Improve Your Website’s Core Web Vitals in 4 Ways

28 December 2023

The buzzword circling in the digital marketing world is SEO (Search Engine Optimization), prompting brands and businesses to improve their websites and social media accounts in hopes their content ranks higher in search results. To help businesses understand how their SEO and User Experience (UX) are performing, Google scores a website’s Core Web Vitals.

What Are Core Web Vitals? 

Google uses many algorithms, ranking signs, and signals that determine how content is ranked across the internet. One of these is user experience. To measure a website’s user experience, Google has created Core Web Vitals, a series of metrics such as loading time, interactivity, and visual stability of the page. 

Each website is given an overall Core Web Vitals score, with higher scores revealing positive page experiences, SEO, and user experience. To determine this score, Google uses the following metrics: 

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): In other words, a website’s loading performance of the largest image or text blocks. Google recommends an LCP of 2.5 seconds or less. 
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
  • First Input Delay (FID): This measures the time a user first interacts with a page, to when the browser loads from this action. Google recommends an FID of 100 milliseconds or less. 
First Input Delay (FID)
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Measures visual stability and how often users experience an unexpected layout shift. Google recommends a CLS of 0.1 seconds or less. 
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

INP Core Web Vitals 

Starting in March 2024, Interaction to Next Paint (INP) will replace FID. INP measures overall responsiveness to a user interaction. This INP value represents the longest interaction observed on the site. Google recommends an INP of 200 milliseconds or less. 

Interaction to Next Paint (INP)

How to Find Your Website’s Core Web Vitals Score 

As mentioned above, each website is given an overall core web vitals score. Site owners should strive for a high Core Web Vitals score to ensure positive SEO, user experience, and search results. 

To find this score, and Core Web Vital reports, here are a few platforms that provide this information: 

Google Search Console 

Google provides Core Web Vitals reports through Google Search Console, also known as the Chrome Experience Report. You can find this under the Experience tab, labeled as Core Web Vitals. 

Here you can see how your website is performing based on real-world usage data. This report breaks down the four metrics, CLS, FID, INP, and LCP, showing a status for each (Poor, Needs Improvement, or Good). The report also groups similar URLs together. 

This report will show results for both Mobile and Desktop versions of your site. Here you can view individual URLs, to see which ones need improvement, and which are performing well. 

Google Search Console Core Web Vitals reports

PageSpeed Insights 

Another tool to view your Core Web Vitals is PageSpeed Insights. You can simply enter the URL of your website and view analytics for mobile and desktop. This tool utilizes the same metrics as Google Search Console, with the addition of Time to First Byte (TTFB). 

The report breaks down scores for overall Performance, Accessibility, Best Practices, and SEO. You can view detailed diagnostics for each section to see how you can improve your pages. 

PageSpeed Insights report
PageSpeed Insights performance

4 Ways to Improve Your Core Web Vitals Score

If you are looking to improve your Core Web Vitals score, here are some tips to boost your site’s performance and overall user experience. 

Optimize your site for mobile devices 

More and more people are using mobile devices over desktops to view sites. Therefore, it’s important to ensure your site has a positive user experience on the mobile version. First of all, since mobile devices have smaller screens, your website’s content should be sized accordingly. Creating a CSS grid layout allows you to change images and designs to adapt to different screen sizes. 

Decreasing loading time will also help improve your user experience. If your mobile version has a slow loading time, longer than about 3 seconds, you will most likely lose many people. To increase the chances of a faster loading time, cut down on web elements and make sure the site is not too overwhelming. 

Size images properly 

Another way to improve your site is to optimize images by ensuring they are properly sized and have ALT attributions. Large images can affect your Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), so paying attention to the loading times of these images is important. You can also compress images to reduce the file size. You can use a tool such as TinyPNG to compress images. For sites in WordPress, images are automatically assigned dimensions through the editor. 

Try using a Content Delivery Network 

Content Delivery Networks allow site owners to store content across multiple servers so that users will be served content from servers that are close to them. This can also help increase the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). 

One of the most common Content Delivery Networks is Cloudflare, which can help boost loading times, website and app security, and caching distribution. The only downside of this is that it can be somewhat expensive. 

Implement a caching system 

Alternatively to using a CDN, implementing a caching system allows for faster loading times. Caching saves your site’s files so that visitors avoid waiting for data to be sent from the website server to their browser. In other words, caching localizes content to servers closer to these users which speeds up loading times and increases the chances of positive user experience. 

There are two types of caching, client-side caching, and server-side caching. Client-side caching stores a copy of the website’s data onto a user’s hard drive, while server-side caching involves saving data on a third-party server, usually through a CDN. Caching can also boost your website’s SEO and overall site performance. 

Many web hosts include built-in caching or site owners can install caching plugins on their sites. 

Overall, Core Web Vitals are extremely useful for understanding the performance and user experience of your site. Optimizing your website for Core Web Vitals can also boost your site’s SEO, helping your website and content rank in search engines. 

Looking for ways to improve both your on-site and off-site SEO? Read this guide below to understand how each works, and how to boost your site both onsite and external sites. 

Anniston Ward Anniston Ward , 28 December 2023

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