Will you let Google pull your core vitals plug?

Since ancient times traversing the oceans of the earth has been essential to the evolution of human culture and society. Every time we set out to sea there is an inherent risk of taking on Mother Nature in her own backyard and on her own terms. In this modern day and age, although man’s mastery of technology has given us more tools and ways to mitigate the risk, it’s still prevalent. In some ways technology has increased the risk rather than ease the burden. AN example of this is a nuclear submarine. A metal cylinder, with a nuclear reactor inside, hundreds of meters below the ocean’s surface. Nooooo Thank You. That’s pretty much my worst nightmare when it comes to anxiety inducing scenarios. Yet hundreds of people travel in them all over the world every day. The only thing worse than thinking about all the things that can go wrong in a submarine is considering all the things that have to go right in order for it to function safely. Then add a nuclear reactor to that and I’m reaching for the Tylenol. Although we’d like every system in the sub to be working perfectly, we can quickly prioritize which systems are core to the sub’s functionality.

Hull – Without hull integrity, thousands of pounds of atmospheric pressure would crush the submarine and everything inside it.

Nuclear Reactor – If this doesn’t work, it’s a bad day for everyone

The Bridge – The nerve centre of the ship. If this is disabled, it’s doubtful the ship can be operated safely

CO2 Scrubbers – Essential in providing breathable atmosphere for the crew

There are more, of course, propellers, ballast tanks, radar, navigation and so on, but I see the first four as core, and critical to the operation of the ship.

Websites are similar. They are quickly evolving, incredibly complex “machines” that are critical to a company’s strategy and presence in the global economy. Companies expend tremendous amounts of resources to maximize and optimize every system and process in the interest of capitalizing on the traffic they have driven there. This effort has been redoubled as of late with other lines of revenue shrinking or disappearing altogether with the onset of the global pandemic. One crack in the hull, and the business could be crushed.

Like the submarine, websites have critical or “core” characteristics that makes them effective in attracting and generating traffic. Google refers to these as your website’s “Core Web Vitals

Here are the “known” or conventional Core Vitals. These are your ship’s hull, reactor and CO2 scrubbers.

Mobile Friendliness: It’s well known for quite some time now that smartphone searches have clearly outpaced desktop searches. Hence, it’s not surprising that if your website isn’t mobile friendly, your desired audience will have a harder time finding it. On top of that, Google has big plans to roll out their mobile-first indexing, even though COVID-19 seems to have delayed implementation for the foreseeable future.

Safe Browsing: Ever since its inception in 2006, Google Safe Browsing has taken up the task of warning users about unsafe sites and protecting their devices. The issue becomes pressing when legitimate websites are compromised by hackers! This means that a small hack can basically get your website off Google and this can be very costly for you. Restoring it back can sometimes take a couple of weeks. Hence, making sure to comply with Safe Browsing guidelines is a must.

Secure Browsing: Not to be confused with safe browsing, all this refers to is the requirement for your website to have the HTTPS requirement. This means that all web and network connections will be encrypted. Getting one, which usually requires an SSL certificate, should be a major priority.

Intrusive Interstitials: This fancy term is nothing but a formal name for annoying pop-ups, login gates etc. that visually obscure the user from viewing content unless some condition is satisfied. It could be that you want users to fulfill legal obligations regarding cookie usage, age restrictions and so on. As essential as it is, do note that excessive or incorrect usage of these intrusive interstitials will definitely come at a cost to user page experience. This is why it needs to be treated carefully. When in doubt, always consult with the experts.

Besides the web vitals mentioned above, Google will now be adding 3 other crucial factors that judge your core web vitals. This update is very much in line with Google’s recent overtures towards AI and improving user-friendliness of their search engine. Various updates such as the BERT Update , which was the last big update of the 2010s, are testimony to this.

Here are the new Core Vitals Google Algorithms will be quick to scrutinize and check them on your web pages.

  1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – Simply put, this gives Google an insight into an average page load speed of a web page. It determines how quickly the main content body, including the largest text block and images take to load. To perform well, the page load speed needs to be under 2.5 seconds.
  2. First Input Delay (FID) – Now once your web page has loaded, it’s necessary to see how it interacts. As the saying goes, the first impression to most users will often stay stuck with them as their last impression. Having an average user first input delay as seamless as possible should be your goal. Here, the FID measures the timespan between the user first clicking or browsing over the web page and time delay for the web page to react. The ideal, to rank high should never be more than 100 milliseconds!
  3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – This fancy term is really referring to the annoying instances while browsing a web page where the content of the page shifts abruptly. You may think that this is simply an annoyance that can be ignored, but it can often be expensive. Cumulative Layout Shift can sometimes be the cause of you clicking on something you clearly did not intend to. This can even lead to financial loss, such as mistakenly clicking on the “Order Now” button instead of “Cancel Order”. Ideally, aim for a CLS score of 0.1 and the layout shifts are only bad if they happen to be unintended by the user viewing your page.

As you can clearly see, the Core Web Vitals have become highly technical oriented. This means that aside from basics like responsive design, SSL certificates and Safe Browsing, you need a good, SEO oriented technical team with an in-depth knowledge of Google’s algorithms.

The new Core Vitals will be highly intricate, and ranking for them can be daunting. This is especially if you don’t understand what a 10 millisecond delay can do to your rankings. If your web page loads in 3 seconds instead of 2.5, this can severely impact your ranking!. All the 3 new Core Web Vitals require an intricate understanding of best web design practices that Search3w professionals can help you with.

As you can see, with close to 2 decades of experience in understanding Google’s algorithms and ranking factors, Search3w brings you time-tested results. We are professionals that will go where no other SEO company dares to go.

We are very confident in our future customers being there at the top of Google Search Result Pages, no matter what Update Google throws at them!

The question is, will you be one of them or not?