Google Publishes FAQ Document About Core Web Vitals Insights
Google developed the Core Web Vitals (CWVs), a set of metrics that help top SEO experts improve their page performance, benefitting their site visitors. The search engine company published a Q&A post that informs SEO experts about how CWVs works and their value for ranking purposes.
Webpage performance is essential to online businesses and site owners because fast pages almost always generate more sales, leads, and advertising revenue. Moreover, it reduces the time it takes for site visitors to get the information they need.
In mid-June, CWV became a minor ranking factor. Although some SEO experts overstated the importance of CWV as a critical ranking factor, this isn’t accurate. Google’s system has always perceived relevance as the most important ranking factor – even more important than page speed.
Even Google’s John Mueller agrees that relevance will continue to be the most significant factor for ranking pages. According to him, just because a site is faster in terms of CWV compared to its competitors does not mean that it will jump to the highest position in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
While CWV does not have much of a significant impact on one’s rankings, SEO experts should not ignore it. A web page that performs poorly can cause disadvantages in many ways, including less popularity and lower earnings.
Popularity is vital when it comes to important ranking factors, such as links. Therefore, one can conclude that ranking better for CWV could indirectly help rankings aside from the direct ranking boost a site receives from Google’s algorithm.
CWV aims to have a shared metric for all websites to improve user experience on the Internet. Google’s Q&A post stated that they advise site owners to use these three thresholds – Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – as a guide to provide the best user experience across all pages.
Google assesses a web page’s CWV metrics at the per-page level. Site owners may notice that some pages are above and others are below the three thresholds.
There are many benefits for a website if its pages pass the three metrics. Aside from a better user experience for site visitors, it will also result in a healthier web ecosystem for the Internet.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an HTML framework that delivers fast and attractive web pages to mobile devices. Google originally developed AMP, but it is open source. It can also accommodate informational and e-commerce websites. SEO experts can easily add the AMP functionality to their websites if they use plugins for WordPress sites or apps for their Shopify e-commerce platforms.
The Q&A post also states that Google shows preference to a site’s AMP version to calculate a CWV score. AMP is all about providing high-quality user-first experiences, and its goals align with CWV metrics. Therefore, if an online business or webmaster has difficulties optimising pages for CWV, they can use AMP to get a higher score.
Nevertheless, Google warned SEOs that factors like poorly optimised photos or slow server response times can still negatively impact their CWV scores.
First Input Delay (FID)
First Input Delay is a metric that rates the time it takes from when a site visitor interacts with a website to the time the browser responds to that interaction. Once the website appears to be fully downloaded and shows its interactive elements, like buttons, menus, and the like, the visitors should be able to start clicking around without any delay.
Google’s Q&A post talked about bounce sessions – which refers to a visitor abandoning the page and presumably returning to the search page – but the answer also discusses scrolling. According to Google, bounce and abandonment are not a part of the FID threshold because the user did not interact with the websites.
CWV Impacts Rankings
The Q&A post has a section that reiterates and confirms that Core Web Vitals was included in page experience signals alongside existing search signals, such as safe-browsing, mobile-friendliness, HTTPS security, and so on in June 2021.
It also discussed the importance of Core Web Vitals for ranking sites. Ranking signals have different weights, meaning some signals are more important than others. Therefore, when Google states that a ranking signal is weighted more than another signal, the former is more important.
According to Google, Page Experience is just one of the many signals they use to rank websites. They also reminded SEO experts that the intent of a search query is still a strong signal, so a page with subpar experience but relevant content may still rank high in the SERPs.
Google admitted that it is hard to specifically say what would happen to websites that could not hit the CWV performance metrics. They added that they would possibly have more information to share in the future when they formally announce the changes coming into effect. They again reiterated that the content’s relevance to the information a user is looking for remains a very strong signal.
Field Data In Search Console CWV Reporting
The Q&A page also explains possible discrepancies between what a site owner experiences regarding download speed compared to users on different devices and Internet connections. Other factors could affect speed load, such as the user’s geographical location. For this reason, Google Search Console might report a lower CWV score despite being perceived as fast by the publisher. More importantly, the CWV metric is not only concerned about speed.
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