A big decision early in the lifecycle of a B2B SaaS Company is the technology, domain and infrastructure to host your website on. Here’s my take on...
If you're a website owner or an SEO specialist, you may have heard about the term "core web vitals." In 2021, Google announced that they would include Core Web Vitals in their ranking algorithm. This means that core web vitals have become essential in determining a website's ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs).
What are core web vitals, and why are they important for SEO?
Core web vitals are a set of user experience metrics that measure how fast a web page loads, how quickly users can interact with the page, and how stable the page is as it loads.
Core web vitals are important for SEO because they are a key factor in determining the user experience of a website. A website that loads quickly, is interactive, and has a stable layout is more likely to provide a positive user experience than a website that takes a long time to load, is unresponsive, and has a layout that constantly shifts.
A positive user experience is crucial for SEO because it encourages users to stay on the website longer, engage with the content, and share it with others. A website that provides a positive user experience is also more likely to attract links from other websites, which can improve its ranking on SERPs.
In addition to improving user experience, optimizing for core web vitals can also help improve website performance. By reducing the page load time, optimizing the layout, and making the website more interactive, website owners can improve their website's speed, which can improve their ranking on SERPs.
How is my web vitals score determined?
Your website will be graded based on three primary metrics:
Let’s take a look at what each of these actually means and how you can improve your score in each area.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): this measures the loading performance of a web page. It measures the time taken for the largest content element (such as an image or text block) on the page to load.
The following optimizations are recommended to improve your LCP score:
- Optimize images: reduce the file size of images to speed up their loading time.
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN): a CDN can help distribute the content across multiple servers, reducing the loading time.
- Optimize the server response time: make sure your server responds quickly to requests, as this can also affect the LCP.
First Input Delay (FID): this measures the time a web page takes to respond when a user interacts with it, such as by clicking a button or a link.
These optimizations can help improve your FID score:
- Optimize event handlers: make sure event handlers are efficient and not causing delays.
- Use a faster server: a faster server can reduce the time it takes for a user's input to be processed.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): this measures the visual stability of a web page. It measures how much the page layout shifts as it loads.
CLS optimizations should include:
- Specify image and video dimensions: this can prevent layout shifts caused by the loading of media files.
- Reserve space for ads and embeds: preallocate space for ads and embeds to prevent layout shifts when they load.
- Avoid inserting content above existing content: this can cause layout shifts, so make sure to insert content below existing content.
How can you optimize for core web vitals?
Optimizing for core web vitals involves several factors, including optimizing images and videos, improving server response time, reducing render-blocking resources, and minimizing layout shifts. Google has provided a set of tools to help website owners and SEO specialists optimize for core web vitals, including the PageSpeed Insights tool and the Search Console Core Web Vitals report.
To optimize for core web vitals, you can consider the following steps beyond those we’ve already looked at in the section above:
- Optimize images and videos by compressing them, reducing their size, and using the appropriate file format.
- Improve server response time by using a Content Delivery Network (CDN), optimizing your server configuration, and reducing the number of requests made to the server.
- Minimize layout shifts by ensuring that content does not shift unexpectedly during page load or user interactions, optimizing font loading, and reserving space for ads and images.
- Use Google's tools, such as the PageSpeed Insights tool and the Search Console Core Web Vitals report, to measure your website's performance and identify areas for improvement.
By optimizing for core web vitals, you can improve user experience and increase your website's ranking on search engines, leading to increased traffic and engagement.
In conclusion, core web vitals are an essential factor in determining a website's ranking on SERPs. By optimizing for core web vitals, website owners and SEO specialists can improve the user experience of their website, attract more links, and improve their website's speed and performance. To learn more about core web vitals and how to optimize for them, check out the resources provided by Google and other reputable sources in the SEO community:
- Google's Web Vitals documentation: https://web.dev/vitals/
- Moz's guide to Core Web Vitals: https://moz.com/learn/seo/core-web-vitals
- SEMrush's Core Web Vitals study: https://www.semrush.com/blog/core-web-vitals-study/
Example websites that are performing well in terms of Core Web Vitals are:
- Trello (https://www.trello.com/): Trello is a project management tool that is known for its simple and intuitive interface. It has a fast loading speed, with a time to interact (TTI) of under two seconds, which means users can start using the site quickly without any delay. Trello also has a low cumulative layout shift (CLS) score, which means that the site is visually stable and doesn't move around as users interact with it.
- Mailchimp (https://www.mailchimp.com/): Mailchimp is an email marketing platform that is popular among small businesses. The site has a fast loading speed, with a TTI of under two seconds, and a low CLS score, which means that the site is visually stable. Mailchimp also has good accessibility practices, such as using alt text for images and having a high contrast ratio, which ensures that the site is usable by all users.
- Canny (https://www.canny.io/): Canny is a product feedback tool that helps businesses collect and organize user feedback. The site has a fast loading speed, with a TTI of under two seconds, and a low CLS score, which means that the site is visually stable. Canny also has good accessibility practices, such as using semantic HTML and providing keyboard navigation, which ensures that the site is usable by all users.
Overall, these websites are performing well in terms of Core Web Vitals because they have a fast loading speed, low CLS scores, and good accessibility practices. This ensures that users can quickly and easily access the information they need, without any visual or functional disruptions. Check out next “SaaS SEO best practices: dos and don'ts” and “How to optimize images to improve page speed and SEO of your website” to keep up with the SEO trends!