What is the Web Core Vital Update?

Back in May 2020, Google introduced Core Web Vitals to the SEO world. And while this has resulted in a lot of panic, Google understood the importance of the pandemic and how it superseded other changes, so the tech giant has released all guidelines about Core Web Vitals to allow enough time to prepare for their implementation. Back then, they said there was no immediate need to take action.

Now that we are in 2022, these new ranking signals should be part of your SEO strategy instead of remaining on the back burner.

But what are Core Web Vitals? According to Google, these measure and evaluate the speed, responsiveness, and stability of websites. For a site owner, this means opportunities to boost your ranking if you do it right.

Core Web Vitals have three components: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). Let’s go through each one and what you can do to optimize for them.

Largest Contentful Paint

LCP refers to the amount of time it takes for a web page’s largest content asset to load. The loading speed of your page impacts the experience of the user, and therefore you must aim for a loading speed of 2.5 seconds or faster to get a good LCP. If your page needs more than 4 seconds to load, it is considered to have a poor LCP.

You can improve the LCP of your page by removing any unnecessary third-party scripts, which apparently slow down a page by 34 ms for each script. You can also upgrade your web host. Remember that web hosts also update the way they fetch and load data on your site, which means that better hosting results in a faster loading time overall.

Lazy loading is one more feature you can set up to improve your LCP. This means certain elements such as images will only load once a user scrolls down your page. On top of this, you can choose to remove large elements that slow down your page. Refer to Google PageSpeed Insights to help you identify these elements.

Bulky CSS can also delay your LCP times, so experts in SEO in Hong Kong recommend changing them.

First Input Delay

FID refers to how long it takes for a site to respond to the first interaction done by the user on a certain page.

When it comes to FID, it is understandable that not all pages will require interactivity from the user. However, for those pages that do need to be interactive, your aim is 100 ms for your FID to be considered good. Over 300 ms gets you a poor FID.

Improving your site’s FID will rely on a couple of script improvements. JavaScript elements, for instance, need to be minimized or deferred so that the browser can first load the page and the user can interact.

All non-critical third-party scripts, including heatmaps, may hurt your FID and should be removed. SEO experts recommend using a browser cache to help load your content faster. This also helps your user’s browser load JavaScript faster.

Cumulative Layout Shift

CLS is all about the unexpected layout shifts that occur during the lifespan of the page. A score of 0.1 or lower means your page’s CLS is good, while anything over 0.25 means poor CLS.

Thankfully, improving the CLS score of your page only requires some changes to how elements on the page are displayed. First on your list is to use set size attribute dimensions for any media you add to your page. This includes videos, images, GIFs, and infographics. When your browser knows the exact size to allocate for these elements, they will not change as the page loads fully.

Ad elements on your page should also have a reserved space. Remember that elements moving around the page will impact your CLS score, and when an ad pops up out of nowhere, this will mean the content will move up, down, or to either side.

SEO experts also recommend adding UI elements below the fold so that they don’t push content down when a user expects them to stay in a certain position.

Aside from these signals for loading, interactivity, and visual stability, you’d also do well to continue to make improvements for mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS, and intrusive interstitial guidelines. With all these as part of your SEO plan in 2022, you will be ahead of the curve.

If you need more help on your site’s SEO, contact Concinnity and talk to our specialists.

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