SEO Impact of Google’s Core Web Vitals Update

In May 2020, Google announced that it would be rolling out Page Experience, a new update prioritizing user experience.

Google started rolling out the update in June 2021 and said they expected to complete it by August 2021. After some delays, the update finally finished rolling out on September 3, 2021.

For a significant update, the announcement made over Twitter did not create a buzz.

During its June 2021 announcement, Google shared that Core Web Vitals, one of the four components that make up Page Experience, would be considered a ranking factor.

Now that the Page Experience Update has fully rolled out, what does it mean for websites? Read on to learn:

What Are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals is a new set of metrics in the Page Experience algorithm that measures how users interact with a webpage.

Google’s Page Experience metrics, featuring Core Web Vitals
Image Source

Google has identified three parameters that create an optimal user browsing experience. Google assesses these parameters to give the website a page experience score that is viewable on Search Console.

These Core Web Vitals are:

  1. Loading Experience is the time it takes the most relevant content to load, which is measured through the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). Websites should aim for an LCP of 2.5 seconds or below.
  2. Interactivity is the time it takes for a website to respond to user input. It is measured through the First Input Delay (FID). Websites should aim for an FID of 100 milliseconds or better. The FID score matters most to pages that require user input, such as the login page.
  3. Virtual Stability is a score assigned to a website to measure a webpage’s stability after it loads. It is measured through the Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), and websites should aim for a maximum CLS score of 0.1.

Besides Core Web Vitals, Google’s Page Experience also measures mobile-friendliness, website security, and the absence of interstitials.

Importance of Core Web Vitals

Google reiterated that relevance is still the top consideration for search engine results, but Page Experience should not be taken lightly. According to Google Search Central, for pages similar in relevance, Page Experience can be much more important for visibility in search.

Perhaps many users believe that the update was inconsequential because Page Experience also considers HTTPS and mobile-friendliness, previously regarded as minor ranking factors.

Now, all Page Experience ranking factors are taken as a whole — a fact confirmed by Google’s John Mueller, who said that Core Web Vitals is a significant ranking factor in itself.

Impact of Core Web Vitals to Websites Built Using Website Builders

Websites higher up on the search engine results pages receive more traffic. Thus, website owners everywhere will try to optimize their website for Google’s new update.

According to the Search Engine Journal, core web vitals received the most updates in 2021, resulting in more accurate metrics and improved website scores for most websites.

With Core Web Vitals completely rolled out, self-hosted websites can make the necessary adjustments, but what does this mean for websites built on website builders? Do they also experience improved website scores?

Multiple e-commerce platforms and websites are built on website builders. They make building websites easy because all technical aspects are taken care of. However, users have less control over hosting and coding, which means there’s less freedom to optimize for Core Web Vitals.

The data backs that up. Website Builder Expert tested the desktop and mobile versions of over 3,000 e-commerce websites built on major e-commerce platforms to check how they performed against Google’s Page Experience metrics.

The findings showed good mobile responsiveness and website safety for website builders. Website speed has room for improvement, but that’s no surprise because you can’t control your hosting and website code.

But something Website Builder Expert found and is worth noting is a difference between mobile and desktop performance when it comes to Core Web Vitals for e-commerce website builders.

Mobile performance was consistently worse, which is problematic considering the Page Experience update was rolled out for mobile websites, and Google indexes the mobile versions.

If your website is built on a website builder, you can test website performance using the Google Search Console’s Core Web Vitals tool.

Final Thoughts – Google’s Core Web Vitals Impacts Website Search Results

Google’s Page Experience update prioritizing user experience has finished rolling out.

The update introduces Core Web Vitals, a new set of metrics that measure optimal browsing experience. After implementing the update, more websites experienced improved scores.

Google mentions that although search relevancy is still the top consideration, the new user update should not be taken lightly. An independent test done on website builders found room for improvement in mobile performance and user experience.

What are your thoughts regarding the Core Vitals update? Let us know by tweeting @Bluehost.

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Tiffani Anderson
Tiffani Anderson |
Tiffani is the Content and Social Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. She has a passion for creating engaging content, SEO and social media!

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