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Core Web Vitals: A Significant Change to Google’s Ranking Algorithm

Core Web Vitals: A Significant Change to Google’s Ranking Algorithm
Core Web Vitals

In May of this year, Google announced a new Google ranking factor, which is scheduled to go live during the course of 2021. Google has dubbed it the “Page Experience” factor.

When will Google’s Page Experience algorithm update kick in?

Google promised six months’ notice before the Page Experience update is rolled out.

This notice has now been given. The update will happen in May 2021.

What will contribute to Page Experience scores

What Google calls “Core Web Vitals” will form a significant part of the Page Experience score for a page.

Core Web Vitals include a set of three user-centered metrics:

  • Largest Contentful Paint, or LCP (how long it takes the largest content element on a page to load)
  • First Input Delay, or FID (how long it takes before users can interact with the page)
  • Cumulative Layout Shift, or CLS (how stable the page is, or how much content moves around, as the page loads).

Google will assess other user experience metrics too.

For example, it will check whether a web page is mobile-friendly, runs on HTTPS and is safe for browsing.

It will also check if a site includes intrusive interstital ads. These are ads that cover the screen before or after an expected content page.

Core Web Vitals: impact on SEO and website ranking

It’s anticipated that the 2021 Google algorithm update will have a significant effect on search engine ranking.

The elements that make up the Page Experience factor aren’t entirely new or ground-breaking.

However, these elements will have greater weight overall.

The Core Web Vitals metrics pinpoint specific facets of page experience that it’s now important to optimise.

Along with affecting ranking in search results, a healthy Core Web Vitals score is going to become a requirement for appearing in Google Top Stories. These are the highlighted news entries that appear at the top of search results.

Implications of Google’s algorithm update for business websites

Providing visitors with the type of experience that Google rewards depends on modern, lightweight web design practices and fast server response times.

Websites that already load quickly and make it easy for visitors to get to what they need will be ahead of the game.

To rank optimally, business websites may require a range of refinements.

In some cases, older sites may even have to be redesigned – or risk losing organic search traffic.

Given the scope of the optimisation work that may be required, the best advice is to start preparing now.

At Gnu World Media, we have the technical expertise to optimise business websites for Core Web Vitals and other 2021 changes to Google’s ranking algorithm. Contact us to discuss your needs and we’ll be happy to help.