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Google’s frequently asked questions include Core Web Vitals Insights

Google's frequently asked questions include Core Web Vitals Insights

Core Web Vitals (CWV) is a set of metrics developed by Google to help publishers improve site performance for the benefit of site visitors.

Website performance is important for publishers because fast pages generate more leads, sales, and advertising revenue.

Google recently published a document that provides insight into how CWVs work and their value for ranking. This article discusses it.

Core Web Vitals are designed to promote a healthy web experience

Page efficiency is important for site visitors because it reduces the time it takes for them to get what they want.

From mid-June, Core Web Vitals will be a minor ranking factor. Some articles have overestimated the importance of CWV as being a critical ranking factor. But that is not accurate.

Relevance has always been the most important ranking factor, even more important than the speed of the page.

Statements from Google’s John Mueller assure that relevance will continue to be the stronger influence.

According to Mueller:

“… relevance is still far more important. So just because your site is faster in terms of Core Web Vitals than some competitors, does not necessarily mean that in May, you will jump to position number one in the search results. ”

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Although Core Web Vitals does not necessarily have a noticeable impact on rankings, it is still advisable to ignore the metric. A malfunctioning web page causes disadvantages in other ways, such as lower earnings and possibly less popularity.

Popularity is a key to important ranking factors like links. So it can be argued that a better ranking of Core Web Vitals could help rankings indirectly beyond the direct ranking boost given by Google’s algorithm.

The goal of Core Web Vitals is to have a common metric for all websites to improve the user experience across the Internet.

Q: Does Google recommend that all my pages reach these thresholds? What is the benefit?

A: We recommend that websites use these three thresholds as a guide for optimal user experience on all pages.

Core Web Vitals thresholds are assessed at the per-page level, and you may find that some pages are above and others below these thresholds.

The immediate benefit will be a better experience for users who visit your site, but in the long run we believe that working towards a common set of user experience metrics and thresholds across all sites will be crucial to maintaining a healthy web ecosystem. ”

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AMP is a reasonably reliable way to score well

AMP is an acronym for Accelerated Mobile Pages. It is an HTML framework for delivering web pages to mobile devices that are sleek, fast-loading, and attractive.

AMP was originally developed by Google, but is open source. AMP can host e-commerce websites as well as information pages.

For example, there are apps for the Shopify e-commerce platform as well as plugins for WordPress sites that make it easy to add AMP functionality to a site.

Google would prefer a site’s AMP version for the purpose of calculating a CWV score. So if a site is having a hard time optimizing for CWV, using AMP is a quick and easy way to achieve a high score.

Nevertheless, Google warned that there are factors like a slow server or poorly optimized images that can still have a negative impact on core web scores.

Q: If I built AMP pages, do they meet the recommended thresholds?

A: There is a high probability that AMP sites will comply with the thresholds. AMP is about delivering high quality user experiences. its initial design goals are closely aligned with what Core Web Vitals measures today.

This means that sites built using AMP are likely to easily meet Web Vitals thresholds.

Furthermore, AMP’s evergreen publishing enables website owners to get these performance enhancements without having to change their code base or invest in additional resources.

It is important to note that there are things beyond AMP’s control that may result in pages not complying with the thresholds, e.g. Slow server response times and non-optimized images. ”

First input delay does not consider rolling or jumping / leaving

First Input Delay (FID) is a metric that measures the time it takes from a site visitor interacting with a site until the browser responds to that interaction.

Once a site appears to be downloading and interactive elements appear ready to be interacted with, a user should ideally be able to start clicking around without delay.

A bounce is when a visitor visits a site but then shortly after leaves the page and presumably returns to the search page.

The question is about rejected sessions, but the answer also includes scrolling.

Google replies that rejection and abandonment are not part of the FID metric, presumably because there was no interaction.

Q: Can sessions that do not report FID be considered “rejected” sessions?

A: No, FID excludes scrolls, and there are legitimate sessions without scrolling input. Bounce Rate and Abandonment Rate can be defined as part of your optional analysis package and are not considered in the CWV -metric design. ”

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Core Web Vitals Impact Ranking

This section repeats and confirms that Core Web Vitals became a ranking signal in June 2021.

“… Core Web vitals will be included in page experience signals along with existing search signals, including mobile friendliness, secure browsing, HTTPS security and intrusive interstitial guidelines.”

The Importance of Core Web Vitals Ranking Signal for Ranking

Rank signals are said to have different weights. This is a reflection of the fact that some ranking signals are more important than other ranking signals.

So when it is said that a ranking signal is weighed more than another ranking signal, it means that it is more important.

This is an interesting section of the FAQ because it deals with the weight of the Core Web Vitals ranking signal compared to other ranking signals.

Google seems to say that the Core Web Vitals ranking signal is weaker than other ranking signals that are directly related to satisfying a user query.

It is almost as if there is a hierarchy of signals, where intention-related signals become more important than user experience signals.

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Here’s how Google explains it:

Q: How does Google determine which pages are affected by the assessment of page experience and use as a ranking signal?

A: Page experience is just one of many signals used to rank pages. Keep in mind that the intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a page with an underpark experience can still rank high if it has good, relevant content.

Q: What can website owners expect to happen to their traffic if they do not hit Core Web Vitals performance metrics?

A: It’s hard to come up with any kind of general prediction. We may have more to share in the future when we formally announce that the changes will take effect. Remember that the content itself and its matching to the kind of information a user is looking for is also a very strong signal. ”

Field data in Search Console Core Web Vitals reporting

This next section explains possible discrepancies between what a publisher experiences in terms of download speed and what users on different devices and Internet connections may experience.

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Therefore, the Google Search Console can report that a site scores low on Core Web Vitals, even if the site is perceived as fast by the publisher.

More importantly, the Core Web Vitals metric is concerned with more than just speed.

In addition, the Search Console report is based on real data, while Lighthouse data is based on simulated users on simulated devices and simulated internet connections.

Real data is called Filed Data, while the test based on simulations is called Lab Data.

Q: My page is fast. Why can I see warnings in the Search Console Core Web Vitals report?

A: Different devices, network connections, geography and other factors can contribute to how a page is loaded and experienced by a particular user. Although some users may observe a good experience under certain conditions, this may not be a sign of another user’s experience.

Core Web Vitals looks at entire user visits, and its thresholds are rated at the 75th percentile across users’ bodies. The SC CWV report helps to report this data.

… remember that Core Web Vitals looks at more than speed. For example, Cumulative Layout Shift describes users’ annoyances as content moving around …

Q: When I look at Lighthouse, I see no errors. Why can I see errors in the Search Console report?

Answer: The Search Console Core Web Vitals report shows how your pages perform based on real-world usage data from the CrUX report (sometimes called “field data”). Lighthouse on the other hand shows data based on what is called “laboratory data”. Laboratory data is useful for troubleshooting performance issues while developing a website as it is collected in a controlled environment. However, it can not catch bottlenecks in the real world. “

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Google published a section with frequently asked questions about Core Web Vitals that answers many questions.

Although the above questions were the ones I found particularly interesting, take a moment to review the rest of the FAQ as there is a lot more information there.

Citation:

Frequently asked questions about Core Web Vitals and page experience

Featured Image Credit: Paulo Bobita

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