What is it?
Core Web Vitals are a subset of the broader Web Vitals that apply to all web pages and are surfaced across all Google tools.
These are currently comprised of:
- Largest Contentful Paint (load speed)
- First Input Delay (how quickly a page becomes interactive)
- Cumulative Layout Shift (how visually stable a page is)
In August 2021 Google finished rolling out the Page Experience update (on mobile) which combined these 3 core web vitals with pre-existing ranking factors to add new signals to determine how well a site should perform in Google’s organic search results.
Since the algorithm roll-out there have been suggestions for how these core web vitals and, therefore, the algorithm might evolve over time.
Why is it important?
If new metrics are added to Core Web Vitals and are included in the Page Experience update then there will be new ranking factors that need to be considered when defining an SEO strategy.
Furthermore, pages that were historically classed as “good” by Google may fall into “needs improvement” or “poor” following the addition of new metrics. This could lead to performance issues.
So far there have been rumours that 3 new metrics could be added or enhanced:
Responsiveness – this is currently represented by FID and is being developed to measure interaction latency
Smoothness – a metric that would score pages on whether they “stutter” or “freeze” during scrolling
Time To First Byte (TTFB) – a load speed metric to compliment LCP
What to do next?
These metrics are currently in development and there is no confirmation that they will become ranking factors. However, if you’re looking to future proof your SEO strategy then getting ahead on these metrics before they become part of the algorithm is prudent.
These metrics are designed to measure user experience and improving towards these will provide a better experience for users on your site. For example, improving page load speed can improve organic rankings but more importantly it also improves conversion rate.
If you’re not already considering UX and SEO within the same workflow then this is the time to see how these disciplines can enhance each other.
If you’re still underperforming against Core Web Vitals then getting those in order ahead of further additions to the algorithm is critical.