In late May, Google issued some new guidance on SEO.

For a couple of years, Google has been telling website owners that the user’s experience on your website matters.  But it’s always been a bit nebulous as to what exactly they were measuring.  Sure, faster is better.  Sure, mobile friendly is better. Got it.  Those are easy.  But what exactly is Google looking at?

With the release of their “Core Web Vitals” report we have a better idea and some numbers to back things up.

These are fairly technical details. They also may be things that you may not have a lot of direct control over. But if search matters to you, then these are things you need to talk with your web host or developer about. The three areas Google says that it is focusing on right now are Loading, Interactivity, and Stability.

1) Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) this is geek speak for how fast has the majority of the main content loaded and visible to the user? Google says they want to see it occur in under 2.5 seconds. This isn’t FCP (First Contentful Paint) – which is how fast do we start to see the page take form in the browser – but how long until the majority of the content is rendered.  

2) First Input Delay (FID) this is geek speak for a measure of how fast a page responds to being interacted with.  Google wants to see 100ms or less – yes milliseconds. So if somebody clicks on something on your site – it doesn’t want the site taking its time in figuring out what to do.

3) Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) This is geek speak for stability of load – once the layout loads – does it stay in place.  We see a lot of instances where things move around – as elements resize or have content materialize, does it force new positioning on other elements?  That’s bad in a touch environment where you start to go tap a button and all of a sudden its no longer there or even worse, a different button is there now. Google wants to see an index score of  0.1 – so not a whole lot of shift. This doesn’t mean you can’t have fancy transitions or hover effects.  But they should result in layout adjustments and once in place should stay in place.

Google said in their Core Web Vitals report that hitting these marks would mean your site is within the 75th percentile of page loads.

To measure where your website stands on these items, Google has added Core Web Vitals stats to their reporting tools that website owners and developers have access to:

If you want to learn more about how your site scores in these key performance areas or want to know what can be done to speed up your website, contact MS Digital Solutions today and ask for a Site Audit.

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