What are Core Web Vitals and Why are They Important for SEO?
SEO, or “search engine optimization” is an ever-changing field within the digital marketing industry. Google currently uses quality scores, authenticity, and bid amounts to determine which websites show up following a keyword search. This year Google released several new important metrics for SEO, including the addition of core web vitals in ranking metrics. Core web vitals measure the user experience of your website and account for things like security, mobile-friendly design, and layouts. At Local Blitz we stay up-to-date on the details of core web vitals and other SEO metrics to ensure that your content is consistently optimized. This article summarizes key elements of this change and what we are doing to enhance our clients’ page experience
Understanding Core Web Vitals
Core web vitals are Google metrics that were launched to measure the user experience of a website. Core web vitals include the below key elements:
- Mobile-friendly: Your website is optimized for a range of mobile phones and tablets
- Safe-browsing: The site is safe for users and free of malicious software or misleading content.
- HTTPS framework: All of your pages are served to the browser page in HTTPS
- Intrusive interstitials: The website doesn’t have issues covering the main content
- Loading times: How long the website takes to load with an average internet connection
Mobile-responsive design means that your website is optimized for a range of devices including mobile phones, tablets, and desktop computers. On a mobile-friendly website the pages load quickly in a clear and visually-attractive manner regardless of the user’s screen size. Responsiveness can be tracked with a metric called, “cumulative layout shift”. This measures how much content visually moves unexpectedly with changes in viewing type. In a mobile-optimized design the call-to-action buttons are clear and users can easily navigate menus, content, and forms. To test your website’s mobile responsiveness try loading the URL on your phone and tablet. You can also preview a website’s mobile displays within your browser by accessing the Developer Tools in the Google Chrome browser.
Secure Browsing Functionality
Core web vitals look for potential security issues for visitors to your site. The Google web vital metric will look for possible misleading content, malware, or other components that could present a risk for visitors that land on your website from a keyword search. At Local Blitz we can recommend content and web architecture best practices to avoid this pitfall. It’s also a good idea to check with your hosting service and web designer if you have more questions.
HTTPS, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure is a method that allows your computer or mobile device to communicate more safely with sites on the web. This protocol dictates how information will be encrypted, accepted, translated, displayed, and moved within the network. HTTPS was originally designed to facilitate communication between web sites and web browsers. You’ll often see the “http://” title in a site URL. HTTPS allows for improved authentication and helps protect information as it is exchanged between a user and a site.
An intrusive interstitial is considered anything that causes a barrier for your user in accessing the website. A common example may include web pop-ups that block the page. The pop-up blocks the main page and covers the primary content of the site, creating a frustrating experience for the user. At Local Blitz we help clients understand the impacts of a poorly-designed intrusive interstitial and suggest ways to improve this metric.
We’ve all experienced the frustration of landing on a website and waiting for the page to load. In some cases this is not caused by a bad internet connection but instead by long loading times for the website itself. Load time can be tracked by several metrics, including:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): How long it takes for the main page content to load. This should be less than 2.5 seconds.
- First Input Delay (FID): How long it takes before a user can interact (click on things) within the page. This should be less than 100 milliseconds.
Large media, poorly configured pages, or issues with the mobile design can all cause a delay.
Consider working with your digital marketing team to analyse the loading time and identify any issues that may be slowing it down.
New Labels in Search Results
Along with these changes Google may add labels to search results that indicate a good user experience. However a recent study has shown that the majority of websites are not optimized well enough according to Google’s web core vital standards and would not pass the assessment. To tackle this many digital marketing companies are using tools to evaluate and improve all user metrics. At Local Blitz we utilize the Google Search Console’s Core Web Vitals report to identify issues and areas for improvement to our core web vitals.
Reporting on Google Core Web Vitals
There are currently a few ways to measure and improve the core web vitals of your site. One tool is AMP, a web component framework designed to improve useability. In addition there are several browser extensions, online services, and Google Chrome development tools designed to make your core web vitals visible. At Local Blitz we utilize a combination of tools and techniques to track and report on your site’s core web vitals. As with all of our digital marketing services you will receive regular reporting on these metrics along with insights on how we are targeting any emerging issues.
About Local Blitz
Local Blitz is a full-service digital marketing company working with clients across the United States. We provide SEO analytics, social media marketing, keyword research, Google Ad management, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, and email marketing. Our data-driven processes are designed to optimize your return on investment. Get started by booking a complimentary consultation with our team today or read more about Google Ads on our blog.