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Mastering Core Web Vitals: A Key to Better SEO in 2024

by | SEO

As a leading Los Angeles SEO agency, one of the most important recent developments we follow is Google’s Core Web Vitals update. This major ranking factor helps quantify the user experience of websites in objective ways that search engines can evaluate.

In this article, we’ll break down exactly what Core Web Vitals are, why they are a crucial part of SEO success, and steps you can take to improve your own website’s scores and provide a better user experience.

What Are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics introduced in 2020 that measure key aspects of a web page’s user experience:

Loading (Largest Contentful Paint – LCP) – This measures how quickly the main content on a page loads and is visible to users. Faster is better.

Interactivity (Interaction to Next Paint – INP) – This metric measures the time between a user’s interaction with a site until that interaction is processed and visible on the screen. Of course, lower delays are desired.  (This replaced FID, or First Input Delay, in March, 2024.)

Visual Stability (Cumulative Layout Shift – CLS) – This metric measures how much unexpectedly shifts or moves around on a page while it’s loading. Less shifting provides a smoother experience.

Together, these core web vitals provide standardized insight into the loading performance, responsiveness, and visual stability of websites – all critical elements of good user experience that search engines highly prioritize.

Why Core Web Vitals are Important for SEO

Google has made it clear that core web vitals are a confirmed ranking signal for search. This means websites that deliver a better experience by achieving good core web vital scores will be prioritized over those providing a poor user experience.

This reflects Google’s ongoing mission to surface the most relevant and highest quality results for searchers. They want websites ranking at the top to load quickly, be responsive to user input without delays, and maintain visual stability rather than jumping around.

Core Web Vitals also tie into Google’s existing page experience ranking signals like mobile-friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines. All of these combined metrics aim to quantify the real-world user experience of websites in measurable ways that search engine algorithms can understand.

As a Los Angeles website design and SEO agency, we fully expect the emphasis on core web vitals to intensify in 2024 and beyond. That makes understanding and optimizing for these metrics crucial to maintain and improve your search visibility.

How to Check and Improve Your Core Web Vital Scores

Now that you understand the importance of Core Web Vitals, how can you check your scores and identify areas for improvement? Here are some key steps:

  1. Check your scores in Google Search Console
    Google makes it easy to see your Core Web Vital scores directly in Search Console under the Experience section. You can view your metrics at the overall page group level or click into specific URLs.
  2. Use PageSpeed insights and other tools
    PageSpeed Insights can provide both lab and field data on the Core Web Vitals for your site. Tools like GTmetrix and Lighthouse also integrate Core Web Vital reporting.
  3. Optimize LCP (Largest Contentful Paint)
    To improve LCP, techniques like optimizing images and video, leveraging browser caching, minimizing render-blocking resources, and using pre-loaders can help speed up initial load times.
  4. Improve INP (Interaction to Next Paint)
    For better interactivity and responsiveness, optimize your JavaScript, remove any non-essential third-party scripts, and consider breaking up longer tasks.
  5. Fix CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift)
    For a stable visual experience, reserve space for ad slots and embeds using proper size attributes, avoid inserting new content above existing page content, and always include size attributes or aspect ratios on images/video.
  6. Enable compression and caching
    Enabling text compression and optimizing server-side and browser caching policies can greatly boost site speed.
  7. Consider a fast hosting provider
    If despite your efforts you are still struggling with slow page loads, upgrading to a premium hosting provider like WPX Hosting can have a dramatic impact.
  8. Consult a technical SEO expert (that’s us!)
    As a Los Angeles SEO agency, we often get brought in to audit sites and provide an optimization plan to comprehensively improve core web vitals and other key technical factors.

Optimizing your website for Google’s Core Web Vitals is an integral part of modern SEO that impacts both rankings and user experience. With the proper techniques and guidance, you can achieve scores in the “good” range that will delight users and satisfy search engines.

Start prioritizing page speed, responsiveness, and visual stability now, and you’ll reap the benefits of higher organic search rankings and increased engagement from happy users. In today’s competitive digital landscape, delivering an outstanding online experience is essential.

 

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Blake Discher

BLAKE J. DISCHER, FOUNDER

Blake was a professional corporate photographer and educator on all things SEO. After working with fellow photographers who would ask him to build and optimize their sites, he decided to create GO-SEO, a Web Design + SEO company for service-based businesses.

SEO and website design are now his full-time career and photography is a satisfying hobby. His only camera these days is a Leica Q2 Monochrome which he absolutely loves!

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