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Google and other search engines update and tweak their algorithms all the time. Hundreds of updates occur every year in Google alone. Most of these changes are minor and do not create any significant impact on your site’s performance. Last May, however, Google announced a major update related to Core Web Vitals.

And this one is highly likely to create some waves.

If you’ve seen a change in traffic or just want some expert eyes on your site’s overall health, reach out to Uyo Digital Marketing. Our team can perform an audit to look under the hood and see how your website is holding up with these changes. Get your audit underway today.

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Table of Contents

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Wait. What Did Google Do Again?

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Google’s Core Web Vitals In a Nutshell

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Why Is CWV Important for Your Business?

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Improve Core Web Vitals Effortlessly

Wait. What Did Google Do Again?

In May 2020, Google announced that it would be releasing a significant algorithm update. This change would involve new ranking signals from a set of metrics called Core Web Vitals. The intent behind this update is to enhance the website user’s experience.

Remember, Google’s goal is to return relevant results every time someone enters a search query into their browser. That is why SEO, high-quality content, and mobile-friendliness are so crucial.

The Core Web Vitals metric, however, looks at website function as a measurement of user experience. So while content remains critical, your site’s performance is now under review, too.

It’s a rarity to get that kind of detail and advanced warning about a core Google update. So for many SEO professionals, this announcement created a sense of urgency and maybe even some panic. 

However, it’s unlikely this announcement was ever on the radar for you if you’re a typical small business owner. And if you did hear about it, it probably dropped below the 287 other things on your to-do list. 

But as the updates are finally rolling out now, you may have noticed a dip in your web traffic. Perhaps you’ve even seen a significant drop, and you couldn’t for the life of you figure out why. Now you know. It’s Google’s fault.

But the good news is that you can take steps to boost your website’s performance. First, let’s be clear on what Google is evaluating.

Google’s Core Web Vitals In a Nutshell

Here are the three areas Google assesses for each website as it determines which sites to show in search results. Full disclosure: they gave these metrics horrible, clunky names. But here they are, along with some practical steps you can take for your website.

1. First Input Delay

First Input Delay (FID) looks at your site’s interactivity and how quickly it responds when a visitor inputs something. That is, it measures how long it takes for a page to become interactive once a visitor takes an action, such as clicking a button or drop-down menu.

Ideally, you want your pages to respond within 100 milliseconds for the best user experience. 

Many websites have a slow FID because their themes and plugins were not designed to comply with this new metric. As developers improve their products, this issue should resolve. But in the meantime, clean up your unused plugins and themes and optimize your Javascript. These steps can make a big difference in your website’s performance.

2. Cumulative Layout Shift

The Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) metric is gauging a page’s stability. CLS refers to the unexpected shifting of web page elements while the page loads. You’ve probably seen it yourself. Images or videos move around, fonts change, and suddenly buttons aren’t where they were a second ago.

It can be jarring for a visitor to experience this movement. It’s annoying when you try to click on something, the page elements suddenly shift, and then you’ve hit the wrong link, button, or video. Many website visitors will leave a site when this happens, further impacting rankings.

If your site has problems with CLS, hiring a web developer is your best bet. However, optimizing other page speed factors can also help improve a user’s overall experience. Being careful about the number of fonts you use and how many ads you allow on your site will also minimize CLS.

3. Largest Contentful Paint

Of the three Core Web Vital metrics, Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is probably the easiest to improve for the average person. This mouthful of a metric simply measures the time it takes to load the largest visible content element. 

Essentially, it measures how long it takes someone to see the most important part of your web page, whether it’s text or media. Pages that require more than 2.5 seconds to load the LCP will get lower scores.

To improve your website’s LCP, you need to optimize the media, such as videos and photos. Consider using an image optimization tool to compress images without sacrificing quality. Or you can convert your pictures to a modern format, like WebP, to reduce loading time. Avoid gifs on your website and use videos instead.

Why Are Core Web Vitals Important for Your Business?

Now that you understand the Google Core Web Vitals, how much should you care about them? Truthfully, you should care quite a bit for two reasons. 

  1. Google cares about them. And the bottom line is that to have a robust digital presence, you need to play Google’s game. Yes, there are other search engines, and we don’t discount them. But Google commands over 92% of the market when it comes to searches. You can’t not follow their wishes.
  2. Your potential customers care. The whole reason Google is making these changes is to improve the user experience. Anything your audience cares about should hold some importance for you, too. And they want a high-functioning site that responds to them quickly. 

If you have gone to the trouble and expense of developing a kick-ass product or service and a website to help you sell, then make sure it’s working well! 

We’ve had clients who come to us because it seems like everything should be working. They have a great service or product, and their social media marketing is gaining traction.

And then? Crickets. No sales. No conversions. Traffic is dropping.

Why? Because once the excited hordes visit their website, they find that the images take forever to load. Or the buttons don’t respond quickly. Or pictures are moving all over the place. Google notices, too, and they penalize your site in the rankings and search results.

A poor user experience causes people to go back to the search results immediately to start over on another site. And it impacts your search engine rankings, making it harder for people to find you in the first place.

Improve Core Web Vitals Effortlessly

This important Google update has been coming for more than a year. But until the rollout started, pretty much only SEO and website development experts were paying attention. 

Now, however, most businesses are paying attention and having to play catch-up. As a small business owner, you have plenty of other projects to tackle, so getting help with your website’s health is crucial.

Uyo Digital Marketing works on the cutting edge of the ever-changing SEO world, like updates on Core Web Vitals, so you don’t have to. Our experienced staff can identify any problem areas on your website so that user experience doesn’t stop you from ranking and standing out online.

Contact us today for a website audit or one-on-one consultation to get your site working for you.