What Are Core Web Vitals & Why Should You Care?
We’re taking a look at Core Web Vitals this week, a big deal in the world of SEO of late. If you don’t know your LCP from your CLS this is the episode for you. We dive into what core web vitals are and why you should care as a website owner.
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Local Digital 0:04
It’s time for the SEO show where a couple of nerds talk search engine optimization, so you can learn to compete in Google and grow your business online. Now, here’s your host, Michael and Arthur.
Hello, and welcome to the SEO show. I’m Michael, one of your co hosts, and I’m joined by alpha another another of your co hosts. Are you going Alpha?
I’m doing very, very well. It’s good to be back in the studio.
It is yes. Why would you say it’s good?
I just a little bit of normality.
Yeah, you have to get in the car, drive to a little room, all those kilometres away from your house to do what we’ve been doing.
It’s worse for you, to me, but
you know what, it’s much better in person with all that gear,
nice microphones, all the recording equipment?
Yeah, it feels more professional.
Definitely. I hope it sounds more professional.
I think so. Probably sounds I don’t know if the contents are that professional. But we’ll let you be the judge of that, and the reviews and the comments wherever you get your podcasts. But look, what we’re talking about today is very professional, when we’re on the point of professionalism, because we’re talking about cool web vitals. So this is a relatively big thing in the SEO world. We haven’t really spoken about it on the show so far. You know, we’ve touched on it here and there. But you know, in the early days of the show, we’re doing a lot of the very basic stuff. So we didn’t want to be talking about cumulative layout shifts, and all that sort of stuff. So early on. But today is the day, today is the day, we’re getting stuck into core web vitals. So what are they? Why should you care?
Are you asking me?
Well, I just I was just letting it hang there for a second while people digest it and thought, you know, what is it?
What is it? That’s a good question.
What would you say? Do you want to give it a go? Well, I
was gonna say, let’s start with a bit of history. So I guess, historically, you know, there were kind of three pillars of SEO. So you had your authority, your on site content and your technical, I guess it’s kind of as technical, but really no one, no one really thought about user experience. So there was a lot of emphasis on things like link building and content, you know, on site SEO, but no one really thought about, you know, metrics related to user experience. So this is where core web vitals kind of comes in, comes in. So last year, or maybe a bit longer.
Well, they’re sort of talking about it for a long time in the late up. Like I know,
this last year has just been a blur. So I can’t remember I like concept. Time has just completely filled melted out of whack. Yeah.
Well, they, um, it is a ranking factor as of June, like, basically about the time we went into lockdown here was when it was Yeah. Going into last year this year. 21. Yes. Sorry, man.
I’m pretty sure. Yeah, I think you’re right. You know what I didn’t even know anymore. But there was a big build up to it for us to build up. So they gave us plenty of warning that it’s coming.
We keep saying it. Let’s explain what it is. Because, you know, there’s a good intro there about the pillars. So back in the early episodes, we spoke about all the pillars of SEO. Yeah, we had you acts as its own pillar. Yes. We feel like traditionally, we’ve always spoken about the big three. Yep. But you actually is like a force. Yeah. fourth pillar? Yeah, we’ve added in there and COVID vital sits in that world. So it’s basically COVID. vitals are like a set of metrics that relate to the user experience of your website. So you know, the speed the how nice it is to use? How, like sort of how the content loads? Yeah, just the experience of using the site and is it good? Or is it bad? And the core word vitals, are these metrics that you use to try and measure that? Yeah, see how you’re going?
Which is a hard thing to measure. If you can think about it, how do you measure user experience without having a you know, yes, defined metrics, which Google has done? Yep.
I saw, I saw a description of mine that I thought was pretty good. Okay. I’m gonna read it word for word here. So the metrics go, how quickly page content loads? Yep. How quickly a browser loading a web page can respond to a user’s input. So someone like clicking into a field or trying to do something with the page? Yep. And then how unstable the content is, as it loads in the browser. So like, is the page just loading or is it moving around and making it annoying to engage with that page? Yeah,
that’s it, let’s dissect? Yeah, so the first thing you said that these metrics show how quickly the page content loads? So that’s referring to LCP, yep, so LCP is a metric. Yeah. Which stands for one one on one to say, largest Contentful paint. Yep. That’s it now that they could have made it. Largest content pain. Yeah. It’s just it’s weird to say out loud, largest, like people that if people don’t know what it is, and they might think that you’ve made a mistake.
Yeah. We’ve made it up. Yeah. So what is largest Contentful paint, we know it’s about speed, but like, what is it exactly? I’m not letting that
waiting for you yet to see fielding that one hang. So basically, what it does is it just measures the time or the seconds from when the webpage starts loading to when the largest text block or image element is rendered on the screen. Yeah. So if
you think about a page loading, you click the link in Google, the website loads. And it’s maybe not everything on the page is finished loading, but the guts the real sort of stuff, and stuff that you see has loaded. How long does that take? Yeah, you want that to be quick? Yeah. So
Google says anything on the two and a half seconds is good. in Search Console, four and a half seconds is like you know, anything below that it will start to warn you anything above that, obviously, you need to start looking into why that’s happening.
This feeds into stuff that we’re banging on about all the time on this show, which is fast websites are important for SEO purposes. Excuse me, not just for SEO purposes, but for user experience for for everything, you know, Google loves fast sites, people that fast sites, as we always say. This is just another reason you know, your largest Contentful paint score is another reason why you need to focus on speed up thought. So the next metric is first input delay, yes. Feed fid. Yeah. What is that all about?
So basically, I guess it’s in the name, right? How quickly you can actually use the input or use the user page as its loading?
Because yeah, I bet you’ve had that experience on a mobile phone, right? Well, even on a desktop, a desktop true. Let’s say you can see there’s a form field in a page, and you’re trying to click it, but you can’t finish. Yeah, it’s annoying.
I find it more common on websites where you kinda want to click on something that’s still loading. Yeah, yeah.
In fact, I think even on one of the older versions of our website, we had to get a quote button in the header. And if you tried to click on it, like immediately when the page first loaded, yeah, it wouldn’t do anything until the page is finished loading. Yeah, that was years ago. We fixed it at the time. But now that’s the sort of stuff that had a really bad school, we would have if the score existed back then. Yeah. But um, that’s the sort of stuff that first input delay is trying to let you know, as a website owner, you know, when you when you’re checking your scores for Robbie Rotten, saying that checking your score, you’d be
correct. I would be correct. So Google recommends 100 milliseconds or less. So that’s pretty quick, huh?
It is pretty quick. almost instant. Yeah. Like everything you want it to be almost instant. Everything with the website anyway. Moving on, cls. Cumulative layout, shift,
cls. CLS, to CLS is a Mercedes Benz. But it’s also Kimberly shift. Basically, what this looks at is how the page loads, making sure that it loads in a way that it’s not shifting around for the user. So if you can imagine the page loading on your phone, you try to tap on something, but there’s a image loading at the bottom and it pushes that element down. And then, you know, given another half a second, and it pushes it down again. So basically trying to eliminate that making sure that it’s visually, visually stable.
Yes. And I really, I really liked this one, like as a thing to try and have floated with the website, because it’s really annoying. Yeah, using a site and like, mainly on mobile, it’s mainly a mobile when you get to like top something and like an AdWords, yeah, shift stuff. And then you click the wrong thing. Yep. That happens in a new tab. And yeah, you got to get through that whole rigmarole of closing the tab and going back to where you were before. Yeah, that’s precious seconds. Right there.
Yeah. So basically, it’s just about unexpected layout shifts. Yep.
Which do happen, you know, because of scripts, loading on your page, or different assets, loading, you know, large images, taking a long time to load and then just changing things. So you want your site stable, when you’re first loading. Agree. They are the three metrics of core web vitals. So it’s pretty simple. You’re probably asking why are they important? Like, why do I care? Well, Google said it’s important. Yeah, it’s a ranking factor.
That’s why we care. A lot of people won’t even think about these things when they look at a website.
But it kind of does impact your bottom line in a way. Like if you have a really bad user experience, like it’s slow to load. Yeah, you can’t engage with elements like even sometimes you’re trying to engage with things and it just doesn’t work. Like trying to open up a menu or trying to open a menu. Yeah. And frustrating. So then you just leave. Yep. And that’s the sort of stuff that will affect your bottom line as a business owner. Yeah. So it’s not just Google nerds like us that are caring about this stuff, or that should care about this stuff. But you want to be making sure your website’s just nice to use because it affects your bottom line.
Yeah, so essentially, Google is just found the way to so what I’m looking for To put it like a score behind it, so you can improve it, basically. Because before this, you couldn’t quantify you want to do user experience with the big words. I love it. Yeah, um, yeah. Before this, you know, you kind of just had a website, no one kind of thought about these things before now. So, yeah, definitely, definitely very useful for any website or not to kind of pay attention to these three metrics.
So on the topic of paying attention, how do you do it? Like, how do you get the scores? What sort of tools that we’re using to, to do that at the moment? or can people out there listening to this use to check out their own scores for those metrics?
Yeah, look, to tools I use, Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool will let you know, your scores for all three of these metrics. That one’s auto people, I’ve used that just to see the PageSpeed Insights score, I guess, over the last year, slash years, it’s expanded to include these metrics. But the other tool I like to use is the I don’t know if you’ve seen it before, but the core were vitals overlay. So very similar to a href, small as all those other overlays. And when you set it up, you just search for something in Google as you would, and it kind of shows you the all the metrics for all the sites in the search results, which is really cool. So as SEO, you can kind of have a look. And if you’re trying to figure out why this site might be out ranking your site, you can at a glance, see the old all three of these metrics. Yeah. So you might find that they have better scores, much better scores, and you might see that your result has a very poor score. So you can come to the conclusion that perhaps I need to work on, you know, improving the speed of my site or the usability of the site. Yep. So that’s a really handy tool. That’s just a Chrome browser. Yeah, it’s just a Chrome extension. Very, like I said, very similar, just overlays over the search results, the SERPs.
Yeah. And so like, let’s say you, you do, you’re using that extension. And you can see that your scores for those three metrics are not the best compared to the top rank sites? How do you go about fixing it? Well, first and foremost, fast loading website, we always bang on about that. We’ve got a bunch of episodes in the past talking about site speed. Yep, why it’s important and how to fix it. So
Google will let you know which pages so if you go search console is where you need to go to find all these recommendations or any issues with three these three metrics that will let you know which pages need to be looked at. And if you use PageSpeed Insights you like with PageSpeed Hensel, let you know how you can improve your core vital. Yeah,
metrics. Yeah, a lot of the time as a business owner, it’s not stuff that you’re going to be taking care of yourself probably will have a developer, you know, yeah, especially for this stuff. Yeah, if things are blocked, if you know something on your site is blocking the rendering of a form field and people can engage with it. That’s something that a developer is going to fix for you. But at least with these tools, like PageSpeed Insights, it’s a little bit of a roadmap that you can use to Yeah, it gives you high priority items you need to look at exactly to fix and improve your score. So very handy tool for free to use just Google PageSpeed Insights,
chuck in your domain, and you should see your scores.
Yeah, well, there we go. In the name of a good user experience. We won’t drag this podcast episode out any longer. No, we’re short and sweet to the point. We’ve got a good speed score there. We’ve got a good user experience score. I think we’ve done pretty well. Yeah. So hopefully you enjoyed that. If you did, leave us a review. Give us a follow wherever you get your podcasts. Otherwise, we will see you or you’ll hear us at the next episode of the SEO show. Happy SEO. See you later. See
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