Allow me to pitch you a scenario: You are looking for a product or service and you do a quick Google search to find what you are looking for. There are a few options that seem interesting, so you pick a link somewhere towards the top and hope for the best.

And nothing happens.

So you wait, maybe click refresh, but the pictures are taking FOREVER to load and the buttons don’t seem to work and you are a very busy person with other things to do and there is that whole list of other results you could be looking at.

You click away from the page. Right?

Look at this from a business perspective. The internet is go, go, go and if your website isn’t…well..going, that means you could be losing business. There is a surprisingly thin margin of time wherein a user decides if a website works or doesn’t, and the difference between the two is about 1.5 seconds.

That may seem dramatic, yes, but the user experience is an important element of any business. The best way to monitor the UX, and see where you might be able to improve, is by tracking your website’s Core Web Vitals.

Philip Walton, in this article on web.dev, says this of Core Web Vitals:

Core Web Vitals are the subset of Web Vitals that apply to all web pages, should be measured by all site owners, and will be surfaced across all Google tools. Each of the Core Web Vitals represents a distinct facet of the user experience, is measurable in the field, and reflects the real-world experience of a critical user-centric outcome.

There are three main factors to Core Web Vitals: Loading, Interactivity, and Visual Stability. By tracking these three factors, you can see what elements of your website are working, and which are driving your visitors (and potential business) away from your page. According to this article by Matt Southern from Search Engine Journal, it breaks down like this:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (Loading): The time it takes for a page’s main content to load. An ideal LCP measurement is
    2.5 seconds or faster.

  • First Input Delay (Interactivity): The time it takes for a page to become interactive. An ideal measurement is less than 100 ms.

  • Cumulative Layout Shift (Visual Stability): The amount of unexpected layout shift of visual page content. An ideal measurement is less than 0.1.

Images courtesy of web.dev

So basically, what you want to provide to your users is a site that loads quickly (so people won’t get bored and click away), works correctly and quickly once it loads (so people won’t get frustrated and click away), and stays stable as it loads (so people won’t get confused by shifting elements and, say it with me now, click away).

Because the margin is so thin on whether a site has good or poor Core Web Vitals, it can be easy to dismiss the concern. What’s an extra second here or there? What’s an extra click or two? It’s especially easy to dismiss the concern when the necessary changes might be costly or time-consuming. An issue for some undefined time in the future.  

Right now, it seems like many people feel that way about their website, but addressing these concerns is quickly becoming an important issue. In the same article, Matt Southern gives us this statistic:

As it stands, many pages would not qualify for this label. A study published in August shows less than 15% of sites are optimized well enough to pass a Core Web Vitals assessment.

Google, the main provider of Core Web Vitals analysis, is planning on rolling out a new test feature in May 2021 where websites will be ranked based on their Core Web Vitals assessment. Visual signals of the ranking are currently being developed, so it will be easy to see which sites have good Core Web Vitals in addition to other UX-related issues such as mobile-friendliness and security. 

While you may not notice a difference in traffic right now if your site lags a bit or a button needs to be clicked a few times before it works, you may notice them once Google starts rolling out these rankings. When the numbers start to change, websites will likely see their suggested links and rankings plummet in preference for those websites with better UX and Core Web Vitals.

Now is the time to start paying attention, to seize the opportunity to be ahead of the curve. By using these 6 ways that Google has to measure Core Web Vitals you can figure out what changes would best benefit your site. 

You may already be in good shape, or the changes may be significant, but either way, it could end up being the best investment you could make in your business. Not only will you be providing a good product and user experience, you could benefit from the new ranking Google plans to implement. Therefore, those that do spend the time or cost it takes to track their website’s Core Web Vitals and implement the necessary changes, will be at an advantage.

Allow me to pitch you a scenario: You are looking for a product or service and you do a quick Google search to find what you are looking for. There are a few options that seem interesting, so you pick a link somewhere towards the top and hope for the best.

And the website loads right away.

The page loads smoothly, the pictures show up right away, and when you click on a button, the link takes you exactly where you want to go. You are a very busy person with other things to do, and thankfully this website is making this task go so quickly. Sure, there’s that whole list of other results you could be looking at, but why look at them? You found exactly what you needed on this website.

You stay on the page. Right?