Page Experience Google update
We now have a deadline around when the Core Web Vitals measurements impact rankings – May of 2021. Let’s talk about how to prepare.
Hello! And thanks for listening to SEO tips today.
Google has announced that the metrics measured in their Core Web vitals report data will impact rankings in May 2021, as well as previous metrics like web usability, web safety, and interstitials.
It will be an aggregated ranking signal.
Here’s the announcement:
The new page experience ranking factor will include:
- Load Speed (‘Largest Contentful Paint’ factor from Core Web Vitals)
- Responsiveness (‘First Input Delay’ from Core Web Vitals)
- Visual Layout Stability (‘Cumulative Layout Shift’ from Core Web Vitals)
- Whether URLs are mobile-friendly
- Safe and Clean Website Code (Safe Browsing with no Malware)
- Use of HTTPS Encryption
- No Intrusive Interstitials
What are the metrics, and what are good measurements?
The three core elements are a part of Google Lighthouse and include:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This metric measures the time it takes for a page’s primary content to load. According to Google, load times under 2.5 seconds are good, and over 4 seconds is poor.
- First Input Delay (FID): This metric measures the amount of time it takes after loading the page for a user to be able to interact with the page. According to Google, 100 milliseconds or less is good, and anything over 300 milliseconds is poor.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This metric measures whether items shift while loading, and the lower the CLS, the better – Google says that .1 is good and higher than .25 is poor.
How do you go about benchmarking your existing site?
You can find these metrics in:
- Google Search Console’s Core Web Vitals report
And in that report, you can find recommendations for improvement using Page Speed Insights and Chrome Lighthouse. It’s essential to keep in mind that while the report shows you a range for “good” URLs, reports have demonstrated that URLs ranking #1 in Google search had average mobile page load times of 1.10 seconds.
And how about new sites?
And if you’re working on a new site and need to measure Core Web Vitals before launch, I recommend the following:
- Screaming Frog with the Pagespeed API
- Or Deepcrawl
Both of which run off of lab data.
And if your site allows for crawling from unknown IPs, there are a bunch of other tools that can assist and let you check in bulk, including:
Let’s talk about how to set up reporting to track improvements?
There’s a CRUX Dashboard in Google Data Studio, giving you a percentage of improvement for your site but doesn’t pull URL specific data. There is also a Google Sheet that pings the Pagespeed API that does something similar.
Lighthouse also comes with various options to work it into your workflow.
Here are a few tips about troubleshooting the data on your own:
For more accurate local results using the Web Vitals Extension and Chrome Dev Tools, remember to empty your cache data or hold down ctrl + F5 to do a hard refresh in Chrome (on Windows) to do a hard refresh in your browser.
If you’re looking for an easy solution and have some budget, Foo. software has a web-vitals code for $10/mo for unlimited URLs, which comes with a dashboard. Once you have an account, you can also use their Google Data Studio Lighthouse connector and pull the data in your GDS reports.
Here’s what to look for in the reporting to make improvements:
There’s a great list of tips from @ShaneJones, which includes:
- Reducing server response time by using a CDN
- Reduce render-blocking JS and CSS by minifying and adding the code inline
- Making sure images are optimized and compressed and are at an appropriate size. Maybe look at an image CDN and lazy loading.
- Compression – Use Gzip as minimum
- Minify and compress your JS
- And defer the loading of anything that is unused or split the code.
So that’s your tip for today. Set up the reporting to benchmark your site’s web core vitals – perhaps by sending them as an event into your Google Analytics, and if you’re working on a new site, make sure to crawl with the web core vitals added to assess your site’s mobile UX before launch.
Thanks for listening. Come back tomorrow for another SEO tip.
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