Over the past few years, we’ve seen some fairly dramatic changes in Google’s search algorithm. Some of these have been slipped into updates unannounced, but others, like mobile-first indexing, were publically announced before being released as major algorithm changes. The digital marketing community must decipher many aspects of Google’s algorithm. But we have seen that the changes that Google does announce are usually some of the largest, most critical changes. Google’s latest major update introduced Core Web Vitals.
Core Web Vitals
Google released Core Web Vitals in May of 2020, but did not immediately factor them into rankings. Instead, they will go into effect in May of 2021, as announced in November of 2021.
Google’s Core Web Vitals include three metrics: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), & Cumulative Layer Shift (CLS). To simplify, these can be respectively defined as load speed, interactivity, & visual stability. Essentially, Google is encouraging sites to be faster and more user friendly than ever.
Previously Known Ranking Signals
If you’ve worked with us on your website or marketing efforts in the past, you’ll likely remember us talking about site speed & mobile-friendliness quite a bit, as these have been two of the most important site aspects in terms of SEO & site functionality. Google’s new Core Web Vitals take the mobile-first indexing further, an expansion of mobile-first.
Along with the above signals, it is also important to ensure that your website has a valid SSL certificate, has Schema.org markup & metadata that support your content, and provides valuable information to your users, resulting in good user experience signals sent to Google for ranking consideration.
What These Mean for Your Site
If you’re not sure where your site stands, it is never a bad idea to log in to Google Search Console for a quick wellness check – all of these metrics as well as several other helpful tools are readily available and free to use. And if you happen to find yourself in over your head, we’re always here to help!