Jonathon Roberts

What are Google Core Web Vitals?

Google’s Core Web Vitals; the next Algorithm update came out in June 2021, but how does this affect your website’s search engine optimisation (SEO) and how can you make sure that your website isn’t being affected by the Google Algorithm update?

Google’s update will fully bring page experience for users into ranking factors for websites. Google states that “Web Vitals is an initiative by Google to provide unified guidance for quality signals that are essential to delivering a great user experience on the web.”

Within Google’s toolbox, there is a wide range of tools. One tool is Google Page Speed Insights which can help you to check your website’s current metrics which can help you to see where you can improve your website’s user experience and page speed.

Another platform which will also be useful for updates will be Google’s Search Console tool which enables you to see your Web Vitals report which shows you how well your website pages perform based on real-world usage data (Core Web Vitals report)

Source: Google Web Vitals Website

What does each section of Core Web Vitals mean?

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – A measure of performance, which looks at how long the website takes to show the last/largest piece of content on the website

First Input Delay (FID) – A measurement of how long the website takes for the user to click on the website and how long it takes for the first piece of content to load on the website

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – A metric which measures the shift of layout of the website after 500ms of the user opening the website

How to Improve Core Web Vitals

This section will explore how to improve your metrics and will look at specifically each section of the Core Web Vitals update,  and show you how to improve your website. This will help you to help your website follow the update so that you are not penalised on SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages):

WordPress Plugins and Themes

Please note: I have no affiliations with the below WordPress plugins, I have just added my recommendations, but this can also depend on many different factors, so it’s worth testing caching plugins on staging sites before pushing them out to your main website.

Firstly, I would recommend that you use a lightweight theme like Astra or Kadence, that have less code than some themes that can be bloated.

The best plugin to speed up your website we have found is WP Rocket (Paid for Plugin) which is a fantastic plugin when set up correctly. The plugin increases your website’s performance and speed which will help.

Another plugin we have used is WP Fastest Cache and Autoptimize which are great free plugins which will help with website speed and performance. 

I have now found that W3 Total Cache for any hosting company is a good plugin for Page Speed and can take the hard work by detecting the best settings for your hosting. If you have a website server that is LiteSpeed the best plugin to use is the LiteSpeed Cache plugin on WordPress as this works perfectly with this type of website server – you can ask your hosting company if the server your website is hosted on is built with LiteSpeed.

Update November 2023: I would recommend that you try the ‘Powered Cache‘ plugin on WordPress has very similar features to the WP Rocket, however, this plugin is free, this is the current caching plugin used on this website, and it seems to work well. Of course, on some sites it can cause issues so it’s always best to check your website is working correctly on Desktop and Mobile when changing caching plugins.

Brighton SEO – September 2021 talk from Joe Williams

Joe Williams presented a great talk at Brighton SEO in September 2021 which explored how to improve your mobile page speed, you can find the slides of his presentation here.

Find out more about the Google update:

Target Internet Podcast about Core Web Vitals – Listen to the Podcast

Google Web Vitals Website: Visit the website

Core Web Vitals Report: Explore the Report

Jonathon Roberts

Jonathon Roberts

Jonathon has been working within the SEO and Digital Marketing industry since 2019. Jonathon started in the industry while completing his degree in Business Management & Marketing Management at the University of Chester. He's now Senior SEO Executive at Fly High Media, helping businesses to grow their presence through SEO. Previously working at other local digital marketing agencies.
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