Close to 99.9% of us can all agree by now that Core Web Vitals are vital to the way in which websites are experienced by users and judged by Google.
However, Core Web Vitals are only one aspect of the page experience – they’re not synonymous.
Core Web Vitals are a set of three metrics: First Input Delay, Cumulative Layout Shift, and Largest Contentful Paint.
First Input Delay measures the time from when a user first interacts with a page. Cumulative Layout Shift measures the aggregated score of all the unexpected shifts in layout. Largest Contentful Paint measures how long it takes from the page beginning to load to the largest block on the screen has loaded.
“The page experience search signals in the past have focused on a safe and user-friendly browsing experience for visitors, focusing on things such as mobile-friendliness of your website, having your HTTPS setup in place, and making sure that the visitor’s experience isn’t interrupted by intrusive interstitials,” said Diane Kulseth, senior solution expert at Siteimprove.
The Core Web Vitals are a subset of Google’s page experience. Together, they reflect a user’s experience loading any given page of a website.
To help ensure content doesn’t get pushed down when other items and blocks load, try to align every element on the page – whether it’s setting a minimum height for fonts or setting height and width attributes for images.
But while Core Web Vitals are important, to make sure that websites are future-proofed, managers and marketers need to make sure that the rest of the page experience metrics are optimized.
The page experience
Other page experience metrics on Google also matter! The problem for those that manage webpages is that, unlike Core Web Vitals that are neatly packaged into a bundle, there are so many metrics to keep in mind.
“With the launch of core vitals and this page experience update, does that mean that everything will fall apart?” asked Diane. “Will we see rankings tank? What does this actually look like in real life?”
“It’s very common to think Core Web Vitals [and page experience] changed everything about search,” added Diane. “But at the end of the day, quality relevant content is still what’s most important. When you hear about things like E-A-T, those are still the core components of a solid SEO strategy.”
“Core Web Vitals help to serve as a differentiator for those strong content websites to see who’s delivering this content in the most efficient manner and loading those pages as quickly as possible with the least amount of disruption to the end visitor,” she added.
Content that is relevant and of high quality will help to rank a webpage well. But the elements of the page experience has to be optimized in order to stand out among an ocean of other content on other pages.
These other additional metrics include:
HTTPS/security. Google gives preference to websites using HTTPS protocol over domains that are not HTTPS. They do this because HTTPS provides more security for users.
Mobile-friendliness. Websites that are mobile-optimized will simply perform better in search results. Admins must make sure that the content on their webpages is responsive and load quickly.
Intrusive interstitials. Popups such as ads very often block portions of pages which harm the user experience. Those websites that block important content with such elements – particularly on mobile – are going to score lower when it comes to page experience.
“An improved experience is certainly better for any of your visitors and your eventual consumers because they’re able to get to what’s most important to them,” said Diane. “This allows your pages to do that quickly and without any sort of obstacles in their way.”