what are core web vitals

What Are Core Web Vitals?

SEO is a fluid thing; constantly evolving. There are always changes and updates based on Google and the changes to their algorithm. One of the more bigger changes is how Google uses Core Web Vitals to measure a user’s experience on your web site. If you want to rank higher you need to make sure your vitals are up to par or you can be penalized by Google.

Core Web Vitals are a set of standardized metrics from Google that help developers, designers and website owners understand how users experience a web page. Even though Core Web Vitals were created for developers, these tools can be used by all website owners because they break down the real-world experience of a user on their web pages.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

Largest Contentful Paint is a Core Web Vitals metric that people can use to assess user experience and see if a user will find a page useful based on the render time of the largest blocks visible to an audience.

It’s no secret that the longer a page takes to load the less likely a user will be to remain on the web page. Nobody like to wait for things to load. Heavy graphics or videos right at the top of the page will drag your LCP score down and will also lead users to flee your page.

First Input Delay (FID)

First Input Delay measures input latency (the time it takes a page element to respond from a user’s input) to identify pages that could cause your audience frustration.

FID technically measures how long it takes something to happen on a page like a link click or opening an accordion tab . So in theory it’s a page speed score, but it goes further than that and measures the time it takes for users to actually do something on your page.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Website owners, designers and developers need to make it as easy as possible to engage with links and buttons on a site to drive sales and conversions. Cumulative Layout Shift is a metric that identifies links or buttons that shift after a web page has loaded. It also reflects the level of difficulty users will have when they’re trying to engage with elements on your website once the page fully renders.

UX and design are important components of a good overall user experience. Users don’t take too kindly to elements on your webpage shifting around they’re trying to look at a product or read a passage on your site. With the CLS metric, it helps determine if images or links shift on the page so developers and designers can improve the user experience which helps with click through rates and online store purchases.

How to Improve Your Core Web Vitals Score

Optimize Your Images

Heavy images take a long time to load. You need to compress each of your images to make sure they are as small as possible. If you’re using WordPress there are plugins that will help minimize the file size of your image.

Also your images for your website don’t need to be above 72dpi. While high-res images are important, they’re a hinderance when it comes to page loading speed.

Lazy loading of images is also another great way to speed up your site. Instead of loading all the images on your webpage at once, with lazy loading only loads the images once the users start to scroll down.

Speed up Your Server

This is more for the web developers. Adding caching to your server helps with page load speeds. Every time a user requests to access your website, the server must fetch all necessary files to load your website. This impacts the response time of your server, especially when many people are trying to access the same files at the same time. It keeps recently requested files in memory and displays them immediately when a user requests the same files, thus increasing your server speed.

Use a CDN

A content delivery network (CDN) refers to a geographically distributed group of servers that work together to provide fast delivery of Internet content. Instead of having one server serving all your website content to users all over the country and potentially the world, a CDN will deliver content to the user from a server that is closer to the user geographically. CDNs help will page loading and speed times.

Optimize Your CSS and JavaScript

Like optimizing images, your CSS and JavaScript files need to be optimized as well. If you’re using WordPress every theme and plugin has it’s own set of CSS and JavaScript files it uses. Imagine having 10 plugins and multiplying that by the number of CSS and JavaScript files your server has load in order to render a web page. It slows down the loading process immensely.

You can minify both your CSS and JavaScript files to help them load faster. You can consolidate all those files into one file so the web server is making request after request to get the files. You can also minimize the number of plugins you use as well.

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