Website speed has always been a key part of the way that Chrome differentiates itself from other search engines.
Since 2019 this has been even more important. With Google rewarding fast loading websites in a way that had not been done before. By displaying a badge on slow loading websites, Chrome planned on clearly indicating slow loading sites to searchers.
They have now gone even further in their pursuit of speed. The new Core Web Vitals were introduced to improve the customer experience on websites. A huge part of this is the website speed and responsiveness of the websites.
What are the Core Web Vitals?
The Core Web Vitals are the new measures used by Google to calculate the quality experience of a website. The total value is made up of three factors. Largest contentful paint (LCP), first input delay (FID) and cumulative layout shift (CLS).
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
The amount of time to render the largest content element visible in the viewport, from when the user requests the URL. The largest element is typically an image or video, or perhaps a large block-level text element. This is important because it tells the reader that the URL is actually loading.
Good LCP values are 2.5 seconds, poor values are greater than 4.0 seconds and anything in between needs improvement
First Input Delay (FID)
The time from when a user first interacts with your page (when they clicked a link, tapped on a button, and so on) to the time when the browser responds to that interaction. This measurement is taken from whatever interactive element that the user first clicks. This is important on pages where the user needs to do something, because this is when the page has become interactive.
Good fid values are 2.5 seconds, poor values are greater than 4.0 seconds and anything in between needs improvement
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
CLS measures the sum total of all individual layout shift scores for every unexpected layout shift that occurs during the entire lifespan of the page. The score is zero to any positive number, where zero means no shifting and the larger the number, the more layout shift on the page. This is important because having pages elements shift while a user is trying to interact with it is a bad user experience. If you can’t seem to find the reason for a high value, try interacting with the page to see how that affects the score.
Good CLS values are under 0.1, poor values are greater than 0.25 and anything in between needs improvement
What can you do to increase your website speed?
There are a number of tools available to help you reduce your risk of being hit by penalties. Google itself offers Pagespeed Insights and Lighthouse to help you make the most of your online presence. Using PageSpeed Insights will allow you to identify how long it takes your page to load as well as providing some insights as to how to improve load times. Lighthouse provides personalised advice and best practice on improving your website speed and performance.
There are also a number of third-party alternatives that offer a lot of information that Google leave out. Experte offers a number of tools that measure Page Speed and Page Experience, unlike Google’s offering this site measures more than just the homepage.