Are Core Web Vitals Really Important?
There has been much debate regarding whether or not Core Web Vitals and PageSpeed are really all that important when it comes to your website. And this has web developers in a frenzy. My personal opinion is that many developers are going to shrug off this importance simply because it’s actually quite difficult to achieve good Core Web Vitals, especially on mobile. They really don’t want to do the work of figuring out what is wrong with a website’s metrics, so they balk at it and claim that it’s really not that important, and that Google ultimately cares about page experience. But what’s ironic about this statement is that core web vitals metrics are actually direct measurements of page experience.
So the bottom line to this question is, yes. Core Web Vitals are important.
1. Core Web Vitals affects a website’s page experience
2. A better page experience is going to lead to a better user experience
3. A better user experience is ultimately going to lead to better search engine rankings on search engine results pages.
But why? Why do these core web vitals metrics matter? Isn’t it really just about content?
Yes, of course. Content is king, and better content is always going to outrank mediocre content. But consider this: let’s say, hypothetically, two websites have identical content, and they’re both competing for the top spot in search engine rankings. Which site is going to rank higher; the site with good core web vitals, or the site with poor vitals? THAT’s the difference.
According to Google, they’re not only considering the vitals of individual pages, but they’re also taking into account a user’s experience across a website as a whole. And they refer to this user experience as a journey.
Google understands that users who are navigating the web are on a journey, and visiting a website is just one stop of many on this virtual trip. And the thing that users hate waiting for the most is a slow loading web page.
Slow loading times contribute most to poor page experience. One study found that page loading delays decreased user satisfaction and decreased a user’s intent to return. On unfamiliar sites, a mere 2 seconds of delay was enough to cause users to abandon the page or website and look elsewhere on the web.
Another study found that mobile web users didn’t tend to keep their attention on the screen for more than 4–8 seconds at a time. This would mean that if they avert their attention before your page has loaded, the time they’re looking away further delays how soon they finally see the page. So a 5-second load time might turn into a 10-second effective delay.
It’s also been suggested that the speed of a system’s response should be comparable to the delays humans experience when they interact with one another. This has led to guidance that responses should take around 1–4 seconds.
I know, this is probably a lot of technical information to take in, but don’t worry. To break it down in simpler terms for you, Google recommends keeping the LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) under 2.5 seconds, the CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) under 0.1, and the FID (First Input Delay) under 100 milliseconds. When these basic metrics, or Core Web Vitals, are met, users are 24% less likely to abandon page loads (by leaving the page before any content has been loaded).
Now, this can have very positive effects on business-dependent websites. Google also looked at news and shopping sites, sites whose businesses depend on traffic and task completion, and found similar numbers: 22% less abandonment for news sites and 24% less abandonment for shopping sites that met these Core Web Vitals metrics.
Providing a smooth journey for users is one of the most effective ways to grow online traffic and web-based businesses. Google has developed these metrics and thresholds to provide publishers, developers and business owners with clear and actionable ways to make their sites part of fast, interruption-free journeys for more users.
This is the bottom line: Google is rewarding sites who follow these “rules” and punishing those that don’t. So now the question remains: is your website optimized?
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