10th November 2020

Next Upcoming Google Ranking Factor: Core Web Vitals

Hannah Spelman

As of May 2021, Google has announced a new ranking factor will come into play: core web vitals. Simply understood, Google will be focusing on when a visitor comes to your site, how does the speed of it impact their experience. This means it is more important than ever to improve your site speed for users, on both mobile and desktop.

Why Is Site Speed So Important?

Users want information as quickly as they can, and become easily frustrated if there is a delay in a web page loading. This delay can have a big impact on conversion rate, as they bounce off your site and visit a competitor’s which is faster loading. 

Back in 2018, according to Google, 53% of mobile users will leave a page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. If users are leaving your site due to frustration over the length of time it takes to load a page, this will directly impact the number of enquiries or sales coming through. 

As a result of this, Google announced that site speed was to become a ranking factor. This means that if you are up against a competitor and their pages load quicker, it could mean they will outrank you and appear higher in search results, stealing your potential traffic. If you’re already targeting very competitive searches, the speed of your site is going to make a difference in you getting the upper hand in search results.

What Are ‘Core Web Vitals’?

Core web vitals are broken down into three separate categories:

  1. Largest contentful paint - this indicates how long it takes for a page to load
  2. Cumulative layout shift - this measures how stable the page is. An example of a site which has a poor cumulative layout shift would be one where the page appears to be fully loaded, then when a user goes to click on an element, such as a phone number, at the last minute that element jumps and appears somewhere else on the page.
  3. First input delay - this measures how fast the page becomes interactive. So if a page uses Javascript to process a form, for example, and a user clicks on that form, how long does the site take to process that action and produce a result?

Together these three factors make up the core web vitals and will become part of Google’s algorithm as of 2021. Outside of this, it’s important to get good scores across the board on them because they really impact user experience.

What Is The Update Going To Mean To My Business? 

If you have a slow website once the update rolls out, you may well see a decline in organic traffic and from this, enquiries. This is because Google has stated that core web vitals will become part of it’s algorithm and so you can expect Google to take preference to a site with a faster speed than one which loads slowly. if your site loads slower than competitors, you are likely to see a decline in where you rank within search results for a given search. 

As Google is clear that the speed of a site is an important factor, if your site is slow as of 2021 you may well see a very real impact on your KPIs. This is why it is important to focus on your core web vitals now and not leave it until the update rolls out.

When Will The Update Happen?

Google has announced that the update will roll out as of May 2021. To get ahead of this and be in as best position as possible, we would strongly recommend reviewing the core web vitals and carrying out any work to improve these metrics as soon as possible.

How Can I-COM Help?

We want to make sure that our clients’ pages are performing at their fastest speeds, especially compared to their competitors. We have a site speed offering which is a proactive maintenance service to ensure your website is performing to the best of its ability all year round. As part of this offering, we will review how your site measures for the three core web vitals and what actions are required to improve these metrics.

This service means that you as clients don’t have to worry about the increasing emphasis on page load speed, as regular maintenance will combat any issues

We have two packages available, a one-off service and a retained service. Both services entail us reviewing both the metrics within Lighthouse and Search Console to identify what is slowing down page speed and core web vitals, outlining what activity needs to be carried out to improve these metrics and then actioning this.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about core web vitals or you would like any more information on our site speed services, contact us using the form or call us on 0161 3023170.