Hello hustlers, I hope you all are doing well. As you all know Google considers a lot of things when it comes to showing websites in search results and in all those considerations they also consider site speed in terms of Core Web Vitals or specifically so-called Google Core Web Vitals.
As announced by Google, the ‘Google Core Algorithm Update’ will be coming into effect in May 2021 and now here we are. If you had not optimized your website for Core Web Vitals till now, then you are running out of time. In this blog, I am going to discuss ‘what is Google Core Web Vitals, why it’s important, and how you can check the status of your site web vitals.
What Is Google Core Web Vitals?
Before discussing Google Core Web Vitals, first, let’s try to learn the past of Google search engine.
A good website load speed is a key for good user experience, and as Google considering website user experience as a ranking factor, hence its bots started looking for website whose server load time is low. But with some websites, the server loads the HTML, CSS & JS on browser but JS took the time to actually display it to users, hence Google dropped this metrics soon.
Then Google started looking for First Contentful Paint, but again this metric doesn’t confirm whether a website is user-friendly or not. Hence again Google dropped this metrics soon.
Then again Google started just looking for the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) but with this also, if the website is just having text like Wikipedia, it loads fast and if it is an image gallery website its LCP will be low. Hence many websites will not stand on this metrics, so Google decided to drop this as well.
This is where Google comes up with three metrics to measure website load speed and site load experience. These metrics were Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). Google named these three metrics to combine as Core Web Vitals.
I hope you got your answer to ‘what is Google Core Web Vitals?’.
Now let’s dive deep into each of the three Google Core Web Vitals metrics, what they actually mean.
What Is LCP? (Largest Contentful Paint)
I think somewhat you get this from its name, LCP or largest contentful paint is the load time (in seconds) of your website’s largest content. This largest content can be your website image, text, embedded video, etc. Always, this largest content will be in your first fold only, hence it will be quite easy for you to guess your website LCP element. In my case for mobile, it’s the text ‘The only blog you will ever need to learn Online Earning.’ and for desktop, it is my image, let me know yours in the comment box, it will be fun to know.
What Is A Good LCP Score?
As recommended by Google your website LCP is good if it’s below 2.5s and bad if above 4s.
What Is FID? (First Input Delay)
FID or First Input Delay is a way to measure website load responsiveness. It is the time taken by the website to respond to any user interaction for the elements like buttons, links, etc.
Now the question can be why it’s a core web vital factor? As said earlier there is not just one way to calculate the overall user experience for a site and just measuring site load time to predict user experience is not enough.
We all had seen some sites where you click on a button and it is taking a long time to respond back, doesn’t it hurt our experience? Hence Google is now going to utilize this metric as well.
What Is A Good FID Score?
As mentioned by Google to provide a good user experience your site’s FID should be equal to or below 100ms. If your FID is between 100ms to 300ms then it needs improvement. if it’s above 300ms then your FID is in a poor category and with the coming ‘Google Core Algorithm’, it can hurt your SEO.
What Is CLS? (Cumulative Layout Shift)
CLS is a way to measure your website’s visual stability also CLS defines how good is your site’s structural performance is.
To make it more understandable, let me elaborate.
Do you know you have seen this CLS issue every time when you visit a site? Remember when you first load a website in your browser, the first visual structure you see on the site is somewhat different when that site fully loads.
This happens in a fraction of time and for many websites, it is not even visible to normal human eyes.
As you can see in the above screenshot of a site, these structural differences are so-called CLS.
Now the question comes, why it’s a big deal? Again the answer for this is the same as above ‘User Experience’. Let’s assume you are going to visit a blog site whose CLS is high, when you first load that site URL the first thing you see is some text and ‘Read More’ button, as you are here to read the complete article and as soon you were going to click on that button the layout got a shift and an ad show up in that place. In this scenario, you could have clicked on that ad accidentally, right? Hence Google takes this structural shift very seriously.
What Is A Good CLS Score?
CLS is calculated in the decimal score and not in seconds. As mentioned by Google, if the CLS or Cumulative Layout Shift of a site is below 0.1 decimal, then it is categorized as good. If it’s between 0.1 to 0.25 it needs improvement and if CLS is above 0.25 it is in a poor state and with the new update, your website could get penalized.
For reference, just go through this infographic below for a better understanding of Google Core WEb Vitals.
How To Check Your Google Core Web Vitals?
There are many tools currently in the market, which can help you with your core web vitals, but I recommend just two tools. The first is ‘GTmetrix’ and the second one is ‘Page Speed Insight’ by Google. Both of these tools are free and easy to use, also their metrics are pretty accurate.
Now to check your Core Web Vitals drop your site index URL in GTmetrix. For the demo, I am using Neil Patel’s site 😁. In the SS below, you can see all the three Core Web Vitals metrics, other than that you will also see the site’s overall performance & structural score.
As you see Neil Patel had already optimized his site for Google Core Web Vitals. 😎
To know more you can check your page size and other metrics.
Now to know the causes of your bad web vitals you can check the waterfall section of GTmetrix, this section tells what all elements are loading on your site and how much time they are taking. This graph comes in very handy when you are optimizing your site load speed.
Now the free version of GTmetrix only tells about your desktop site performance and to check the same for your mobile site you had to buy their premium plan or you can utilize the second tool that I mentioned above ‘Page Speed Insight’.
To check your Core Web Vitals through Page Speed Insight by Google is the same as that of GTmetrix. Just drop your site URL and it will show your site’s web vital for both mobile and desktop and also assign an overall score to it, as you can see in the SS below.
You might see some differences in the GTmetrix and Page Speed Insight web vitals metrics, but that’s ok, just consider the GTmetrix stats for your desktop site.
I think by now you know what is Google Core Web Vital, why it’s important for your SEO, and how to check your Core Web Vitals.
If you want to learn how to optimize your site for Core Web Vitals, then check out this Amit Tiwari video below or refer to its complete playlist ‘Amit Tiwari Core Web Vitals Series’.
If you prefer English, then check this Ahrefs Video below.
Google is enrolling its new ‘Google Core Algorithm’ update in May 2021, and it’s time to understand Core Web Vitals and its nuances. In this blog, we had covered all the necessary things related to Google Core Web Vitals, and also tried to understand each and every web vitals metrics individually. I hope you learned something new from this blog, if yes then let me know your feedback in the comments below.
Till then keep learning…
Suraj Mishra is a Digital Marketer, Brand Consultant, Blogger, founder of Genrk, and owner of this website. He always has a motive for sharing what he knows. Through these blogs he tries to help entrepreneurs, letting them know all the things that are needed to grow business online in this digital era.