March 4, 2021

What Business Owners Need to Know About Core Web Vitals

Learn what Core Web Vitals mean for your business and how you can get ready to avoid losing SEO traction and moving further down organic search results.

Mike Szyszka

If you are a business owner relying on SEO for generating leads, attracting clients or selling products, you have no doubt heard about Google’s Core Web Vitals algorithmic shift rolling out in May of 2021. 

These Core Web Vitals are page speed and performance metrics hand-picked by Google and have been a huge focus for digital marketing and SEO publications since Google announced them earlier this year.

With that said, what do Core Web Vitals mean for your website and how can you get ready to avoid losing SEO traction and moving further down organic search results.

What Are Core Web Vitals?

First off, Core Web Vitals are a set of site performance and page speed metrics that Google announced earlier in 2020. Starting in May 2021, these metrics will be used as a ranking signal for pages in Google’s organic search rankings. 

That means that if your page is quick to load and generally responsive, chances are good that you can outrank competitors’ pages who don’t hit these marks.

Essentially, Core Web Vitals are aimed at measuring how quick and responsive a given page is when loading for a website visitor, and they are Google’s way of ensuring that a page they are recommending is ultra-fast and snappy – as people tend to avoid websites with slower load and response times. Currently, the Core Web Vitals that Google is measuring are Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). However, Google has stated that these are just the preliminary metrics that make up the Core Web Vitals, and it is entirely possible that more Core Web Vitals will roll out with time.

Largest Contentful Paint basically measures how long it takes your web page to render the majority of the content viewed by the user.

First Input Delay is a metric that tracks how long it takes from when a user first interacts with your site to when the website is able to respond to their actions.

Cumulative Layout Shift calculates movement exhibited by visual elements of a webpage that are not caused by user interaction.

Explaining Google's Core Web Vitals
Image credit: https://web.dev/vitals/

All of these metrics can be tracked for a given page by using Google Lighthouse, Page Speed Insights, or with the Web Vitals Chrome extension, which are all official Google utilities that measure performance, accessibility, adherence to Google’s established best practices, and SEO.

What do Core Web Vitals Mean for Your Website?

So you have done a quick check into the core web vitals for your most important pages, and you see some red flags. What now?

Well, just because you have a slower or less responsive website does not mean you are in jeopardy of losing page rank when Google rolls out the Core Web Vitals algorithm shift in May. It all boils down to who you are ranking against on Google.

If you have a competitor who provides a similar web experience to your own, provides informative and useful content, and happens to have a faster and more responsive site than you do, it is possible that their adherence to Google’s Core Web Vitals may just give them the edge to beat you for a given search query. 

However, if your competitors have fairly similar Core Web Vitals scores to yours across their sites right now, it probably is not a serious cause for worry, even as May creeps up.

Essentially, if all other things are equal, Core Web Vitals provide a ranking signal that may help or hurt your site depending on the landscape of pages you’re ranking against.

Now, with May just around the corner and Core Web Vitals getting a lot of attention from digital marketing and SEO publications, it is entirely possible that your competitors are working to improve their Core Web Vitals scores right now, so do yourself a favour and keep tabs on your competitors’ page speeds.

Have A Slow or Unresponsive Site? What Can You Do?

If your website’s Core Web Vitals scores are lacking across the board, or just in specific areas, you should know that, beyond your search engine rankings, a slow-loading or unresponsive website is likely costing your business revenue.

According to a Google study in 2018,  people browsing on mobile devices are 90% more likely to ditch a website if it takes from one to five seconds to load. If you run a business, those are customers just streaming away from making a purchase, booking a service, or entering into your lead funnel.

So, how do you give yourself a leg up in SEO and improve your user experience at the same time? We can handle that.

Even though Core Web Vitals are on the cutting edge of SEO, over the past year, Reaction has been working intimately with several of our clients to improve their page speed and Core Web Vitals rankings. We have also been working for years to provide high-performance websites to our clients.

In the interest of cutting right to the chase: we get Core Web Vitals.

To begin to assess any nagging issues that could be affecting your scores and website performance, we recommend a top to bottom audit of your site. 

From checking server response time to looking into poorly optimized code, a holistic audit of your website can reveal a lot of information that we can then use to speed your page up and ace the CWV sniff test.

As we previously stated, the impact of having a slow site can go far beyond organic search, so if you rely on your website to convert real people into paying customers, you owe it to yourself and your business to have a healthy and quick website.

Looking Past May

SEO is a complex and constantly evolving field, and Core Web Vitals makes up a small but important part of a much larger machine you could be using to drive serious traffic to your website. So, if you are struggling with a slower site and lackluster page rankings for the keywords you know will drive business to your site, do yourself a favour and get in touch with Reaction.

We have been working in SEO for years and can walk you through the Core Web Vitals update and so much more. Let’s have a chat and see how we can speed things up and get you more traffic to your page.

SCHEDULE A DISCOVERY CALL WITH REACTION