Over the past several months, you may have heard about “Core Web Vitals” and wondered what this means. I’ve also had several of you ask, “What can you do to improve your website?
If you’re confused and unclear how to prepare your website for Google’s latest algorithm update (which will gradually start rolling out mid-June 2021 until August), we hope this will provide you with some clarity.
In a nutshell, this core update is all about speed and performance. Not only are these important for the user experience, they are really important for SEO (search engine optimization) ranking with Google.
*This post contains affiliate links.
What Are Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals are a set of scores used to reflect the experience a user has when visiting your website. These scores, aka ‘vitals’, are made up of three key metrics:
LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) – how long does it take for the largest element on your website to visually load, i.e. a hero image, slider, etc.; a good score is within 2.5 seconds.
FID (First Input Delay) – this measures how much time it takes before a visitor can click, scroll or do something on your page; a good score is less than 100ms.
CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) – how visually stable the page is – does your website stay still while it’s loading? Or does any content “jump around” or “shift” as the page loads; a good score is less than 0.1.
Google essentially wants a visitor to click a search result, see your content quickly, be able to interact with it immediately, and for it to remain stable on the page.
It’s important to note that this is about how your page code loads and is rendered, just as much as it is about your site’s loading speed.
What Can You Do To Improve Your Website?
As a website and business owner, your theme does play a role in these metrics, but there are other factors that also contribute to producing good scores. Here’s some things that can help your site to load and render quickly for your visitors:
- Use a quality website hosting service. This alone can have a massive impact to your website speed. One of the most popular shared web hosts on the market is BlueHost because it’s inexpensive. When you’re just starting out, BlueHost is great, but as you grow and site speed and performance becomes a key component, we recommend WPX.
- Evaluate your plugins. Plugins are amazing tools for providing additional functionality to your site, however, you want to make sure that they are only doing what you need them to do and nothing more. Stick with plugins that perform one main function, not plugins that try to “do all things.” Note: every plugin you use adds code to your website that has to be loaded each time a user visits your site. Fewer plugins keep that load as light as possible.
- Use a caching plugin. Caching can drastically reduce website load speeds by eliminating server processing times.
- Images. It’s so important to have all of your images optimized and compressed. By reducing the file size of your images, your webpages will load faster. Note: Larger images increase your download times.
Work With Us
Because of Google’s Core Web Vitals, and older theme’s that were created with technology that didn’t exist or contain all the things that Google is now asking for, we want to reassure you that this is something we are dedicated to.
Behind the scenes, we are constantly exploring how we can truly help you to create a better website and a better business with our tools, courses and services.
We see our role as working alongside you and for you, to help your online blog and business grow.
For now, we encourage you to get good hosting, get rid of unnecessary plugins, set up site caching, optimize images, and update your theme if needed.
Want to see if your site passes the Core Web Vitals assessment? You can test it out HERE.
P.S. Gutenberg block editor is here to stay (and the Classic Editor will no longer be supported beginning in 2022) so if you’re still using Classic Editor, you’ll want to switch over to block editor soon.