Google Shares Recommendations to Optimize Core Web Vitals
Published: January 16, 2023
Google recently released new Core Web Vitals recommendations that help users determine what to prioritize when time is limited.
Core Web Vitals are metrics that measure and evaluate website speed, responsiveness, and visual stability.
The three Core Web Vitals metrics are
- The Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
- First Input Delay (FID)
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
Google believes that these metrics are critical to providing a positive experience and ranking websites in its search results.
Google has provided numerous suggestions for improving Core Web Vitals scores over the years.
The listed recommendations are feasible for most developers and applicable to the majority of websites.
Here's what the Chrome team recommends:
Optimizing the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
The Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) metric tracks how long it takes for a page's primary content to become visible to users.
- Ensure the LCP resource can be easily found in the HTML source: Websites must ensure that images load quickly in order to improve LCP. If the LCP element is an image, the image's URL should always be accessible from the HTML source.
- Ensure that the LCP resource is prioritised: Google suggests prioritising the LCP resource and not delaying it in favour of less critical resources. Furthermore, Google advises caution when using image optimization tools that automatically apply lazy loading to all images.
- To reduce time to first bite (TTFB), use a content delivery network (CDN): A browser should start receiving the first byte of the initial HTML document response before loading any additional resources. To reduce TTFB, brands should serve their content from a nearby location and use caching for frequently requested content. Google suggests using a content delivery network (CDN) to achieve this in the best way possible.
Optimizing First Input Delay (FID)
- Avoid or Break Up Long Tasks: To avoid lengthy tasks, it is beneficial to divide large tasks into smaller ones, giving the main thread more opportunities to process critical, user-visible work.
- Avoid Large Rendering Updates: Google recommends avoiding non-visual work with requestAnimationFrame(), keeping DOM size small, and using CSS containment to optimize rendering work. It helps improve the responsiveness of the website.
Optimizing Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
- Set Explicit Sizes For On-Page Content: When content on a website changes position after it has finished loading, this can cause layout shifts. To avoid this, Google provided some inputs to help reserve as much space as possible in advance.
- Ensure Pages Are Eligible For Bfcache: Google recommends using the BFcache feature as it can improve performance by eliminating layout shifts during page load.
- Avoid Animations and Transitions: Pages that animate any CSS property that could affect layout are 15% less likely to have "good" CLS. To avoid this, Google suggests eliminating animating or transitioning any CSS property that requires the browser to update the layout unless in response to user input.
The Vitality of Core Web Vitals to Optimize Search and User Experience
The ultimate aim of Google is to ensure all the websites included in their index are offering the best experience for their searchers. Google made "core website vitals" a ranking factor to encourage website owners to focus on UX.
Core website vitals are crucial for brands to improve their site visibility so as to get easily discovered by their consumers online.
According to the Search Engine Journal survey, 90% of companies with a strong and effective organic marketing strategy saw a 5% increase in website performance. Although paid marketing has its own benefits, there is a clear need for brands to work on organic strategies to attract visitors naturally.
At this point in time, it is important for brands to meet the standards of core web vitals to have stronger scores than their competitors. This in turn helps them have a better chance of ranking against their competitors.
Irrespective of the amount of time spent, we believe website owners should view this as a long-term investment in their company's growth. Several other global brands have been investing in Core Web Vitals and have benefited from this. For instance, Vodafone found that a 31% improvement in LCP led to 8% more sales.
Improving page performance can seem like a daunting task, especially given that there is a mountain of guidance across the web to consider. By focusing on these recommendations, however, marketers can approach the problem with focus and purpose, and hopefully move the needle for Core Web Vitals.
Google has been continuously providing numerous recommendations to improve the Core Web Vitals scores. We anticipate the new recommendations will assist marketers in understanding where to focus to get the most out of their websites in a limited time.
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