In this episode we’re going to break down Googles coming update called Core Web Vitals and what you need to know to keep your website competitive when it comes to SEO.

Google is always making changes to their algorithm. It’s something that happens almost weekly to make search results even more useful for visitors.

But every so often they make bigger updates that include new ranking factors.

Google has announced that in 2021 they will be making updates to their algorithm to include what they call “Core Web Vitals”.

So, what the heck does that mean and how will impact your website?

Well, Core Web Vitals are basically what Google is now considering as vital to providing a good experience to users of your website. This way, they’re showing Google users only the best websites out there.

Listen up as I explain what Core Web Vitals is and it means for the SEO of your private practice website.

In This Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • What Core Web Vitals actually is and when it’s coming
  • The three most important metrics that Google will be looking for and what they mean in simple terms
  • The things that can have the biggest impact on the performance of your private practice website
  • How Google’s new update may effect your search engine rankings and when to be concerned about Core Web Vitals
  • Tools you can use to diagnose and improve your website’s performance

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So, What Are Core Web Vitals?

A most basic explanation of Core Web Vitals is that it’s really all around the speed of the website. Google wants to know these key experience metrics:

  • How fast does the page load? 
  • How fast is it interactive? 
  • How fast is it stable?

And Core Web Vitals is joining a group of other metrics Google calls Page Experience Signals.

These are things like how well does the website perform on mobile devices, is the site secure, things of that nature.

The Three Most Important Metrics

This is where it gets really technical, so I’ll try to put this in layman’s terms, both for myself and for you!

1. Largest contentful paint (LCP)

This basically asks the question, “how fast does the page load?” It’s greatly influenced by how long it takes to render the largest image or video on a web page. This can be influenced by how fast your web host server is and the code and scripts making up the site.

This is where optimizing and compressing large images can help you. Along with a great website host. 

For more on that you can listen to episode 69 where I talk about WordPress hosting and what to look for when choosing a host.

2. Cumulative layout shift (CLS)

This asks the question, “how long does it take for the website to be stable?”

You know when you load a website and things are shifting around before you go to click something? This is that experience.

This can be caused by animations on the page or by images that don’t have the dimensions set in the code, so the browser is having to adjust the page based on elements around it.

3. First input delay (FID)

This asks the question, “how fast is the page interactive?”. 

If you click on something, how long does it take for the browser to process that request?

This can be impacted by the code or amount of plugins on a WordPress website. Having poorly written code or too many things firing can slow things down.

So what I don’t want is for you to freak out and get hung up on these metrics.

Be reminded that Google has hundreds of ranking factors and this is just one of them. 

I believe having the proper content and keywords on your website is still going to be the most important thing to keep in mind with SEO. 

If your website loads decently fast, under the 3 second mark, you’re doing pretty good and I wouldn’t worry too much about all the little technical things that the pagespeed reports tell you you could improve.

If you’re performing pretty bad in search engines, then yes, this may be something you may want to focus on while also improving the optimization of your on-page SEO, such as having enough text on your pages, keywords in the right places, etc.

Getting Ready For Core Web Vitals

At the time of recording this, the only thing we know is that Google said it’s coming in 2021. 

They said they’d give 6 months heads up on what it will roll out so website owners can get ready.

But there are a number of tools you can use to see how your website is fairing in the Core Web Vitals category.

Google Pagespeed Insights, Google Lighthouse Chrome extension and the report they now include in Google Search Console.

You can use these to diagnose your website and see where you’re at.

But beware, the opportunities and suggestions you’re going to see are extremely technical. Even for me.

Just use them to gain insight on what can be improved over time. At least now you’ll have an idea of what you may want to improve in the future.

Conclusion

Google is making an update to its list of ranking factors to include Core Web Vitals. This update has to do with the experience users have with your website and how it performs. 

Pagespeed and the amount of time it takes to interact with the website are all going to be important factors that Google will consider when ranking your private practice website in search results.

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