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Core Web Vitals: Google has announced 2021 is all about it — 6 easy tips to get ready

Core Web Vitals: Google has announced 2021 is all about it — 6 easy tips to get ready

Google has announced 2021 is about Core web vitals — 6 easy tips to get ready

Google has always strived to provide the best for everyone who is using their platform. That is why Google always focuses on the ranking signals that will be rewarding to website owners and provide the best user experience.

Google’s newest announcement about the ranking factor Google search will be a game-changer in the web industry. This upcoming ranking signal termed as ‘Core Web Vitals’ has many webmasters reconsidering their site’s user experience.

Let’s dig deeper into what this new ranking factor update is and how it will affect website ranking and overall search engine optimisation.


What are Core Web vitals?

Google has announced the additional three metrics designed to measure the web functionality and, more importantly, the website’s user experience using which the websites are going to be ranked in the search engine. The new update will roll out possibly in 2021’s April.

These metrics will evaluate certain factors like your website’s loading speed, mobile compatibility, etc.

While it is expected for the Core Web Vitals to evolve, Google will initially focus on three user aspects.

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
  • First Input Delay (FID)
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Explaining the Core Web Vitals metrics

Before putting together your website, you contemplate many factors that would help in the search engine ranking. With the new Google update, these three metrics are equally essential to be considered along with the other elements.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

If I try to explain it in simple terms, LCP measures how fast your page loads and interacts with the user. LCP measures are the largest block of content or image in the user viewport, and anything that exceeds this frame would not be counted.

Google has set the standard of 2.5 seconds in which the website should load everything in the first frame. The typically measured elements include background images, video poster images, and paragraph tags.

First Input Delay (FID)

FID measures your website’s interactivity, i.e., how much time a browser needs to respond after the user’s interaction on the page. We all have experienced a delay in processing the page when you click on something to learn more, and it takes ages to respond. Google is calculating this user’s frustration to rank your website. The ideal FID is considered 100 milliseconds or even less.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

CLS is the measurement of unexpected cumulative layout shifts and the overall visual stability of the page. In easy words, this Web Vital takes into account the responsiveness and how fast everything gets stable on the page.

Let’s explain this using a simple example. Say you found something interesting on the page, and just when you’re about to click it, something different appears, and you end up clicking the wrong thing.

The main reason why things are stable in the layout is because of the undefined image sizes. Let’s say you have a 400-pixel image; this pixel needs to be defined in the HTML. Animations and ads can make some other reasons.


What is going to be the effect of Google Core web vitals on the website’s traffic?

Now that we have Core Web vitals explained let’s examine how it will affect your website’s traffic. It is essential to understand that with the 2021 Core Web Vitals update, Google intends to optimise the user experience.

Because page experience is based on Google ranking signals and fails to optimise these, the result is most likely the low ranking and therefore less traffic. Moreover, with the unsatisfactory UX, why would the users bother to return to your website?

With this update, Google has wisely and practically pushed the site owners to create pages that users would enjoy, leading to increased business opportunities.

Apart from affecting the overall Google search result, Core Web Vitals will be the main factor in ranking Google’s top stories. This means either you go an extra mile to adapt your site to the new 2021 update or end up losing your site’s traffic altogether.

According to Google’s newest research on the subject, there are 24% fewer chances of users abandoning page loads when a website meets the thresholds of Core Web Vitals. If you are an experienced webmaster, you may know how important this finding is, which can significantly boost site traffic.


How to measure your website’s performance?

The new update has made many webmasters worry about their site’s performance in terms of user experience. Google has an easy solution to this problem; all you are required to do is to measure how your website is doing and fix it. Yes, this is as easy as it sounds. There are many tools available that would provide you the most accurate information about your website.

Google Page Three Insights has all the data related to three essential metrics. All you are required to do is enter your web URL in the given slot, click on the ‘analyse’ option, and voilà! Your website’s Core Web Vital’s results will be there on one page.

If you want to spot issues with your site, then Google Search Console is a better option than Page insights.

Chrome UX report, DevTools, Lighthouse, and Web Vitals Extension can also help you evaluate your site’s performance.


6 easy tips to prepare your website for the upcoming 2021 Core Web Vital update

It’s always a wise idea to get prepared for the things you know will happen rather than fretting. Here are some tips so that you can be ready for the upcoming update beforehand.

1. Optimise images: Optimise your main banner to appear in the LCP threshold by either compressing it or converting it to a more practical format.

2. Look at your web hosting: An efficient web hosting service can shorten the time of JavaScript execution and minimise any delays occurring during user interaction. If you want to get inspiration, I’ve written who I think is the best WordPress hosting in 2020.

3. Content relevance still counts: There’s nothing better than high-quality content to attract users. While other factors do affect the search engine’s ranking, the content remains the king.

4. Mobile-friendliness: Google recognises mobile-responsiveness as a top priority in UX design in the September 2020 update.

5. Space for content loading: The key to maintaining CLS is always minimum to include height and width attributes on your video elements and images. This helps your browser to reserve adequate space while media loading and this avoids sudden layout shifts.

6. Use CDN for global users: If your website caters to a worldwide audience, then a useful CDN can be your saver as it can help optimise the LCP time. I’ve written an in-depth article about KeyCDN, maybe it’s the CDN for you?

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Dos and Don’ts during optimising Core Web Vitals

When it comes to Core Web Vitals there are many ways to do it, but there are definitely also ways not to do it. Let's dig into those here.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
Identify the largest element of the page and try to optimise it in the page load. Resize the elements to make sure that the largest element is your desired one. Deliver or compress banner or hero images in a new format like WebP or JPEG 2000. Use tools to optimise servers response like caching and CDN use.
Use a hero image or banner unless required.
First Input Delay (FID)
Break the long tasks, into small chunks so that between completing the tasks the page checks for user input. Take help from third-party codes like reCAPTCHA.
Run JavaScript or fetch code unless required.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
Remove any activity on the page that is occurring without the interaction of a user. Remove any conflicting or redundant CSS that can change the page layout after loading. For animations, take help from the CSS transform property.
Inserting the content on the already existing content.


The algorithm is expected to be updated in 2021’s April, and Google ensures the six-month notice before the changes are made. Therefore, it is the best time to invest in the page experience so that your website won’t rank below after the update.

While Google has issued the detailed guidelines according to the Core Web Metrics, these metrics are expected to change or evolve; therefore, it is necessary to keep your website updated to keep up with the pace of changing and developing Google algorithms.

The new Google ranking factor is here and updating your website according to the new metrics is essential to thriving in the rapidly changing web industry.


What are the Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are the metrics using which Google will determine the websites' user experience and rank them accordingly. The three Core Web Metrics include:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
- First Input Delay (FID)
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

What is CLS?

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is the Core Web Metric that measures the visual stability of the website. It quantifies how often the layout shifts during user interaction. A low CLS means the page has a minimum layout shift that optimises the user's experience.

What is FID?

First Input Delay (FID) is the Core Web Metric, which quantifies the page responsiveness during the user interaction. A low FID means a usable page.

What is LCP?

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) quantifies the page loading performance and also evaluates the largest content element's render time visible in the viewport.

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I'm Phillip Stemann. I'm determined to help you succeed with your website My only question is, will you put in the work? — Sign up for my newsletter and let me help you!

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About Phillip Stemann

I'm a web developer freelancer who specialises in WordPress. I've been working with the World Wide Web since being a young curious teenager. I'm based in Copenhagen Denmark where I have my every day. I love challenging the everyday, and strive every day to become better at what I do. My experience with various companies in various countries have brought me to where I am today.

Do you want to succeed with your website?

I'm Phillip Stemann. I'm determined to help you succeed with your website My only question is, will you put in the work? — Sign up for my newsletter and let me help you!


I share news about how you can improve your website every week. I write in a non-technical language for everyone to be able to improve their website. It’s completely free!