A significant Google search algorithm update coming this May incorporates new performance metrics: Core Web Vitals. A new set of ranking signals based around page experience combines Core Web Vitals with existing signals such as mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines to provide a holistic picture of the quality of a user’s experience on a web page.
Google tends to be guarded when it comes to big algorithm updates and how those changes impact search engine results and page rankings. This time, the search giant has provided explicit insight into what’s coming and how site owners and digital agencies can prepare.
Core Web Vitals were introduced by Google less than a year ago to measure real-world web page user experiences and provide guidance for delivering a great experience. While Google captures many data points that speak to site performance and considers hundreds of ranking factors in its algorithm, the Core Web Vitals this update will focus on are:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): Measures perceived load speed — the time from clicking a link to seeing the majority of the on-screen content.
- First Input Delay (FID): Measures responsiveness and interactivity — the time “long” tasks delay a visitor’s ability to interact with a page.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Measures visual stability — the unexpected movement of page elements due to lengthy load time or ad insertions that hinder user interaction and experience.