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Get Your Website Ready for Google’s Core Web Vitals Update

by: Emma Harris Marketing Associate

Is your website ready for a major change in the Google algorithm?

Google is introducing a new ranking factor in 2021, called Web Core Vitals, that will reward websites with a positive user experience. This update will affect your website’s ability to appear in the top-ranked search results in Google’s algorithm. To maintain your position, or even jump ahead of your competition, consider the following to be ready for this change.

The page experience signals to know.

There are three main factors, or page experience signals, that Google said will contribute to your search rank. These are Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). 

 

Largest Contentful Paint.

LCP measures how fast your page loads when users enter your site. Ideally, your page should load under 4 seconds (2.5 seconds is optimal). Many factors can impact this, like any videos you have on the site or your largest image size. Improve your LCP with the following steps. 
  1. Optimize compression. Large images may be slowing down your site speed. You can reduce the size of the image without compromising the quality. The two things to consider here are file format and compression type.
  2. Incorporate a CDN. A CDN, or content delivery network, is a network of servers linked together that enables a fast transfer of assets such as images, videos, JavaScript, HTML, and so on. SilverTech uses a CDN on most websites built for clients. Contact us to see if your website currently uses a CDN.
  3. Use server caching. Caching is the process of storing data. A server cache stores content, code and other data on a server and is controlled by the server instead of the user.
  4. Lazy load your images. Lazy loading your images allows images to appear on the site if the user actually reaches the location the image resides. It delays the image loading into the site until it is clear the user will view the image. For example, if an image is low on the page, and the user does not reach the bottom, the image will not load and will not affect page speed. This technique is used for images that are below the fold of content. 

First Input Delay.

FID evaluates the speed of your page interactions. It looks at the time it takes to arrive at a link’s destination after a user clicks a particular link. The ideal website processes the click rapidly, under 300ms (100ms is optimal). Speed up your page interactions with the below steps.
  1. Break up JavaScript. JavaScript is a programming language that makes your web page interactive. By breaking it up, you ensure that the JavaScript is loading script needed for the page the user requested.
  2. Minify JavaScript and CSS. Minifying involves reducing the redundancies of a file that are not crucial for the file to execute, therefore reducing page speed.
  3. Use server caching.
  4. Prioritize JavaScript. Make sure your JavaScript loads the script that is the greatest value to the user first and defer the rest.

Cumulative Layout Shift.

CLS monitors the stability of your website. Does the website shift when it loads? Do pages drop out of frame or move based on an animation or image loading? Prevent instability on your site with the below steps.
  1. Include width and height attributes on your images. You can also include these attributes on your video elements, or you can use an image aspect ratio.
  2. Reserve ad space. Leave enough space on your page for dynamic content such as ads, alerts or promotions, so that the appearance of dynamic content doesn’t disrupt your site.
  3. Add new content below existing content. It is helpful to avoid inserting new content above existing content, unless it's done because of a user interaction.
  4. Preload fonts. Try to preload any custom fonts to prevent layout shifting and flashes.

Some of these recommendations can be accomplished by members of your team with CMS access. However, many of these recommendations require the help of a developer. SilverTech’s development team is ready to assist. 

Don’t let Google’s web core values update ruin your website’s Google rank. Take the above steps to maintain your web presence. It is also important to remember that this is just the latest algorithm change by Google. There are many ways to positively impact SEO and stand out in organic search ranking. Contact us for help with your website SEO.