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Core Web Vitals: Next Official Ranking Factor Coming in 2021

Written by The Magna Technology Team on January 25, 2021

Have you been hearing about Core Web Vitals, a new ranking factor that will roll out in 2021? This Google algorithm has a few details that you should be aware of, especially now that we’re getting closer to the update. Google makes hundreds of changes every year, but this is one that you’ll want to prepare for.

Let’s explore more about the Core Web Vitals update and what you should be doing to get your site ready.

What are Core Web Vitals?

Core web vitals are real-world experience metrics that Google considers important to a user’s overall experience. They include:

  • Largest contentful paint (LCP). How fast does your page load?
  • Cumulative layout shift (CLS). How fast is the page stable?
  • First input display (FID). How fast is the page interactive?

Currently, you can run a Core Web Vitals report to see how your pages perform based on real world usage data. Page performance is crucial because longer page load times lead to higher bounce rates.

Google reports that when page load times increase from 1 to 3 seconds, there’s a 32% increase in bounce rates. If load times increase from 1 to 6 seconds, bounce rates increase by 106%. Even though bounce rates don’t directly affect page rankings, it’s still something you should understand and improve upon.

When is the Update Rolling Out?

Now core web vitals are joining a group of metrics called Page Experience signals. When this happens, core web vitals will affect all regular search results – mobile and desktop. Google promised to give us six months’ notice and they made good on it. In mid-November, Google announced that the page experience signals will roll out in May 2021.

It’s difficult to say how much of a shift we’ll see from the algorithm update. Remember, Google has hundreds of ranking signals and the impact of one signal is usually not too great. However, if your site is poor at any of these metrics, it could make a difference in your rankings. How significant is yet to be seen.

How to Prepare for the Update

Google has made it very simple to discover and fix issues with your core web vitals. You can use this report and it will tell you what URLs are poor or need improvements. Working on these pages will get you ready for the update and minimize its impact. If you’re not sure how to address the issues on your pages, give Magna Technology a call and our web development team will be happy to take a look!

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