Whether you’re working to improve your content marketing campaign or you’re trying to build a better experience for your website visitors, core web vitals are crucial to your website ranking and SEO performance. Though they’ve been around for a few years now, the Chrome dev team recently researched the success of the core web vitals and released a list of recommendations to help you improve them in 2023.
What Are Core Web Vitals?
Web vitals are a set of specific factors that Google uses to determine the level of a webpage’s user experience. Basically, when someone visits your website, Google tries to understand how valuable, interesting, or engaging that visitor found your content. In order to do so, Google measures certain variables and metrics to determine how that visit went. Some of these vitals include how mobile friendly your site is or if it uses HTTPS versus HTTP in the URL.
But there are a few core web vitals that Google recommends you prioritize over others. Those core vitals include:
When determining the speed at which your webpage loads, Google measures the largest contentful paint (LCP). The LCP is based on how quickly the largest piece of content on the page loads. The slower the content loads, the more likely someone is to bounce from the page because it’s not fulfilling their needs quickly enough.
When measuring visual stability, Google uses cumulative layout shift (CLS), which measures how much the page changes or shifts once everything is fully loaded. For example, think about a time when you’ve loaded a webpage and started to read something, when suddenly the text jumps halfway down the page. Most often, this is due to an image, advertisement, or other chunk of text that loads slower than other pieces of content on the page. When this occurs, the page layout shifts, causing a poor experience for the reader or user.
For interactivity, Google measures the first input delay (FID). This metric determines how long it takes someone to interact with your page once they get there. That might include clicking a link, navigating a menu, or logging into their account. For pages that are mostly content, such as blogs, the FID metric isn’t always important. But for pages where user input is expected, like log-in pages or polls, it’s important for users to be able to interact with the page quickly and understand exactly how they can perform certain actions.
Why Are Core Web Vitals Important?
Core web vitals are crucial to your content marketing campaign and SEO efforts because their measurements have been proven to correlate with how others respond to your webpage and content once they land on your site. If someone lands on your site and it takes too long to load, the text jarringly moves while they’re reading it, or they have trouble figuring out how to navigate your page, they will more than likely bounce from your site and move on to the next link in Google’s search results.
Google uses that information to determine the quality of your page and if ranking another link or page higher might result in a better experience for the user. Focusing on improving your core web vitals can help improve that user experience and ensure your website is fully optimized to rank better on Google, build your brand awareness more effectively, and keep your audience engaged with your digital content.
Google’s Most Recent Recommendations
The Chrome dev team has spent the last year observing data for core web vitals and created a list of recommendations and tips to help people develop their website to be more effective and engaging to its visitors.
Some of the highlights for those recommendations include:
Largest Contentful Paint
Here are some tips for improving your LCP metric:
- Adding Images to HTML: When adding images to your website, make sure those images are discoverable from the HTML document source. Essentially, that means ensuring the images have standard HTML attributes so the browser can quickly discover them and load them onto the page.
- Prioritizing Image Loading: Prioritizing your images can also help them load more quickly. This can be done by simply adding a fetchpriority=”high” attribute to the <img> or <link> tag on the page’s HTML.
First Input Delay
Here are some tips for improving your FID metric:
- Avoid Large Rendering Processes: If your site has processes that require a lot of rendering, such as heavy design and images or instances of animation, it can also cause delays in your site’s responsiveness. Talk with your development team about ways to reduce the rendering on your site and ensure it’s running as efficiently as possible.
Cumulative Layout Shift
Here are some tips for improving your CLS metric:
- Set Sizes for Content: In the CSS of your webpage, you can set fixed sizes for the images you want to load. This can ensure that the page stays in a similar shape and format from the moment it opens to the moment the last image loads.
- Avoid Unnecessary Transitions or Animations: Though animated banners or elements on your page might seem like a great way to improve user engagement, it can actually take away from their experience by shifting and moving things on the page. Making some animations static or removing them entirely might help with your CLS.
Core Web Vitals Aren’t The End of It
Though updating and improving your core web vitals are important for the satisfaction of your users and the ranking of your content, it’s not the only thing that’s going to help. The best way to improve your search engine rankings and to engage with your audience is to, first and foremost, develop content they want to see. Creating high-quality blogs and videos for your content marketing campaign can ensure that people stay on your site and engage with your business.
Randall Reilly currently offers long-term content marketing services to help your business develop quality content and strengthen its marketing efforts. Our team works with you to develop a winning content strategy that entices your target audience and improves your organic traffic. Contact us today to see how we can help with your content marketing campaign and pair your core web vital improvements with excellent content.