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What You Need To Know About Google Core Web Vitals + How It Affects Your Website

What You Need To Know About Google Core Web Vitals + How It Affects Your Website

Google makes routine updates to the way that they rank websites.

They’ve always ranked websites based on a fixed set of criteria. The criteria affect how websites show up when you search for them.

Searching for “video production, St. Cloud”? The companies that show up on the top of the list have proven to Google that they’re a good result or a credible website that should be shown first. 

They’ve always had metrics that look at user experience. 

But in the past, you could trick or engineer the metrics in the background. You’d use keywords and descriptions to do this (basic SEO marketing). Or even backlinks from other websites that point to yours. 

Now, they’ve moved toward the user experience (UX).

What Affects User Experience

As a refresher, the user experience is just the overall experience you have when you visit the website.

Some things that affect UX are:

  • Is it easy to find what you need?
  • Is it fast?
  • Do all the links work?
  • Is it optimized for mobile and desktop in the best way?
  • Is it enjoyable to look at?

New Updates, Who Dis?

So, to make these criteria worth it, Google came up with an update in summer 2021.

They call it Core Web Vitals (CWV). It gives us an inside look at what they’re actually ranking for so that we can optimize our sites to be best suited for UX.

They made their criteria very clear so we aren’t left with a fun little mystery box of what might be affecting our traffic.

And it has a set of three guidelines that test for performance. This gets a little more technical, so hang with us here.

  1. Loading

They call this Largest Contentful Paint. This measures how long it takes for the largest piece of content on the page to load, like an image or block of test. Basically, how fast does the page load? 

  1. Interactivity

This is the First Input Delay. It all depends on how long it takes for the site to react to your first interaction. If you click a button that says, “call,” Google wants the site to respond lightning-fast for you to rank higher.

  1. Visual Stability

This last one is Cumulative Layout Shift. You know when you load a website and something else pops up, making you click something you totally didn’t mean to? That’s what CLS controls. If buttons are moving around while you’re trying to click, your ranking goes way down. 

Google will scan and score your site based on these three things to decide where it will show up on search engine results. 

With this framework, you can keep tabs (yes, pun intended) on how your website holding up to any of Google’s updates.

That said, in November 2021, Google updated their update. It’s one of their Core Updates. We know, it’s a lot.

People reported traffic changes on their and their clients sites less than 24 hours after it was rolled out. It affected SEO and ranking.

With CWV and routine core updates, your search rankings will probably continue to be affected.

What next?

Do you want to be ready for these updates before they hit? We can help you make a killer, Google-proof UX.

Contact us to set up a call! Until then, head over to the blog to learn more about how to optimize your site and user experience.

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