New SEO rules focus on three major elements of the user experience.
Since the beginning, Google has spent an extraordinary amount of time and resources streamlining the search experience. The search engine giant has changed the way people find and interact with content online numerous times in its lifetime.
And it looks like they’re ready to do it again.
Google is increasingly focused on the real-world user experience. It’s latest algorithm update shows just how important user experience metrics are for the search engine.
This update is due to roll-out in mid-June, and will put Core Web Vital scores at the center of Google’s ranking algorithm. For WordPress developers, the pressure to optimize WordPress site development to rank well is higher than ever.
We’re going to cover what Core Web Vital Scores are and recommend some of the tools developers can use to improve these scores for unlimited WordPress sites – the easy way.
What Are Core Web Vital Scores?
Core Web Vital Scores are a set of search ranking factors that impact the user experience a web page offers. Google established these scores as its top priority for its newest algorithm update, meaning websites that optimize for these scores will rank higher than those that don’t.
Core Web Vital Scores are made up of three performance metrics:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
This measures the amount of time it takes the largest visible image or text block to load. By focusing on the largest element in the user’s viewport, it calculates page load speed in a way that directly impacts the user experience first and foremost.
Compared to other methods of measuring web page load time, LCP emphasizes the structural elements that users are likely to notice first and place the highest priority on. In most cases, the largest image or text block on a page is the main element that users are looking for – nobody clicks on a link because they’re curious to see the ads.
WordPress developers optimizing their sites for SEO should target an LCP of under 2.5 seconds.
- First Input Delay (FID)
The First Input Delay measures the time between the moment a user first interacts with a web page and the moment the browser starts processing that interaction. While it seems simple enough, there are some constraints on the types of interactions this metric can measure.
For instance, it cannot measure continuous interactions like zooming or scrolling the page. FID only measures discrete interactions, like clicks.
The main idea behind FID is simple. Google wants to make sure that loading critical resources does not make your website feel clunky and unresponsive. Remember that FID measures the input time, not the processing time of the first interaction on your website. That’s what differentiates it from the Time to Interactive metric
Ideally, your website’s FID should be less than 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
This score measures how much content shifts during page rendering. The more visual stability your website has while loading, the better.
It’s no secret that popular websites stuff their pages full of interstitials, banners, and intrusive ads in order to monetize their content. When a user clicks on a page and starts reading, only to have the text pushed down by a giant banner ad, that user gets frustrated. It’s a bad experience, and nobody likes it.
Google recognizes this, and will start penalizing websites that shift website regions and objects around too frequently. The larger and more noticeable these movements are, the worse the score gets.
Importantly, Google has announced that its CLS calculation method will not immediately penalize existing websites upon release. This is because Google groups layout shifts into session windows – small time frames during which layout shifts take place, measured in seconds. If you must shift webpage elements around, it’s best that you do it all within the space of a single window.
Your web pages should maintain a CLS score of less than 0.1 to optimize search engine rankings.
Test Your Google Core Web Vitals Score Now
The easiest way to test your Core Web Vitals score is using Google’s Page Speed Insights tool. Simply input the URL you want to test and click on Analyze. Google will show you how your webpage scores, and tell you if the page passed the Core Web Vitals assessment or not.
If you want to check the Core Web Vital scores for the entire website, click on Show Origin Summary. Google will show you the aggregate experience of all pages served on your website over the past 28 days.
Are your Core Web Vital Scores lacking? Find out how UnlimitedWP’s white label WordPress development service can help you optimize your agency’s websites to meet Google’s Web Vital specifications. Talk to a specialist today