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Google’s Core Web Vitals update: What is it and how Fresh Relevance can help you prepare

Google’s Core Web Vitals update: What is it and how Fresh Relevance can help you prepare Headshot

By David Henderson, CTO

Google's Core Web Vitals: What is it and how Fresh Relevance can help you prepare - featured image

Last year, Google announced their Core Web Vitals initiative - an update to their algorithm focused on page experience to be released in May 2021. 

Read on to learn what the Core Web Vitals update is and find out how Fresh Relevance is helping our users prepare.
 

What is Google's Core Web Vitals update?

The Web Vitals program provides unified guidance for quality signals that Google believes are essential to delivering an optimal user experience on the web.

The set of signals are called Core Web Vitals. 

Google's Core Web Vitals measure three important aspects of user experience on the web - loading experience, interactivity, and visual stability of the page content - with a metric for each aspect. 

Google recognizes pages that receive a score of 'good' on Core Web Vitals as achieving an aspirational level of user experience and states that those pages might get a boost in the page experience component of ranking. 

Let's take a look at the three metrics in more detail.
 

1) Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)


LCP measures perceived load speed and looks at when the page's main content has likely loaded. 


Your LCP score can be damaged by:

  • Slow server response time
  • Java and CSS that blocks rendering
  • Slow loading resources (such as image and video files)
  • Client-side rendering

How Fresh Relevance can help

  • We offer optional Server-side personalization
  • Our content and scripts load asynchronously and are appropriately cached, so as to load after the main page and not to slow down the page load time
  • The script is hosted on a global CDN to reduce the time to serve and ensure the site won't have an additional external dependency
  • We configure DNS prefetching for all clients, speeding up the time it takes your site to load

2) First Input Delay (FID) 


FID measures responsiveness and quantifies the experience users feel when trying to first interact with the page.


Your FID score can be damaged by:

  • Long tasks
  • Long JavaScript execution time
  • Large JavaScript bundles
  • Render-blocking JavaScript

How Fresh Relevance can help

  • The script does not block rendering because all of our content and scripts load asynchronously 
  • Scripts are appropriately cached, for maximum loading speed 
  • The script is hosted on a global CDN to reduce the time to serve and ensure the site won't have an additional external dependency
  • The scripts are small and highly optimized 

3) Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)


CLS measures visual stability and quantifies the amount of unexpected layout shift of visible page content. 


Your CLS score can be damaged by:

  • Ads causing any change in layout
  • Cookie banners and notices
  • Images without dimensions
  • Dynamically injected content
  • Embeds and iframes without dimensions
  • Web fonts causing FOIT/FOUT

How Fresh Relevance can help

  • We offer optional Server-side personalization
  • We recommend and make it easy for you to replace content blocks with personalized content of the same size and shape in order to avoid page layout changes after the page has first loaded
  • We give intelligent, granular control of when and how popups or popovers are displayed, to avoid damaging your CLS score and annoying visitors

If the Core Web Vitals update has got you panicking that your online store will be buried in the SERPs, Google has provided some reassurance in their page experience update FAQ.

The search engine giant said they will still rank the most relevant content regardless of its Core Web Vitals score, stating: "Our systems will continue to prioritize pages with the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar. A good page experience doesn't override having great, relevant content."

That being said, Google advised that businesses should focus on making these improvements a relative priority because as more and more sites improve their page experience, it will become the norm that businesses will want to match.

A key starting point is to measure your website against the Core Web Vitals criteria, gathering data to help you improve your page experience. 

Google offers different ways to measure and track the Core Web Vitals for your site. These include PageSpeed Insights, which provides a report on performance along with suggestions on how you can improve that page, and the Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console. 

Learn more:

The impact of personalization on SEO

How to get the best results out of client-side and server-side personalization and testing 

Google’s Core Web Vitals update: What is it and how Fresh Relevance can help you prepare Headshot

By David Henderson

CTO

As CTO at Fresh Relevance, David leads the dev team. He has been instrumental in designing, building and scaling the platform to help marketers get awesome results by driving sales growth and strengthening customer engagement.