ON-SITE OPTIMIZATION

Core Web Vitals Optimization

Core Web Vitals Optimization

If you've heard the term "core web vitals optimization," you might not truly understand what it means for you and your website, or if it’s even something you need to worry about.

As of May, 2021, Google is rolling out a major upgrade to it’s search engine ranking criteria algorithm – and this update will potentially have a profound effect on most existing sites.

If you rely on your website to generate leads, make sales, or direct prospect or customer behavior in any way, it’s time to get up to speed on exactly what this term means – and what it means for you and your site.

So, what are core web vitals?

What Are Core Web Vitals, Really?

In many ways, core web vitals are a critical subset of search engine optimization (SEO) criteria.

Businesses of all types leveral SEO best practices to propel their websites higher in relevant Google searches. Done well, SEO helps get a website in front of well-qualified prospects who are currently in search of the product or service on offer.

To determine a site’s page rank, Google’s complex algorithms evaluate hundreds of factors or signals. The better the site ranks overall for these criteria, the better the site will do in the search results. But not all of the current ranking factors are considered equal in Google’s eyes. To bring increased attention to the most important ranking criteria, Google identified them as core web vitals.

Now, let’s delve further into which factors the search engines consider most important.

Which Factors Are Considered Core Web Vitals?

This specific collection of ranking factors all
have to do with the user experience, or UX (which you might see referred to more in the future as page experience). If Google believes that a visitor to your site will have a positive experience, the algorithms will rank your site higher for those factors. However, if your site signals to Google that a visitor might have a less-desirable experience while browsing the pages of your site, your core web vitals scores will be lower.

As for what makes the user’s experience good or bad, Google is focusing on these factors. The three primary factors that comprise the core web vitals are as follows.

  • How long do site pages take to load?
  • How efficient are user interactions with the site?
  • How visually stable is the site?

Other critical factors that are vital to the page experience include:

  • How mobile-friendly is your site?
  • How safe is it to browse your site?
  • How secure is your site’s connection?
  • How much of your site content gets blocked by interstitials*?

Hopefully this basic explanation of Google’s vital ranking criteria make sense, but how do we measure them?

How Do You Measure Core Web Vitals?

Once you understand the page experience criteria that Google will now use to determine your search engine ranking, it’s time to measure your site’s performance for each of these factors. This is typically done through a process known as a core web vitals audit. During the audit, your site is evaluated on each of the key ranking criteria.

Google has established metrics (albeit complex metrics) for assessing page speed, interactivity and visual stability. Google has also published a handy page for evaluating a website’s mobile friendliness. The measure for determining how safe a given site is for browsing is whether any malicious or deceptive content is present. If the site is served on HTTPS, it passes the test for secure connectivity.

As for the *interstitials question, that’s essentially a fancy word for tiny web pages like pop-ups, age verifications, display ads, etc. Typically found more commonly on mobile browsing platforms, interstitials are a type of marketing tool designed to interrupt the user from their browsing activity.

Some interstitials are acceptable or even necessary – such as age verifications and privacy/cookie notifications – but others are a growing source of angst for many internet denizens. Google’s algorithms look specifically to see how much (if any) of a site’s content is inaccessible as a result of non-critical interstitials. Essentially, the search engines don’t want to see any interstitials that affect how accessible a site’s content is.

Now that we know a bit about how to score a site on the vital criteria, let’s consider how we optimize them.

Why Do You Have to Optimize Core Web Vitals?

The short answer is that, if you don’t optimize these criteria, your site is going to lose visibility. You’ll show up on fewer search engine results pages (SERPs) and, for those you do show up on, your search engine ranking will diminish and you’ll fall below your competitors with better core web vitals scores.

How much your rank diminishes will depend on a few key factors. For example, having great content that is relevant to your audience remains one of the biggest ranking factors for all the search engines. But, if your core web vitals scores are sub-par, your site could slip significantly in the rankings.

Fortunately, it’s easy to get those scores up – as long as you know how.

How Do You Optimize Core Web Vitals?

The answer to this question should be simple, right? If your site’s too slow, speed it up. Ditto with response to user input. If connectivity isn’t secure, make sure it’s being served via HTTPS.

But, as you might expect, achieving these and other core web vitals-related goals requires having an understanding of web development and optimization. If your page load speed is bad, you could talk with the hosting company you use to see whether the server can be optimized or look into caching your website assets. You could minify your CSS or defer non-critical CSS.

As you might get from the word salad above, the answers to these questions are endless and complex. Worse, unless you’re a web developer yourself, you probably don’t know what measures are already in place – or not.

The best possible way to optimize these critical criteria is to place the task in the hands of an expert.

What Is the Best Way to Achieve Core Web Vitals Optimization?

The search engine optimization experts at SEO Werkz are always on the cutting edge of Google’s algorithm updates. It’s our job to know what’s coming and when, so we can get our clients up to speed as quickly as possible.

In advance of the page experience algorithm update, we have rolled out an exclusive core web vitals optimization service. Our program is designed to help minimize any potential drop in your site’s rankings and, ideally, improve your search results rankings under the new criteria.

We begin by auditing your current site and assessing 45 discrete, critical ranking signals. Based on the results of our audit, we undertake the steps and actions necessary to get your core web vitals scores up to par. As a result, Google and the other search engines are happy and your site gets where it’s supposed to go – in front of those hot prospects and customers.

To learn more about our core web vitals optimization, SEO, PPC, local optimization or web design and development, contact us now.

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