Google’s Core Web Vitals algorithm update rolls out in May 2021

Last year, Google announced that they would be updating their algorithm once again and they would now include a strong focus on page experience signals. This change is going to mean that things like page load speed and interactivity will become vital ranking factors on the results pages. What’s also important to note is that this algorithm change is hitting Google at the beginning of May 2021.

What are the Core Web Vitals?

The major impact of this algorithm change will be in what Google calls their Core Web Vitals. These are the same elements that can be found in the report from Google’s Search Console.

  1. Page load speed

This is essentially how quickly the content of the web page appears on the screen. Google looks at the largest single piece of content when measuring each page on your website and grades the page accordingly. They call this the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP).

  1. Interactivity or responsiveness

In Google’s eyes, this is how quickly the web page reacts to any information or input from the user. For example, how fast a popup appears once the user clicks on it or how quickly you can navigate between pages. Google calls this First Input Delay (FIS).

  1. Visual Stability

Here, Google looks at whether or not elements move on the page while it is loading. If a user is trying to click on a button on a slow-loading page and instead clicks on something else because the image above the button suddenly loaded, for example, your website will get a bad score. This is called Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).

Why this change?

For a long time now, Google has put a strong emphasis on the user experience versus optimising a website for the search engine bots. This is another step in that direction as the search engine giant works to improve the way they rank websites based on user experience.

How can you prepare for the change?

The first thing to do is an audit across your entire website in order to gauge whether or not your loading speed is good enough. You can then look at the size of images and how heavy the different elements of each page are. It’s easy to identify what could be slowing you down or hurting your rankings once you start looking.

For expert help on getting your website ready for the Core Web Vitals algorithm update, get in touch with Netgen today. Our developers and SEO experts are here to assist.

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