Google has announced a new ranking factor for 2021 – page experience. The reflects an ever greater emphasis on user experience as a website quality factor.
Google has developed a new set of metrics called the Web Vitals to measure Page Experience. There are three core metrics: Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay and Cumulative Layout Shift. These represent performance, responsiveness and visual stability — the three pillars of Google’s page experience update.
Google Web Vitals Defined
Google now identifies three core web vitals. They define three pillars of page experience.
- Loading performance (how fast does stuff appear on screen?)
- Responsiveness (how fast does the page react to user input?)
- Visual stability (does stuff move around on screen while loading?)
To measure page experience, Google chose three corresponding metrics:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): A measure of how long it takes for the largest piece of content to appear on the screen.
- First Input Delay (FID): How long it takes for the site to react to the first interaction by a user.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS):Measures the visual stability of your site. In other words, does stuff move around on screen while it is loading.
The core web vitals are factored with other metrics to determine your Google page rank.
LCP: Largest Contentful Paint
Largest Contentful Paint measures the point at which the largest content element appears on the screen. It doesn’t measure the time it takes for your page to fully load, but it simply looks at when the most important part loads.
By getting your largest or most significant content element to load quicker, your site can appear much faster.
According to Google, you should aim for the LCP to happen within the first 2.5 seconds of the page loading. Everything over 4 seconds is considered poor.
FID: First Input Delay
The First Input Delay measures the time it takes for the browser to respond to the first interaction by the user. The faster the browser reacts, the better.
Google ranks highly when FID is less than 100ms. Anything between 100ms and 300ms needs improvement.
CLS: Cumulative Layout Shift
Cumulative Layout Shift determines how often elements jump around while loading and by how much. These layout shifts happen a lot with ads.
The Cumulative Layout Shift compares frames to determine the movement of elements. It takes all the points at which layout shifts happen and calculates the severity of those movements. Google considers anything below 0.1 good, while anything from 0.1 to 0.25 needs work.