In May 2021, Google started to use a set of factors that it is calling ‘Core Web Vitals’ as part of its ranking signals. These factors are based on the user experience of a website and is likely to impact on the ranking of websites depending on its assessment of the signals. These factors had been in place before May but will have more of an impact from now onwards. They largely cover how users experience speed, responsiveness and stability of a web page.
If you havent sone so already, it is now time to prepare your website for this and understand more about the impact this may have.
Web Core Vitals – This is covered by three main points:
Largest Contentful Paint: The time it takes for a page’s main content to load. An ideal LCP measurement is 2.5 seconds or faster.
First Input Delay: The time it takes for a page to become interactive. An ideal measurement is less than 100 ms.
Cumulative Layout Shift: The amount of unexpected layout shift of visual page content. An ideal measurement is less than 0.1.
You can find details of these figures in the Google Search Console if you have this set up already for your website. Usually if you have Google Analytics, this may have been added as part of that.
Alternatively, you can test your websites current performance via a test as provided by Google here. This will provide scores for the points above plus some clues as to what needs improving.
And also via the Lighthouse Speed test (part of Web Vitals) here which gives scores for mobile and desktop seperately which can be helpful to identify issues.
How to improve things?
WordPress websites can be rather tricky to achieve high scores with as they often have a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ coding that can impact on scores here but plugins are available to help. Plus there are a number of standard practices that can help, like making sure your images are optimised for web usage and installing a caching plugin to help with speeds. And having good quality hosting can also have an effect on scores too.