Google’s Core Web Vitals: Your 2023 Guide

What are Core Web Vitals?

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No matter what type of website you have or business you run, getting on Google’s good side is key to maintaining competitive rankings in search results. Over the years, Google has released countless updates to the search algorithm, ranking factors, and more, so those in the digital marketing industry must constantly be aware of changes and understand how to adapt. However, one of Google’s recent updates has been bigger than most – Core Web Vitals, which became a significant ranking factor in June of 2022. Core Web Vitals are a standardized set of metrics that Google has stated have an impact on rankings, as they contribute to your total page experience score. The three page speed and user interaction measurements that make up Core Web Vitals are Google’s way of sizing up your user experience and getting an idea of whether or not visitors can find what they need quickly and effectively. Positive user experience has always been important for conversions, but knowing that it is also a ranking factor means your site needs to be built for success. Learn more from our digital marketing experts at Today’s Business about Core Web Vitals and how you can make the proper site optimizations to dominate your target search queries. 

Components of Core Web Vitals: Explained

Google is dedicated to providing the best possible results to its users, which is why it is so important to meet their criteria when it comes to page experience. Primarily focused on page speed and user interaction, Core Web Vitals metrics consist of three components:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
  • First Input Delay (FID)
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

It is important to note that page experience is just one of many ranking factors that Google considers. However, Core Web Vitals are now a major part of the page experience, so optimizing these items is essential for organic ranking success. It’s great to know the names of the three core components of CWVs, but what do they mean?

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

Largest Contentful Paint measures the time (in seconds) it takes from the start of your page load to the rendering of the largest text block or image element. This is Google’s way of determining how long it takes to load the core components of your page, as the largest text block will most commonly contain the main content of the page. The goal here is to have as low a number as possible, correlating with a fast page load time. 

First Input Delay (FID)

This component of Core Web Vitals measures the time it takes for a user to interact with your site. This can include anything from choosing an option within your menu to entering an email address into a form field. This gives Google a clear picture of how your users interact with your site and showcases your site’s responsiveness to user activity. FID is vital for pages that require quick interaction, such as a login page. This moment and your site’s ability to properly serve its users is a valuable snapshot of your site’s overall interactivity and responsiveness, which contributes to your page experience score.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

CLS focuses on the visual stability of a page as it loads all of its elements. Both Google and your users don’t want to see page elements that move around as the site loads, making the page experience confusing. Page elements that tend to shift when CLS is not optimized include fonts, images, videos, and contact forms, among other items. There are several reasons why your site may have CLS issues. Something as simple as adding height and width dimensions to your images can improve your overall Core Web Vitals score.

Why Are Core Web Vitals Important?

Core Web Vitals are Google’s way of ensuring they display the best possible sites to their users. If you saw a drop in your organic rankings after June 2022, negative CWVs may be partly to blame. Taking the time to optimize your site with CWVs in mind is crucial. We don’t always know what Google is considering when they rank sites in search results, but in the case of Core Web Vitals, we know exactly what we need to fix for success. Some of the many benefits of optimizing your CWVs in 2023 include: 

  1. Improve Overall User Experience
    • Making sure site elements are visually stable helps to improve the overall user experience on your pages and leads to a steadier, more solid website.
  2. Speeding Up Your Site
    • Addressing page speed issues helps keep users on your site. A slow site can prompt users to leave before converting.
  3. Benefiting All Areas of Your Digital Marketing
    • Improving user experience translates to boosts in organic rankings, more engaged users, increased conversion rates, and other benefits that will help you stand out in the crowd.

What Tools Can I Use to Measure Core Web Vitals?

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Various online tools can help you understand how your site is performing in terms of CWVs. Google Search Console has a dedicated section for CWVs where you can see how your site is performing and which pages may need a boost. For a quick look into your site’s CWVs, Google’s Page Speed Insights Tool is the way to go. Simply inserting your URL and running a check will show you Google’s data on your URL, including data on your LCP, FID, and CLS. These are just two of many tools that you can use to measure your CWVs and see where you stand with Google before you dive in and start to update your site.

How to Improve Core Web Vitals for Your Website

Learning about Core Web Vitals: check. When you want to get going with site optimizations and ensure your site meets Google’s CWV criteria, there are many steps you can take depending on which aspect of CWVs you want to start with. It’s difficult to summarize them all in one place, but some high-level insights into work that will improve your CWVs include:

  • Largest Contentful Paint
    • Set up lazy loading, so images only load when someone scrolls down your page.
    • Upgrade your website hosting.
    • Remove large page elements that are slowing down your total speed.
    • Remove unnecessary third-party scripts from your site.
    • Minify your CSS.
  • First Input Delay
    • Reduce JavaScript (JS) execution time.
    • Optimize the HTML of your images.
    • Remove unnecessary third-party scripts.
    • Use a browser cache to help load content faster.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift
    • Add size attributes to your images, videos, and other media.
    • Avoid inserting content above content that’s already loaded.
    • Create dedicated space for ad elements.

CWVs Impact on Healthcare Organizations

At Today’s Business, we’ve seen growth and success for clients who’ve committed to letting us tackle their CWV issues. One of the biggest improvements we’ve seen has been with a plastic surgery practice, whose performance had been struggling due to Google algorithm updates. We optimized desktop Core Web Vitals to ensure that the site was passing Google’s criteria, and since then, we’ve seen both short and long-term improvements in organic acquisition metrics, service page performance, conversions, and more. When we analyzed Quarter 4 of 2022 (during which CWV issues were addressed) vs. Quarter 3, we found that organic landing page clicks increased 50.5% while impressions increased 116%, along with a 32% increase in search query clicks and a 113.5% increase in search query impressions. Explore our case studies for more insights into the work we’ve done for clients of all kinds!

Boost Your Site’s Rankings with Core Web Vitals Optimization from Today’s Business

At Today’s Business, our digital marketing experts have been keeping an eye on Core Web Vitals, and they have experience optimizing all types of websites to ensure that each component of CWVs is tackled. Our Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and website development teams work together to ensure that our clients’ websites pass CWV tests and provide users with the best possible experience as soon as they arrive. Our comprehensive approach to digital marketing allows us to deliver positive results and form true partnerships with each of our clients. We want to work with you – contact us today and tell us more about your business to get started!