In May 2021, Google introduced a new set of metrics called Core Web Vitals. These metrics are designed to measure the user experience on websites, specifically related to loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability. Google considers these metrics to be crucial in determining a website’s ranking in search results.
So, what are Core Web Vitals, and how can you improve your website’s performance based on these metrics? Let’s take a closer look.
What are Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals consist of three metrics:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This metric measures the loading speed of a website. Specifically, it measures the time it takes for the largest element on the page (usually an image or a video) to load.
- First Input Delay (FID): This metric measures the interactivity of a website. Specifically, it measures the time it takes for a user to interact with a page (by clicking a button, for example) after the page has loaded.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This metric measures the visual stability of a website. Specifically, it measures the amount of unexpected layout shifts that occur as a page loads. This can happen, for example, if an image loads after text, causing the text to shift down the page.
Why are Core Web Vitals Important?
Core Web Vitals are important because they measure the user experience on a website. A slow-loading, unresponsive, or visually unstable website is likely to frustrate users, leading to a high bounce rate and low engagement. Google’s algorithm takes user experience into account when ranking websites in search results, so optimizing for Core Web Vitals can help improve your website’s ranking.
How to Improve Your Website’s Performance Based on Core Web Vitals
Improving your website’s performance based on Core Web Vitals requires a multifaceted approach. Here are some tips to get started:
- Optimize Images: One of the main culprits of slow-loading websites is large, unoptimized images. To improve your LCP score, compress images to reduce their file size, and consider lazy-loading images (loading them only when the user scrolls to that part of the page).
- Minimize Third-Party Scripts: Third-party scripts (such as social media widgets or chatbots) can slow down your website’s loading speed. To improve your FID score, consider minimizing the number of third-party scripts on your website or deferring their loading until after the main content has loaded.
- Use Browser Caching: Caching your website’s assets (such as images, stylesheets, and scripts) can improve your website’s loading speed by allowing users to load previously visited pages from their browser cache instead of requesting them again from the server.
- Optimize CSS: Large, unoptimized CSS files can slow down your website’s loading speed and increase CLS. To optimize your CSS, consider reducing the number of stylesheets used on your website and minimizing the amount of CSS used on each page.
- Prioritize Above-the-Fold Content: Above-the-fold content (the content that appears at the top of the page before the user scrolls) should load quickly and be visually stable to improve your LCP and CLS scores. To prioritize this content, consider using a performance budget (a limit on the size of resources that can be loaded on a page) and optimizing critical rendering paths (the order in which resources are loaded on a page).
In conclusion, Core Web Vitals are an important set of metrics that can help improve your website’s user experience and ranking in search results. By optimizing for LCP, FID, and CLS, you can improve your website’s loading speed, interactivity.