Core Web Vitals: How to improve your Ranking

To measure your website's core web vitals according to Google's recommendations, visit https://web.dev/measure/ and input your website's URL.The image below gives an idea of what it means to check the core web vitals of a website.

Core web vitals is a group of metrics developed by Google, important in the overall webpage experiences of users. The importance of core web vitals as a framework helps standardize user experience to a set of measurable quantities. These quantities are the page rate of loading, interactivity and visual stability.

Google’s expectation is that website owners will use these metrics to evaluate and improve on the experience of visitor’s to their website and improving on these metrics can help increase the number of visitors which will eventually improve the ranking of a website.

Checking a webpage’s core web vitals should be as easy as pie, don’t you think so?

Thankfully, Google provides different platforms to check for the core web vitals of a website

In this article, I will be giving directions on how to check a webpage’s core vitals and also showing webpage owners some common factors that can help them improve the core web vital metrics.

Before delving into ways to improve a webpage’s core vitals, it’s a good point to discuss the different metrics and ways to check them.

There are three metrics and these metrics will help you to determine and measure the rank of your website as expected by Google.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is a Core Web Vitals metric and measures when the largest content element in the viewport becomes visible. It can be used to determine when the main content of the page has finished rendering on the screen.

The LCP measures the time-span of the page loading from the time the user clicks on the link to the point-in-time the major content comes up on the screen.

At this juncture, it is cogent to make a distinction between LCP and the speed of the page. While page speed measurement focuses on the time the user can see and interact with the page, LCP focuses on the time to load the major content.

First Input Delay (FID)

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

First Input Delay (FID) measures the time from when a user first interacts with your site (i.e. when they click a link, tap on a button, or use a custom, JavaScript-powered control) to the time when the browser can respond to that interaction.

Instances of user interaction can include: selecting an option from a menu, clicking a link on the navigation pane of the web site, and to task like entering email into an email field on the webpage.

According to Google’s research, FID is important because it takes into account real-life user’s interaction with websites. FID is considered more on pages where there is room for user inputs, like a webpage requiring user login or sign up.

For pages requiring user inputs, the faster one can type in the login details is more important than the time it takes for the content to load. To improve on the FID of a webpage, one is advised to minimise JavaScript running on a webpage or remove any non-critical non-third party script running in the background.

Cummulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Cummulative Layout Shift (CLS)
Cummulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Cummulative Layout Shift (CLS) is the unexpected shifting of web page elements while the page is still downloading. The kinds of elements that tend to cause shift are fonts, images, videos, contact forms, buttons and other kinds of content.

To improve on the CLS it is advised to use the set size attribute dimension for media files or make sure art elements have a reserved space.

How to Improve Core Web Vitals Performance

Looking into the result from the core we vital measurement result, implementing the below recommendation can influence the performance of your webpage if you take into cognisance these things.

Eliminate render-blocking resources:

Render blocking slows down the perceived page load times of your websites built on most Content Management Systems (CMS) forcing user’s browsers to delay rendering above-the-fold content while the browser downloads content that is not immediately required. Eliminating it will help users to load the visible portion of your page more quickly, you should as well delay loading resources that aren’t immediately required. You can also use off-the-rack plugins to eliminate render-blocking resources on WordPress with the combination of Autoptimize and Async JavaScript, two plugins from the same developer could be accessed for free.

Avoid multiple page redirects:

Multiple pages redirect can be avoided as it affects the performance of your core web vitals but if you must redirect your webpages, it is important to use some basic practices like executing from the server-side, combining multiple redirects into one, minimizing redirect chains, and periodically reviewing your redirects to remove unwanted redirects.

Use HTTP/2:

The application protocol looks set to carry along the legacy of HTTP1.x that transformed the cyber world with revolutionary data transmission capabilities. HTTP/2 succeeds its predecessors with technological superiority and also the step to an expansive journey to improving the page speed.

Remove/Minify unused CSS and Javascript

Minification is the process of minimizing code and markup in your web pages and script files by combining or merging multiple script files into a single file when rendered to reduce load time. It’s one of the main methods used to reduce load times and bandwidth usage on websites. Minification dramatically improves site speed and accessibility, directly translating into a better user experience. It’s also beneficial to users accessing your website through a limited data plan and who would like to save on their bandwidth usage while surfing the web.

Cache Website Resources

Caching is a process for the temporary storage of copies of files such as web pages, images, other types of multimedia files, and scripts so that the content can be accessed quickly to reduce server lag. You can use different types of WordPress plugin to cache your website but this also depends on the technology of your web hosting server. The type of plugin that will guarantee an improved performance will largely depend on whether your website is powered by Apache, NGINX, or LiteSpeed web server technology.

Use CDN (Content Delivery Networks)

A Content Delivery Network (CDN), or Content Distribution Network, refers to a geographically distributed group of proxy servers and their data centres that work together to provide fast delivery of Internet content. The goal is to provide high availability and performance by distributing the service spatially relative to end-users.

In 2020, Google announced that Core Web Vitals will become ranking signals in May 2021 in an update that will also combine existing UX-related signals.

This is a piece of very important news that requires every website owner to start monitoring, optimising and implementing strategies that will improve their website speed, accessibility and user interaction to rank higher in Google’s Search Engine Result Page (SERP) from May 2021.

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