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Core Web Vitals measures page experience signals to ensure an engaging user experience for search users.

But can Core Web Vitals affect your organic search rankings?

Read on to find out if there is a connection between Core Web Vitals and improving Google rankings.

The Claim: Web Essentials Are a Ranking Factor

What are the Essentials of the Web?

According to web.dev:

“Basic Web Vitals are the subset of Web Vitals that apply to all web pages, should be measured by all site owners, and will be displayed in all Google tools.

Each of the Core Web Vitals represents a distinct facet of the user experience, is measurable in the field, and reflects the actual experience of a user-centric critical result.

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The three Core Web Vital metrics are as follows.

  • Largest Content Paint (LCP): Measures the time it takes to load the largest image or block of text in the window.
  • First Entry Delay (FID): Measures the time it takes for the browser to respond when a user interacts with the page (button click, press, etc.).
  • Cumulative Layout Offset (CLS): Measures visual stability to determine if there is a major change in on-screen content while items are loading.

Evidence of Core Web Vitals as a Ranking Factor

In 2020, Google Search Central has pre-announced the upcoming Page Experience Metrics Ranking Signals (Core Web Vitals).

The corresponding blog post stated the following:

“Earlier this month, the Chrome team announced Core Web Vitals, a set of metrics related to speed, responsiveness, and visual stability, to help site owners measure user experience on the web.

Today, we build on that work and provide insight into an upcoming search ranking change that incorporates these page experience metrics. We are going to introduce a new signal that combines Core Web Vitals with our existing signals for the page experience to provide a holistic picture of the quality of a user’s experience on a web page.

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In 2021, Google hosted a half-hour ask me anything session on web statistics. During AMA someone asked if page experience was a binary ranking factor.

Philip Walton, a Google engineer working on web performance, responded that web statistics are generally not a binary ranking factor.

John Mueller, Google Search Advocate, confirmed at the AMA that while vital web data affects rankings, relevance plays an important role as well. If website A is faster than website B but B is more relevant to search users’ query, website B would still outperform A.

Mueller also noted that websites going from “need improvement” to “good” may see improvements in rankings. But websites that are already good and improve their speed by a millisecond or two may not see the ranking changes.

In 2021, Google updated the original blog post for Core Web Vitals. They confirmed that the rollout of the page experience will be completed in August 2021.

Core Web Vitals as a ranking factor: our verdict

Google has confirmed that yes, Core Web Vitals is a ranking factor.

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Google’s web.dev offers great advice on how to improve your LCP, FID, and CLS to improve both your users’ experience and your rankings.

For a real-life perspective on web performance metrics on the Internet, visit HTTP Archive for “… various performance metrics in the lifecycle of a loading page, including those used by many modern progressive web applications.”


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita / SearchEngineJournal



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