Google is now using Core Web Vitals as ranking signals - what should you do?

By Istvan Siposs, 2021-07-21
Per Google Search Central, Google is now incorporating Core Web Vitals in their search ranking signals. These signals indicate how users perceive their experience with a given web page.

What are Core Web Vitals?

In the past Google used page speed as a measurement of how "responsive" a web page was, meaning how quickly a page was available after the user typed in an address or clicked on a link. Over time it became apparent that how fast a page gets fully loaded has little to do with the overall page experience. When the everyday user clicks a link, he or she wants to see that "something is happening", wants to get a quick first screenful view, and wants to be able to interact with the page quickly. Core Web Vitals aim to provide a measurement of how well a page performs in these areas. The three indicators are Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).

How to measure Core Web Vitals?

There are several tools available to measure these signals, but perhaps the easiest and most widely used one of all is Google Page Speed Insights. Simply enter a URL from your store and you'll see a page speed score along with the Core Web Vitals scores as well as a number of recommendations on how to potentially improve the overall experience of the page. Some of the recommendations may be out of your control (typically those that have to do with the servers the web page is coming from), while others may or may not be changed depending on the individual circumstances of the site or page. As a rule of thumb, don't get hung up on the scores themselves; it's almost never possible to target individual scores or better nor should you make that your goal. Instead, try to improve in as may of the recommended areas as possible.

We can help

If you find that your web site is lacking in these areas we can help. We can optimize both the overall speed of your web pages and the Core Web Vitals scores in particular. While in the past it was enough for Google if your site was responsive (meaning it was usable both on desktop and mobile devices), we found that the best way to improve all of these measurements is to set up optimized mobile-only templates using Yahoo's built-in "Mobile Storefront" feature. This feature was originally introduced as a sort of "band aid" solution when Google started requiring that sites be mobile-friendly, but now with the Core Web Vitals requirements, having mobile-optimized templates is an excellent addition to your responsive site.

Having a mobile storefront doesn't mean that you'll have a separate mobile domain (something like m.yoursite.com), but rather, when the Yahoo servers notice that the page is requested from a mobile device it will serve up the page using the mobile-only templates. If you want to improve your site's scores and make sure it is ready for the Core Web Vitals roll-out contact us for a review and estimate.
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