SEO and Core Web Vitals: The importance of customer experience

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SEO is continually evolving. Businesses need to invest time (either internally or with the help of an expert) to remain at the forefront of search performance.

At the start of the month, Google announced the launch of ‘Core Web Vitals’.

What is ‘Core Web Vitals’?

It’s a set of guidelines for site owners, designed to improve user experience. These guidelines encourage sites to create a user-centric experience by providing clear recommendations across the following signals:

  • Largest Contentful Paint which measures the point where the main content of the page has likely loaded
  • First Input Delay which measures site responsiveness
  • Cumulative Layout Shift measures the visual stability of page content
Image showing the new Google requirements for a site's SEO

The recommended benchmarks for each of these signals are outlined in the image above. The image gives practical guidelines on the key issues affecting sites and what to check and improve. On a personal note, the Cumulative Layout Shift is extremely welcome. Sure, slow sites are frustrating. But pressing the wrong button or navigating away from a page because the layout changes as the page loads is a real bugbear of ours at Green Ginger. Hopefully, buttons shifting under fingers on mobile devices will become less commonplace.

Yesterday (28th May 2020) Google, unsurprisingly announced these signals would be incorporated into their page experience metrics. A move which increases the already high emphasis on user experience for websites. For many years now successful SEO has been about more than simply generating multiple backlinks through whatever means necessary. Today’s announcement is a step which brings SEO and UX closer together than ever before. As part of the announcement, Google has stated that pages with the best content will still be a priority. But these metrics will be more important when competing with sites which have similar, great content. Ultimately, content is still king and remains fundamental to the best user experiences.

Important website signals that Google view when seeing how good a site is and its SEO

Google has also left the door open for these signals to evolve and expand with ‘yearly updates’ which will reflect new developments in measurement, features and changes in user behaviours. Meaning that as with all aspects of SEO, sites need to invest in their SEO strategies to stay at the forefront of search.

So what do these changes mean for site owners?

Well in the immediate future, nothing. Google has noted the challenges with Covid19 in its announcement and will give at least six months’ notice before rolling out. However, these changes will come into play in 2021 so site owners should begin to think about this and consider them as part of their future strategy.

Google have updated Google Lighthouse and Page Speed Insights to allow people to understand current performance. There is also a dedicated report in Search Console to identify any key challenges as soon as possible.

By incorporating these into ranking signals Google is clearly continuing to put user experience at the heart of online. The boundaries between SEO, UX and development will undoubtedly reduce moving forwards as ‘experience’ becomes critical to performance and engagement. Businesses which don’t consider this as part of their strategy moving forwards or those which only focus on this in isolation could easily be left behind.

Summary

At Green Ginger Digital we support businesses of all shapes and sizes with their SEO strategy and user experience. Get in touch today if you have any questions need a helping hand to maximise your performance online.

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Kate Harrison
Harrisons of Hull Ltd

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Fountain

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Adult Planet

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