By Susan Friesen
I know how important Google rankings are for small business owners, because I’m a small business owner myself.
I also know that while the web development world has been abuzz with Google’s anticipated algorithm update, most of the small business owners I deal with have no idea what’s coming down the pipeline.
And in the world of Google and online marketing, what you don’t know coming down the pipeline can kill your business. Or at least, it can kill your search engine rankings, which can be the same thing for small businesses.
It might sound like tech speak, but if you own a small business, keep reading. If you want to stay competitive, you must understand Google’s Core Web Vitals, and what they mean for your website.
What Are Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals are metrics Google can use to evaluate your website when deciding whether or not to show it in search results. Coming May 1, 2021, there will be a Google algorithm update that will start to include Core Web Vitals in page ranking.
Google’s Core Web Vitals measure how user-friendly a website is. Specifically, Google will now be measuring these three critical aspects of your site:
Google has never liked slow websites, but with the new 2021 user experience, it has upped the ante. Loading speed is a new Core Web Vital that measures how long it takes your website’s main content to load.
Google calls your main content the ‘Largest Contentful Paint,’ and they recommend it load in 2.5 seconds or faster, on both mobile and desktop.
Do you have forms on your website, maybe a contact form or an email signup? When someone clicks submit, do they have to sit and wait, watching that little spinning wheel spin?
The second Core Web Vital is called ‘First Input Delay,’ which refers to how quick these types of interactions on your site take.
Ideally, interactions on your website should be less than 100 microseconds. That’s basically the blink of an eye, so your website really needs to perform well to rank well.
Have you ever been on a website that is just jumpy? So that when you’re scrolling through, and you try to click on a link, the layout suddenly moves, maybe because of an ad?
You probably hate this, and so does Google. In tech speak, this is called ‘Cumulative Layout Shift,’ and it’s another metric Google will be tracking on your website. The ideal measurement is less than 0.1.
At the end of the day, these three Core Web Vitals all track how easy it is for a user to interact with your website. As Google is getting smarter, it is using these metrics to help determine not just what is on your website, but your website itself.