This is the first article in a six part series in which we’ll be diving into Core Web Vitals: what they are, how they impact the user experience of your website, and what improvements can be made to achieve better scores.

Core Web Vitals is a Google Service which provides unified guidance for quality signals that are essential to delivering a great user experience on the web.

Core Web Vitals first made an appearance in 2021 and has been evolving ever since.

The metrics

Core Web Vitals uses a set of metrics which focus on three aspects of the user experience – loading, interactivity, and visual stability. These metrics are explained below.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): How fast the content is loading

A webpage taking too long to load can result in bounced users (users navigating back to their previous page, away from your website). To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.

First Input Delay (FID): How quickly the content is interactive

Interactivity delays can result in frustrated users, damaging visitors’ impressions and preventing them from returning. To provide a good user experience, pages should have a FID of 100 milliseconds or less.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This is about visual stability – specifically, the extent to which the content is moving around on the page

Are website elements moving around too much when reading? This can create a confusing user experience, obscuring navigation and preventing users from navigating the site as intended. To provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of 0.1. or less.

The business impact

The user experience of a website can have a significant business impact. Your business and brand are most effective when they are consistent, and this extends to your website. Ensuring a positive experience for website users is essential if your goal is to increase engagement, communicate your message, and promote conversion. Missing the mark can mean that your organisation misses out on sales, support, and success.

Whether you’re a business owner, marketer, or developer, Web Vitals can help you quantify the experience of your site and identify opportunities to improve.

Philip Walton, Google Engineer

The SEO impact

Although Google still seeks to rank websites with the greatest information, adopting better Core Web Vitals can also lead to higher Google search rankings, as Google’s search results favour websites with a superior page experience. For examples where many pages may be quite similar in relevance, page experience can prove to be much more important for visibility in search.

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