Google ranks mobile sites, but if you didn’t read that article or want to read something NOT written by me, here is a great link for you (Google prioritizes faster mobile sites.)
FID – First Input Delay
Remember the saying you only have one chance at a first impression? That is true for the users on your website. If you keep them waiting it will now be qualified into the second bucket of new data that Google will take into consideration. This new metrics is called First Contentful Paint (FCP) (I included this article because I found it technical and yet easy for non-technical people to understand. Well done!). Not only is the page loading speed important, but equally important is how fast the user is able to “click” the buttons, and how fast the links, buttons, and page integrations respond for users.
CLS – Cumulative Layout Shift
Think of it this way, if the code like your Java Scripts are telling the browser to load the pictures and the pictures take forever to load, and the code tells the browser to look at the buttons after the pictures are loaded, it will cause a delay in the way that your site can be accessed by the end user. That is just one example. So it is important that the coding behind the site puts priority on the ease of use for the end user. More importantly In fact, 40% reported (Thanks Neil Patel) that they would abandon a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
The third new ranking factor will measure how much of a shift there is between the different user platforms. IF the code must drastically shift for the mobile user from the desktop experience this could change the way that Google will rank your pages. They are calling this the Cumulative Layout Shift.
What does this mean for anyone with a website?
Web Vitals are set to roll out in 2021 according to this article in the Chromium Blog. That means you have about 6 months to make changes to your website to become better from an end user perspective.
What are some tools I can use to gauge my page speed and load time?
If you have a WordPress website: https://wpengine.com/speed-tool/ is a great free tool to analyze the speed of your WordPress website. It only takes a few minutes and the report will help you understand what plugins and elements in your themes are taking longer to load.
For all websites, Google has always been a fan of offering us insight for things like keywords and phrases. They also offer a free tool to help you analyse the health of your website: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/