Defining Core Web Vitals
Defining Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals, simply put are a tool to better measure the experience users have on your website. As Google put it,
Core Web Vitals are a set of real-world, user-centered metrics that quantify key aspects of the user experience. They measure dimensions of web usability such as load time, interactivity, and the stability of content as it loads.
Google uses Core Web Vitals (CWV) to measure user experience and score a web page. This process is better known as Google’s Page Experience Update.
What goes into CWV’s scoring system?
CVW use three main metrics to gauge the user experience.
Does it take a long time for my site to load?
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): CVW measure the length of time it takes for a web page to load its largest visible content factor, from when the user clicks on the URL. Does it take a long time for a visitor to see your site’s important pieces of content? This is a different metric than page load time, which measures the length of time between a user clicking on your website to the server sending the first amount of data.
Do users wait a long time to use the site?
- First Input Delay (FID): CWV measures the length of time between a user’s action to engage with the site, for example clicking a button, and the browser’s response. Does it take a long time for your site to respond to a button click?
Is my website comfortable to use?
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): CWV measure how many layout shifts a page undergoes as it loads. Does your page content move around the page when it loads? Does content bump each other down or load at separate times?
Why Core Web Vitals are Important
After Google’s Page Experience Update, CWVs is going to be a main factor in determining search rankings.
Why include Core Web Vitals?
The three metrics measured by CWVs offer real insight into how a real person enjoys or doesn’t enjoy your website. Google’s priority is to offer the best results to its users, and page experience factors into that as well, reflecting its ability to recommend the best search results.
How did it come to Core Web Vitals?
To understand how CWVs became so important, we must first understand Google’s promise to its users. Google will always try to offer its users the best possible experience when they search for resources online, no matter what that resource might be.
Firstly, only the most relevant content to the user’s search query can be recommended.
Next, of those most relevant results, Google will look for which ones offer the best, most positive experience to those users
Google’s Page Experience Update is the next realistic step in its mission in providing value to its users.
This article will cover how Google’s algorithm has evolved to factor in user experience.
Starting with spam blockers
Online marketers and site owners would often look for ways to trick Google’s algorithm to drive traffic to their sites. Techniques like “Black Hat” SEO, which undermine the algorithm, would boost traffic illegitimately.
This results in mediocre quality content and irrelevant search results appearing, making Google users deal with spam.
Google’s "Panda" and “Penguin” updates were designed to fix this issue.
- Panda identified low-quality content, which was often over-optimized with keywords or even plagiarized.
- Penguin, which has since been incorporated into Google’s core algorithm, identified sites will fraudulent backlinks.
These two updates considerably improved Google’s user experience, effectively reducing the amount of spam in its recommendations
Read our full breakdown of Panda and Penguin for an in-depth analysis of these two updates and their features.
Providing Better Results
Over the last five years, Google has improved its user experience more. More carrot and less stick, Google rewards high-quality websites that provide a positive user experience for their relevant searches
This has shown site owners the necessary steps they need to take to be successful on Google.
Some updates can be classified as “answer engine updates", meaning they bettered Google’s ability to comprehend their users’ specific questions:
- Hummingbird: Released in 2013, the hummingbird updates improved the entire search algorithm. It allowed Google to comprehend a search query more thoroughly, beyond keywords, focusing on search intent. This update helps results be even more precise and relevant to users.
- RankBrain: RankBrain uses machine learning to better understand the whole topic essential keywords are based on, it’s a part of the hummingbird update, and helps Google discern what a search is about, for example, is a search for “apple” about fruit or technology.
- Fred: the Fred update, jokingly named by Google executives, helps keep websites with low-quality content ranked low. Fred doesn’t seek to punish bad sites but rewards other websites with higher quality content and a better, less intrusive user experience.
- BERT: Bert aids RankBrain in helping Google understand the meaning and context of the whole search query. It was described by Google as "the biggest leap forward in the past five years, and one of the biggest leaps forward in the history of Search."
Much to Web User’s "Delight”
Finally, let’s look at Google’s updates that prioritize web pages that are fast and easy to use, or ones that “delight” the user.
These updates involve “answer engine," relevance, and quality:
- HTTPS update: in 2014, Google started using a page’s security to factor a page’s ranking, boosting pages that had HTTPS in their URLs. HTTPS URLs offer heightened security and better protection for user information.
- Page Speed update: The mobile page speed measures the length of time for a page to load on a mobile device. In 2018, Google added mobile page speed as a ranking factor; the less time it takes to load a page, the higher that page will be ranked. This assumes that all other ranking factors are also met
- Chrome security warnings: In 2018, a change Google made to its Chrome browser marks all URLs without HTTP as "not secure."
There have been several "broad core algorithm updates" over the years, with each update focusing recommending the absolute best results possible to Google’s users.
Core Web Vitals Prioritize the User Experience
These updates Google has implemented over the years only scratch the surface of Google’s dedicated efforts to providing value to its users. The things that are important to Google need to be important to website owners and Franchise marketers, whether that be fighting spam, providing relevant content, or meeting technical requirement.
Utilizing CWVs presents Franchises with the opportunity to evaluate their sites against real-world users’ experiences. TruPresence allows Franchisors to apply the same CWVs to both the main corporate website and hundreds of individual location web pages at scale. As a result, Franchisors and Franchisees can ensure that they are ranking high in Local SEO and guaranteeing an enjoyable, high-quality experience for all their users at once.