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New Ranking Factors: Core Web Vitals

Google has announced three new user experience metrics to become new search ranking factors. The core metrics are designed to measure load speeds, interactivity, and visual stability, and are known collectively as Core Web Vitals. As a matter of fact, these core web vitals combined with optimisation, safety and security will be used to assess overall page experience and ranking factors.

So, what are these vitals?

  • Largest Contentful Paint: The time it takes for a webpage’s main content to load. An ideal LCP measurement is 2.5 seconds or faster.
  • First Input Delay: The time it takes for a page to become interactive. Optimum performance is 100 milliseconds or less.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift: The amount of unexpected layout shift of visual page content. An ideal measurement is less than 0.1.
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As mentioned, these metrics are designed to help site owners measure the user experience they’re providing when it comes to loading, interactivity, and visual stability.

Previously, tracking these core vitals was an ambiguous task that involved using a variety of tools. By adding Core Web Vitals as ranking factor Google aims to help more site owners build pages that users enjoy visiting.

So how does this affect my SEO ranking?

Google determines if a page is providing a high-quality user experience, based on its page experience score. In fact, the higher your score the more likely you will rank the page higher in search results.

However, content relevance is still considered vital when it comes to rankings. A page with content that’s highly relevant to a query could conceivably rank well even if it had a poor experience score.

Evaluating Page Experience

Google has updated its suite of tools when it comes to measuring Core Web Vitals. These include:

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Google has also released a Chrome browser application to quickly evaluate the Core Web Vitals of any page you’re looking at. In addition to the core ranking factors, it does not exclude other core ranking factors such as:

  • Mobile-friendliness: Use Google’s mobile-friendly test.
  • Safe-browsing: Check the Security Issues report in Search Console for any issues with safe browsing.
  • HTTPS: If a page is served over a secure HTTPS then it will display a lock icon in the browser address bar.
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