Core Web Vitals – The New SEO Ranking Factor to Watch Out For


SEO for your Website

A new initiative from Google aims to emphasise the importance of user website experience further. From early 2021, the search giant will factor user experience (UX) signals into how your website ranks in search results. Making a positive UX more vital than ever before. The new Core Web Vitals from Google will measure three principal signals as well as the existing ranking signals.

You might be thinking, ‘Another day, another Google algorithm change’. You’re not wrong. Google makes regular, even daily updates to its algorithm. Most of them are ones we don’t have to do anything about but we still benefit from them.  However, when Google wants to give website owners a heads up that they need to make changes, they make sure we hear about it.  With these Core Web Vitals, Google has announced them early to help webmasters maximise the potential they offer.

As 2021 gets started, we should see a shift in the quality of web experience from a user’s perspective. Developers will now focus on optimising sites to ensure they rank well for Core Web Vitals. As a result, pages will get faster; sites will respond better to user interactivity and, visually, sites will be more stable. We are a professional SEO Agency in Cork, we help businesses across Ireland improve their SEO and gain more Organic Traffic to their websites, and we can do the same for you.


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What Are Google’s Three Core Web Vitals?

The Core Web Vitals focus on three specific elements of your site’s web pages. These are loading, interactivity and visual stability.


  1. Loading

You will hear this referred to as Largest Contentful Paint or LCP, it is the time that it takes for the main content of a webpage to load.


  1. Interactivity First

You will hear this referred to as First Input Delay or FID. In plain English, this is the time it takes for any interactive part of a page to become active. For example, the speed an ordering process takes to start when I hit the ‘Order Now’ button on your website.  

An important note here: It is not the speed it takes for the process to complete (order to process)—only the rate between hitting that button and the process beginning.


  1. Visual Stability

You will hear this referred to as a Cumulative Layout Shift. It refers to elements on the page moving unexpectedly. An example of this could be a website Login Button. Web users are accustomed to a login button being in the top right-hand corner of a page. If that button keeps moving, either to another area of the page or even a smidge to the right or left the user experience deteriorates (It is the little things that matter sometimes). What Google wants is for that button (for example) not to shift. 

For each Core Web Vital Google will grade them as one of the following:

  • Good (passes)
  • Needs Improvement
  • Fail

Keep reading for advice on how to optimise core web vitals.


How You Can Benefit From Core Web Vitals

Better SEO –

By introducing new Core Web Vitals into the web ranking suite, Google is telling us that the user comes first. Nothing new there. However, what this means for businesses is that there is a chance to outshine the competition. 

Let’s look at it this way – Two businesses sell precisely the same product online and have the same relevance for the user. One company ensures that its Core Web Vitals are up to speed (excuse the pun) and the other is slower to make improvements. In this scenario, the one with the improvements will be rewarded by Google with a better position in search results.

Here’s how Google explain it – “While all of the components of page experience are important, we will prioritize pages with the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar. A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content. However, in cases where multiple pages have similar content, page experience becomes much more important for visibility in Search.”- Google Webmaster Central Blog.

If SEO is something you are struggling to get to grips with, take a look at our FREE SEO guide, prepared by our experienced SEO Cork and Kerry team.


Better User Experience –

With improved loading, interactivity and visual stability, you can expect happier site users. In turn, this should mean more conversions and less bounce. Here’s why.

When a user visits your site, they want critical information quickly. If that information doesn’t appear fast enough (be it an image or text) the user will leave. If you have a high bounce rate – this is probably one of the main reasons.

Likewise, when a user interacts with your site, they have expectations that it will respond quickly. When it doesn’t, they get frustrated and leave – sometimes getting to the payment section and then quitting the purchase because of the slow speed. 

Lastly, a site with elements that move around in a way that the user doesn’t expect can appear ‘buggy’. Users will instinctively stay clear of sites that seem compromised or unstable. At the very least, users find jumpy websites annoying.


Will Google Only Look At Core Web Vitals?

No, Core Web Vitals will be measured in tandem with existing signals. These signals are still important. So remember that Google likes:

  • Sites with HTTPS encryption: Google rewards websites that have HTTPS secure encryption.
  • Sites Being Mobile-friendly: Google rewards pages that have a positive mobile experience.
  • Intrusive interstitials: Google will penalise websites that use intrusive interstitials and popups. 
  • Safe sites: Google rewards websites that have adequate security, no malware, no harmful downloads and no phishing pages (deceptive pages).

In a nutshell: Google will rate the user experience of your web page using page experience signals that combine existing ranking signals and new Core Web Vitals.


How To Optimise For Core Web Vitals

For anyone wondering ‘How will my site rank come Spring?’ There are ways you can measure and improve your site’s performance now. 

Start by assessing where you currently rank. There are free tools available to help you check your website vitals. Such as:

These tools offer you real insights and advice that will help optimise for Core Web Vitals. For example, the free tool Google PageSpeed Insights will measure the Loading speed (LCP score). It’s as simple as pasting in a webpage URL and hitting the ‘analyze’ button.  What this tool will show you is an overview of your LCP score for both mobile and desktop. It also offers suggestions on how to make improvements. These could be suggestions like eliminating render-blocking resources or correctly sizing images. 

You will probably find that several tweaks and improvements are required as opposed to one big issue that needs fixing. If you’re ready to get started with optimising for Core Web Vitals and would like expert advice and support, contact us at ePresence today.

Take your Digital Marketing to the Next Level with ePresence

If you are looking to expand your business, reach more customers and improve the impact of your marketing, ePresence can help. We will work with you to understand your business needs, challenges and goals. Our Digital Marketing Agency in Cork and Kerry is an experienced and results-driven organisation serving companies and national brands throughout Munster and all of Ireland. We will help lighten your load and provide access to our quality digital marketing team. Get in touch with us today on +353 (0)21 2362901 or email us on [email protected].

About Author

John Brennan

John Brennan

John Brennan is director of ePresence Internet Marketing. He is an experienced management consultant, specialising in Digital Marketing, Business Development, Product Development and Innovation Management. Owner/director of ePresence, John also lectures in Digital Advertising and Analytics at Cork Institute of Technology. John has an Electronic Engineering Degree from Cork Institute of Technology, MBA from University College Cork and Executive Training at Kellogg Business School, Chicago. Before setting up ePresence, John held various roles such as Software Engineer, Director of Engineering, Director of Product and Program Management, Vice President of Product Development and General Manager in world leading organisations such as Apple, IBM, Snap-on Inc. and FMC. John combines his technology know-how, management experience and customer focus to help his clients achieve online success.

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