Getting a Pulse on Google’s Core Web Vitals

What are core web vitals and why are they so vital in the first place? Are they really that significant in my business’s quest toward the top of search engine results, like Google? As part of an annual client event called the Americaneagle.com Forum, select colleagues shared a detailed introduction to Google’s Core Web Vitals.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is important for every website. Core Web Vitals, while only one of many factors within search algorithms, has become a key contributor to achieving success within the art and science of SEO. In every effort to improve SEO, the goal of perfection may be unattainable. The primary goal for successful businesses is to outperform the competition within their market.  

Websites that apply the best practices toward fast downloads and user-friendly experiences are given higher scores. The higher-ranking scores boost those websites further up search engine results pages (SERPs). Websites with better performance and interactivity have more opportunities to rank higher and show up within featured search results.

There are three main factors that make up Core Web Vitals. They are Largest Contentful Paint, First Input dDelay, and Cumulative Layout Shift.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

The first Core Web Vital is Google’s LCP rating. Simply put, this rating represents the time it takes a website to show the main page content on the screen, ready for interaction.

How many times have you clicked on a website in search of something and ended up leaving because the content took too long to load? If visitors can access your content faster, the odds of them staying on the page and interacting with your content increase.

The LCP is scored at the page level. To be able to meet user experience standards set by Google, an individual page’s content must load in less than 2.5 seconds. If loading time is more than that, you’re going to receive a low LCP score. LCP can be different for each type of page. For example, a product image might be the most important content on a product page while an H1 headline is most important for a blog.

First Input Delay (FID)

The first Core Web Vital is Google’s LCP rating. Simply put, this rating represents the time it takes a website to show the main page content on the screen, ready for interaction.

How many times have you clicked on a website in search of something and ended up leaving because the content took too long to load? If visitors can access your content faster, the odds of them staying on the page and interacting with your content increase.

The LCP is scored at the page level. To be able to meet user experience standards set by Google, an individual page’s content must load in less than 2.5 seconds. If loading time is more than that, you’re going to receive a low LCP score. LCP can be different for each type of page. For example, a product image might be the most important content on a product page while an H1 headline is most important for a blog.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

The core web vital metric CLS represents the visual stability of the page. If a button appears in a certain place during the initial page load, but then jumps to a different spot due to another element loading, that is a layout shift. Layout shift is not a great experience for users.

Google’s benchmark for a CLS rating is 0.1 and below. Scores are computed mathematically based on the amount of the screen content that shifts and the distance the layout shifts. A rating between 0.1 and .25 needs improvement, and anything more than that is poor.

Keep in mind that CLS is separately measured for desktop and mobile. Testing should be done for both.

LCP, FID, CLS

What Tools Can I Use to Test My Core Web Vitals?

There are two main data categories when measuring Core Web Vitals, field data and lab data. Field data is gathered from real site users. Lab data is gathered in a controlled environment without involvement from real site users.

Testing Core Web Vitals via field data is best accomplished with the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX). This experience data reflects millions of websites and users who have opted into this research. A CrUX dashboard is available within Google’s Data Studio.

For lab data testing of Core Web Vitals, there are many tools that are popular, dependable, and free. Google Lighthouse, Pagespeed Insights, GTMetrix and WebPageTest.org are among the most frequently used.

Americaneagle.com would like to help you and your business maximize your Core Web Vitals performance. Identify the right strategies for your business before your competition calls us first. Contact Americaneagle.com today to get started.


About Author

Rex Paisley Americaneagle.com Blog Author
Rex Paisley is a Senior Marketing Specialist with Americaneagle.com. He is a career creative professional who has authored print and digital media across a wide range of industries. A competitive spirit, he enjoys unpacking the success factors behind the many wins with clients. He and his wife have two sport-loving teenage sons. Their family time is shared, mostly, at basketball gymnasiums and baseball fields.


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