Core Web Vitals: Google’s New 2021 Ranking Factors

In the end of summer 2021, Google announced a major update of its algorithm which aims to promote websites with a good user experience in search results. To this end, Google has announced its algorithm would start taking into account, as early as May 2021, new ranking factors that measure the general user experience on a website. Google calls these new ranking factors the Core Web Vitals

These ranking factors will affect both mobile and desktop search results. These Core Web Vitals will become a criterion to appear in Google’s Top Stories. Previously, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) were required to be part of Google News, but this is no longer the case in 2021. Consequently, these new ranking factors could potentially have a lot of weight on your website’s SEO on Google. The Core Web Vitals include these three KPIs: largest contentful paint (LCP), cumulative layout shift (CLS) and first input delay (FID). 

1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) 

This indicator measures the time it takes to download the largest piece of content (image, video) on a page. The longer its loading time, the lower the score. The LCP can be influenced by various elements, such as your Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) or your Javascript. Google considers a LCP below 2.5s to be good. 

2.  Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) 

This indicator measures the time it takes a page to stabilize once it’s loaded. In other words, before its layout display is finalized. If you have ever tried to click a button while the page was still loading and you ended up clicking the wrong button because at the last second the page shifted, then you have experienced a CLS. This is the poor user experience that Google humorously illustrates in this video

A factor of instability of your page can be, for example, that your image dimensions are not defined in your html. Google considers a CLS score below 0.1 to be good. 

3. First Input Delay (FID)

This third indicator measures the time a page takes to be interactive. That is, when a user clicks on an element, Google evaluates how long it takes the browser to process and produce a result. This can depend on your Javascript or your third party code. Google considers that an FID under 100ms is good. 

The Importance of These New Ranking Factors  in 2021

It is important to know that even though Google evaluates thousands of ranking factors, improving just one element can have a big impact on your SEO. Moreover, according to Google, page speed improves user experience. In fact, visitors are 24% less likely to leave a website if it has good performance indicators.

In 2021, Google has announced to take into account new ranking factors: Core Web Vitals. Learn more about their impact on your SEO with Index.

As a web marketing agency specializing in SEO, Index can help you. Evaluate your SEO and improve your website according to these new ranking factors. Our team will be more than happy to offer our service or even training. Contact us for more information.