Core Web Vitals : Google’s New Ranking Factor

Core Web Vitals : Google’s New Ranking Factor

On May 28, Google Webmasters announced the release of Core Web Vital, a new Console tab on Twitter:


They also stated that Page Experience is to become one of the most crucial ranking factors for both mobile and desktop search results. In this article, we will try to find out what these changes foresee and how to prepare your resource for their launch.

Why User Experience Is So Important

Focusing on users is the main slogan of Google. The provision of the most relevant results, safety, and reliability have been the top priorities of the search algorithm for a long time. But what does the improvement of user experience provide for an optimizer? Here are some statistic data:

  • decreased the loading time by 1.9 seconds, while the speed index grew by ten times. It has ensured the conversion rate growth by 94% in comparison to the previous year.
  • The research carried out by Google with millions of pages’ impressions proved that if a site met recommended threshold requirements for the main indices of Web Vitals, users tend to leave the page before its loading in less than 24% of cases.
  • has improved its speed index by 51% on desktop PCs and notices a considerable increase in the conversion rate (+ 12%) and a decrease of the bounce rate (-25%).
  • The Sparkbox web studio has increased its conversion ratio by more than two times for the organic traffic of Driver Solutions, increasing from 2.69% to 5.57% after the development of productivity and AMP pages’ updates.
  • Yahoo has increased traffic by 9% for every 400 msec of loading time improvement.
  • Mozilla has decreased the loading time by 2.2 seconds and increased the loading conversion by 15.4%.
  • Etsy has increased the bounce rate by 12% after the addition of 160 kb of images to its mobile page.
  • Amazon experiences a 1% decrease in revenue for every 100 msec of loading time.
  • After launching GZip, Netflix has decreased expenses on throughput capacity by 43%.

As we have noted, the improvement of loading speed and other vital factors will presumably lead not only to the improvement of the site positions and the decrease in the bounce rate but also directly influence conversions and revenue.

What Is Google’s Core Web Vitals?

Google is regularly changing and adapting ranking factors, introducing new filters and algorithms for regulation and provision to users of the results that are as relevant as possible. Google announces the launch of some of them (May 4, 2020), while they are silent about others.

We already came across changes like the introduction of the HTTPS protocol when the search engine had informed webmasters a year ahead. Like in that case, now the search engine is also informing webmasters in advance for them to have enough time to prepare and adapt their indices to meet new requirements.

It helps to understand that Core Web Vital will play an important role in the ranking of resources on a par with the content, brand, and external optimization of the pages. Google’s Core Web Vitals are, in fact, survey data about users’ interaction with the pages of a resource.

The search engine will group this data by:

  • status
  • metrics
  • URL type

The check data will be provided in the correspondent console report Search Google.

What Is the Main Web Vital?

Way back, Google introduced the notion of Page Experience, and that these indices directly influence the ranking of separate pages and the resource as a whole. They include:

  1. Mobile adaptation
  2. Safety
  3. HTTPS
  4. The absence of haunting content (pop-ups)

The above factors correspond with three more that will also be based on the user’s interaction with pages:

  1. Largest Contentful Paint
  2. First Input Delay
  3. Cumulative Layout Shift

As new ranking factors, these metrics Google will introduce these no earlier than 2021, but webmasters have already started noticing a change in positions with poor indices:

Moz Community

The reason for this is probably not the metrics above, but this is the first signal to start improving these indices now to avoid being penalized by the search system.

How Important Is a New Ranking Factor?

It is what Google states on the official page of Webmasters Google blog :

Webmasters Google blog

From the Google announcement, it is clear that even though these indices will be vital, they will not beat out the relevance and expertise of the content. Choosing which resource to rank higher, with the other factors being equal, Google will give preference to a page with more relevant search results even if the vital indices are not high enough. But in its turn, choosing between two pages with content of equal quality, the search system will most likely increase the position of a page with better speed and stability indices.

That is why it is better not to waste time and wait for positions to worsen. It is better to begin the improvements now.

Let us begin with a review of a new report in the Google console, i.e., Core Web Vital.

Core Web Vitals Report: What to Check and How to Understand it

The functions and possibilities of a new Console report were described on Twitter by John Mueller. Here is the link.

This report will be based on three indices:

  1. LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) the speed of the first load. It is the time within which the largest element of the content is displayed in the browser when a user requests the URL address. The largest element is usually an image or video, probably, also a large textual element. Fast loading helps users understand that the URL is loading, and there are no mistakes with the page code, as well as with the Internet connection.
  2. FID (First Input Delay)   the speed of interactive elements’ loading. It is the time of users’ interaction with the page (clicking on links, pressing buttons, the interaction with the site navigation, etc.).
  3. CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) visual stability. It is a conventional value of the page layout shift at the loading stage. 0 means no shifting, while one indicates considerable shifting. The lower the shifting, the better.

Important: If in the Console report, you see the screen with the signature “No data” on it, this can be caused by one of the below reasons:

  • It is a new feature in the Search Console
  • In the report, there is not enough data to provide information

In these cases, it is not necessary to undertake anything; the search system needs some time to collect a sufficient amount of data for analysis.

The Core Web Vital report is divided into two indices: mobile and desktop. Every report displays data on the available and least effective metric of the three:

Support Google

Every metric has its indices and boundaries:

LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) :

  1. Good – <2.5s
  2. Improvement is required – <= 4s
  3. Bad – > 4s

FID (First Input Delay) :

  1. Good – <100ms
  2. Improvement is required –  <= 300ms
  3. Bad – > 300ms

CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) :

  1. Good – <0,1
  2. Improvement is required – <= 0,25
  3. Bad – > 0,25

If you do not see data in the Console yet, you can check it by the metrics in other Google tools, namely:

  • Search Console
    • LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) – available
    • FID (First Input Delay) –  available
    • CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) – available
  • PageSpeed Insights
    • LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) – available
    • FID (First Input Delay) –  available
    • CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) – available
  • Lighthouse
    • LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) – available
    • FID (First Input Delay) –  not available
    • CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) – available
  • Chrome DevTools
    • LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) – available
    • FID (First Input Delay) –  not available
    • CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) – available
  • Chrome UX report
    • LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) – available
    • FID (First Input Delay) –  available
    • CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) – available
  • Web Vitals Extension
    • LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) – available
    • FID (First Input Delay) –  available
    • CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) – available

You will be able to improve all metrics by following the recommendations. Also, a new report in the Console provides the possibility of restarting the checks of vital factors to evaluate the results of adjustments introduction.

To conclude, it is worth noting that as Google has announced the introduction of new ranking factors in advance, optimizers have more than six months to implement all the adjustments, and it is better not to waste this time. If something can be improved now, do not wait until you will be forced to do it.

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SEO Manager SEOQuake