Web Core Vitals Updates – Google and their need for speed
You may have heard about the latest update from Google which is all about what they term as the web core vitals, the aim of this update which was orginally planned for May 2021 but has been pushed back to June 21 with a staggered roll out through to the end of August 2021 is all about speed and improving the users experience. Google has since 2010 being taking a stick and carrot approach, follow the guidance and you get better rankings, go against their rules and you get pushed down, and usually to a page that gets hardly if any traffic.
So what are the web core vitals
The three main ones to focus on are
Largest Contentful Paint – which means how long it takes to load the largest element on a page.
First Input Delay – how long before a page becomes interactive
Cumulative layout shift – how much elements move around on a page.
Why are Google introducing the Web Core Vital update?
Website speed is a real issue and mobile devices are not fast due to their technology, size and processer limitations, also generation Z, the younger millenials are particularly impatient when it comes to having to wait for pages to load and become useable. Google has decided to act therefore, and to give an incentive to improve, and to be fair to them, they have given the web community good notice of this change, rather than just rolling out and tripping everyone up, which is their historical approach and even put back the launch to give webmasters more time to prepare.
Google have been moving in this direction since the 2010 when they rolled out their Panda algorithm and developed the technology to target sites based on compliance with metrics, including time on page. Their direction of travel is clear, faster higher quality sites with better user experience get rewarded whilst slower less rewarding user experiences get pushed down.
The trend is there, the issue is to make the trend your friend, by investing in your team and striving to make your website as good as possible and better than your competitors. That is an important aspect as Google benchmarks you against your niche and not against the wider web.
More about Core Web Vitals
More on LCP, FID, CLS: Here is more information on these specific metrics:
- LCP (largest contentful paint): The amount of time to render the largest content element visible in the viewport, from when the user requests the URL. The largest element is typically an image or video, or perhaps a large block-level text element. This is important because it tells the reader that the URL is actually loading.
- FID (first input delay): The time from when a user first interacts with your page (when they clicked a link, tapped on a button, and so on) to the time when the browser responds to that interaction. This measurement is taken from whatever interactive element that the user first clicks. This is important on pages where the user needs to do something, because this is when the page has become interactive.
- CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift): The amount that the page layout shifts during the loading phase. The score is rated from 0–1, where zero means no shifting and 1 means the most shifting. This is important because having pages elements shift while a user is trying to interact with it is a bad user experience.
The boundaries to keep within are as follows :-
You can meaure your sites compliance with these metrics, using the Google page speed insight tool https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
Now comes the hard part! It is really tough to get within these boundaries, as they are being measured for mobile and for desktop separately, Google now has two indexes, a mobile one and a desktop one, whilst it is not clear if penalities will be applied to one index and not the other, what we can say is being hit with a penalty will reduce your traffic and therefore online presence so if its both mobile and desktop it will hurt, but loosing out in either channel is not diserable.
Our own FD Capital Website
We recently launched a new version of our website, the one you are most likely reading now, and it took our team 6 week’s of hard work, to figure out how to optimise the code in such a way as to be able to get and stay within these boundaries, and our team has some of the top SEO guys in the UK within their midst.
What our team learnt is that mobile devices have limited processer capabilites compared to desktop devices, and therefore it is really challenging to design pages in such a way so that they are deliver the page you want users to see and experience whilst keeping within the above technical criteria. You have to fine tune your code, remove anything that is not essential and test and test using different devices until you get there.
A lot of businesses are going to get hit by this and not know why. It really isn’t easy to address this even knowing the issues. At FD Capital we are lucky as we planned to launch a new website in January anyway, and built in the need to be compliant with the new web core vitals criteria into the specification given to the development team.
We can easily see that companies may have to redesign their sites from scratch to be able to adapt to this new reality as some issue are just show stoppers.
What do our metrics look like?
As you can see after a lot of hard work, it is possible to have an attractive site and to keep within these tough criteria.
If you need help with your digital presence and not only a senior finance profession, then reach out to us and we will find an FD or CFO who is also a Search Marketing expert for your business.
We made use of caching, image optimisation, code refining and re-writing and many more steps to get to this point.
How can FD Capital Recruitment help?
We are a network of FD’s and CFO’s some of whom are also experts in SEO and online marketing, so if you need a senior financial professional either on a part-time, interim or permanent basis then talk with us, you might find we can resolve your online issues at the same time as your financial ones.
Neil Patel is one of the best search marketeers around, see his video on Web Core Vitals
We can really recommend watching Neil Patels video on Google Web Core Vitals.