Google Core Web Vitals Update is coming up in June 2021!

Google SEO

Back even before I started my business in 2011, I remember Google’s major “Panda” and “Penguin” updates. That changed how websites rank or don’t rank on the Google search engine. With this major update, businesses who enjoyed being on the first page of Google — mostly by cheating the search engine with black-hat tactics — found themselves buried or kicked off of Google completely. It ruined businesses who depended on being on the first page.

Face it, if your website doesn’t come up on the first page for your major keywords, you might as well close up shop. No one goes past the first or second page of a Google search. So, all of your hard content marketing work will be for nothing!

Here’s What You Need to Know Now about Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals Test

First, understand that Google has just about 90% of all global searches, so, yes, you need to pay attention. (Source)

Second, a lot of this is technical stuff and you may need a web developer to help you. Now, if you are on a platform like Shopify or Etsy, it’s up to them to figure it out for you. If you’re on Wix, Weebly or on a site builder, they may or may not have this figured out. With either case, they should have something about Core Web Vitals in their help system or at least informed you of what it means for your website. If not, it may be time to move your site to a hosted platform. Furthermore, the best one is WordPress. It’s preferred because you own it, you customize it and you control everything — including updates.

On the other hand, if you already, have a hosted website — WordPress or other — you’ll need to test your site to see where it’s failing. Use Google’s Page Speed test.

The Three Vital Components of Core Web Vitals

 Important! What You Need to Know Now About Google Core Web Vitals

The idea behind these is to have a better user experience (UX). In the long run, this will benefit you as potential customers are more likely to find you, stay on your page and convert. A bad UX will cost you sales!

  1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This is how fast a page loads on a mobile device. Here’s what may affect it…
    • Slow server response time – this is at the hosting level. If after you run the test, this comes up as an issue, contact your web host.
    • Java and CSS code and script in the back end of a page that blocks rendering (loading) – this is at the developer level. If you’re on one of the page builder sites, this may be a factor that cannot be remedied. On WordPress, changing your theme would be an option. This article from Search Engine Journal has some tips and SEO friendly WordPress themes you can check out.
    • Large graphics or videos – I know that the large graphics are cool, but if they take too long load, they hurt you rather than help. I still recommend putting a video on your home page to help explain what you do or have to offer, but upload it to YouTube, then just embed the link. That way the video is watchable on your site, but the load is on YouTube.
  2. First Input Delay (FID) – This measures how soon a visitor can interact with your page. Pop-ups, cookie banners, and other dynamic elements will hurt more than help. Especially on a mobile device. The most frustrating thing for me is trying to read an article on my tablet and a stupid popup blocks the whole screen. It’s so big that I have to turn the tablet so I can see the “x” to close it. That’s what this is all about. If this causes sites to remove popups, I’m all for it! JavaScript also can hinder this. Unfortunately, that’s what most of these easy, DIY site builders use. Again, it may be time to upgrade to WordPress.
  3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – This looks at the visual stability of each page. I had this problem on my site. When I redid it, I just uploaded the graphics to the slider on the home page and I didn’t pay attention to the sizes of the pictures. They were all different sizes. When the slider automatically showed the next graphic, it would move all the page text either up or down. I ended up removing the slider all together. It wasn’t really needed. I still have other factors to look into. Other elements that can affect this are…
    • Advertisements of different sizes
    • Cookie banners
    • Notices
    • Images, embeds and iframes without dimensions – this will happen if your website hasn’t been updated in a few years.
    • Certain web fonts. If you are using fancy web fonts, these also may be hurting your site.

In Summary, the Three Core Web Vitals cover…

  1. LCP – loading
  2. FID – interactivity
  3. CLS – visual stability

So, the first thing you need to do is run Google’s Page Speed Test. Then, review the results and show it to your webmaster to see how it can be improved. If you have a WordPress site, Google has a free plugin, Site Kit that connects to Google Analytics, Search Console and the Page Speed Test. This is what came up for one of my clients. I have some work to do…

Google Site Kit, Core Web Vitals test

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This article originally appeared on the AZ Social Media Wiz Blog

About the Author(s)

Giselle Aguiar, AZ Social Media Wiz

Giselle Aguiar, founder of AZ Social Media Wiz is a social media, content & digital marketing consultant & trainer. She specializes in market research, strategic planning, search engine optimization (SEO), social media and marketing automation setups, training and coaching.

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Trainer and Coach, AZ Social Media Wiz
 Important! What You Need to Know Now About Google Core Web Vitals