Sorry for all the TWI's (Three World Initialisms!). But if you work in SEO, or own a website, these are important terms. Keep reading and we'll explain all.
Back in May 2019, Google Search Console introduced a new reporting section called Enhancements.
At the time it focused on technical SEO issues such as structured data (rich snippets) errors, mobile usability, review snippets, sitelinks, product data, and page speed. In 2020, however, the Enhancements report focuses on reporting something that is far more interesting to marketers - the Core Web Vitals Report.
Google explains Core Web Vitals as the following:
This real-world data is really important. What Google is telling us is that they are using user's data from their Chrome Browser via the Chrome User Experience (CRUX) Report.
Google is starting to look in more detail about the actual experience that visitors are having when they arrive at your website, not just whether they are engaging with your website in the search listings.
Some of the measures Google uses for page experience.
What are the goals of Core Web Vitals?
The goal of Core Web Vitals is to measure the actual user experience using various goals. These goals include:
Page loading performance
This is already a metric known as LCF (Largest Contentful Paint). It can be seen within the PageSpeed Insights tool and a number of other developer tools including Chrome Lighthouse SEO Tool. LCF, or Largest Contentful Paint is a metric designed to assess how well a page loads for users.
Interactivity looks to measure the level of responsiveness of a page when a user first tries to interact with it. The metric used to measure interactivity is First Input Delay (FID). Again, this is not a new metric, and there is documentation on it from Google here.
You’ll probably have experienced (particularly on your mobile device) pages that after you arrive, the content shifts due to new elements appearing. Sometimes this makes you accidentally click on an ad and it is generally an annoying page experience. This experience is known as visual stability. Google has introduced a new metric called Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) that aims at assessing the visual stability of a page.
'Enhancement' data reports
An Important SEO Ranking Factor for 2021
In May 2020 Google announced that in 2021 it will be integrating the Core Web Vitals metrics with a new ranking signal. The upcoming ranking signal will be known as the page experience signal. There is no need to take immediate action, Google says, as these changes will not happen before next year.
What should I do in the meantime?
While we won’t see these signals being used in the next six months by Google you should be thinking about preparing your site to match Google’s UX recommendations. These include;
- Having clear descriptive Call to Actions near the top of each page
- Not using full page interstitials (pop ups)
- Removing automatic carousels
- Ensuring that your top page categories are easily seen on your homepage
- Showing a consolidated menu
- Implementing click to call / store locator buttons and pages
- Implementing a clear search option which is easily visible on all pages
- Having a value proposition at every point in your sales funnel (add to cart, checkout etc.)
- Allowing users to filter large numbers of products and product options
- Communicating sign up benefits in a clear and concise manner where appropriate
- Social sign in options
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