If you have a website, you must have been lost in the maze of natural referencing proposed by Google. Indeed, to appear in the top of the SERP (search engine results pages), there are a number of criteria that Google has set up and that you should follow so the Google Ranking Systems place you at the top.
Among these many ranking factors lies the UX design of your website. If at the beginning, it did not occupy a very prominent place among the other criteria, things seem to change today since Google seems to have placed the user experience among its priorities. Thus, the American giant has added new indicators to evaluate the quality of the UX under the name of "Core Web Vitals" (understand: "Vital signals for a good website").
What are these signals setting up by Google?
If from the beginning Google had made the UX of a website an essential element of SEO through criteria such as mobile compatibility, security or navigation comfort, the algorithm did not directly take into account the loading time of pages.
It is among other things to remedy that the American giant has launched its "Core Web Vitals", a set of metrics to better assess the UX of a website. These "signals" provide technical information that can have an impact on the quality of user experience on a website. Thus, it is no longer only the content of the site that is taken into consideration by Google, but other parameters just as important for your SEO.
The loading of the page or "Large Contentful Paint"
The Large Contentful Paint is the indicator of the loading time that the user of a web page feels. As explained by the site Journal Du Net, "this indicator marks the moment when the largest element of the page, located above the waterline (the portion of the page that we see without having to scroll down) is loaded in its entirety", and we might as well tell you that the longer the charging time of this one is, the more Google penalizes you in terms of SEO.
"This metric goes further than historical indicators such as 'DOMContentLoaded', 'Load' or 'First Contentful Paint' events, whose information is only theoretical. In fact, the analysis of the Largest Contentful Paint gives direct access to the user experience as it really is".
So for your SEO not to be penalized, Google recommends an LCP of less than 2.5 seconds for all visitors to your website.
Some tips to lower your LCP to less than 2.5 seconds:
- Optimize the size of large files on your web page, such as photos or videos.
- Use as few as possible CSS scripts to avoid overloading your browser.
- Enable caching.
- Improve your server response by choosing a dedicated host.
Interactivity or "First Input Delay"
This indicator measures the reactivity of your web page. More concretely, it measures the time between the first interaction of the user of the web page and the response of the latter. To summarize, this indicator measures "the ability of your web page to react to the action of a user before the page is fully loaded".
For Google, the "First Input Delay" must be less than 100 milliseconds between the first interaction of the user of the web page and the response of it.
Some tips to lower your "First Input Delay" to less than 100 milliseconds:
- Avoid using third-party application scripts.
- Make sure that the action items are displayed first. This way, the user of the web page will not have to wait for the entire page to be displayed before they can perform an action.
- Set up a caching system to enhance the fast loading of your page.
Visual stability or the "Cumulative Layout Shift"
This indicator aims to measure the stability of the main visual elements of your web page during its loading.
The more the visual stability of these elements is altered, the more the user is likely to click in the wrong place and is likely to make an unwanted order.
As explained by the Eskimoz website: "This metric quantifies the extent and frequency of these position changes: each time an element changes its place, Google records the information and measures the distance traveled".
For Google, the "Cumulative Layout Shift" should be as close to zero as possible, which means that ideally, no element should be likely to "move" during the entire loading of the page.
Some tips to make your "Cumulative Layout Shift" as close to zero as possible:
- Better optimize the graphic elements of the page to the right dimensions so that they can fit the users' screens.
- If you are inserting dynamic banner ads, be very careful with their insertion. In many cases, they are likely to move the elements of your page.
Where to find these metrics?
To find these different metrics, use them and improve your "Core Web Vitals", nothing could be easier. There are several ways. You can find them in a specific tab on Google Search Console or on Chrome UX report.
You can also find them on PageSpeed Insights, a very easy to access and use tool, which also provides recommendations to strengthen your "Core Web Vitals".
Finally, Lighthouse, available only on Chrome, allows you to analyze your "Core Web Vitals" in a single click.
However, as explained by Andrea Bensaid, SEO and social consultant in his article on Eskimoz: "Google does not intend to penalize platforms that do not offer an optimal user experience: it wants above all to value those who apply all the criteria relating to the UX, both the Core Web Vitals and older levers. Thus, it will not be the main element taken into account by Google for your referencing".
For him, the "Core Web Vitals" are used to differentiate between equivalent pages: "If Google gives a special place to the UX, these factors are not a priority: quality content and external links remain the most important in SEO. In concrete terms, a website whose UX is not optimized, but offering users a very relevant content, will always be better placed than a site displaying poor quality content, but perfectly optimized for the user experience" he concludes.
The "Core Web Vitals", another evolution in UX design for Google
The place occupied by UX design in Google's SEO system is not something new, although over time it is becoming more and more important.
As early as 2011, the American firm has implemented algorithms, ranking systems and updates aimed at better positioning those with a relevant UX.
Thus, in 2011, Google Panda came to support and optimize the unique and relevant content before knowing several updates. In 2013, the Hummingbird algorithm was launched. This one aims to improve the relevance of the answers proposed to Internet users by trying to better interpret their requests and therefore their intentions.
It is from 2015 and the focus made by Google on mobile that things accelerate. Indeed, from then on, Google decides to focus on the User Experience on mobile, continuing to place the cursor higher from year to year until 2018 with the Mobile-First Indexing which offers a push to content offering a quality UX. The same year, the American firm also launched Broad Core Update, which focuses on the display speed on mobile.
With some adjustments made and a focus on the behavior of Internet users in terms of content, especially in the face of false information during the Covid-19 pandemic, Google has finally decided to integrate its "Core Web Vitals" as new metrics to strengthen your SEO.