We’re barely into 2021 and already we’re preparing for a new Google algorithm update. Google has been upfront about this one, and if it wasn’t for the pandemic, it would have been rolled out already. Earlier in 2020, Google announced that Core Web Vitals would become ranking signals the following year. In November, they announced that the algorithm update would become effective in May. Thankfully, this gives you plenty of time to prepare for the upcoming changes.
What are Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals are a set of specific factors that Google considers important to a user’s overall experience. They include the following:
- Largest contentful paint (LCP). This refers to how long it takes for a page to load from the point of view to an actual user.
- First input delay (FID). This measures how long it takes for a user to interact with the elements on your page.
- Cumulative layout shift (CLS). This indicates how stable a page is as it loads.
How to Prepare Your Site for the Algorithm Update
In May, all three Core Web Vitals will become ranking signals. The best way to prepare for the update is by making sure you’re delivering the best user experience possible. You can run a Vitals report in Google Search Console to see where your performance stands. This report gives you one of the following status metrics: Good, Needs Improvement or Poor. You can then work on improving your user experience based on these results.
Here are some general tips we recommend to improve your Core Web Vitals. For a deeper look at your website, talk to your web development company.
- Optimize images. Just one optimized image that takes too long to load can seriously hurt your Core Web Vitals. Also, consider adopting modern formats like WebP.
- Speed up your server. The faster your server responds to requests, the better. For a better server, upgrade your hosting plan and make sure your server is properly set up with the latest hardware.
- Improve loading of third-party scripts. If your site relies on ad scripts, you’re basically at the mercy of the ad provider. If the ads load slowly, it’s probably best to choose a new ad provider.
- Audit your site for security. Website security also plays a role in a user’s page experience. Google wants the websites in their SERPs to be safe for users, so make sure your site doesn’t have anything that could put users at risk.
There are many ways to improve your Core Web Vitals – these are just a few of them. But even the smallest changes can make a big difference in how your website performs. For more information about this upcoming update and how to prepare your website, contact WSI Internet Partners today.