If you work in a field that touches upon the need for search engine optimization (SEO) in any way, you have likely heard the phrase “Core Web Vitals” being tossed around at an increasing rate over the course of the last six months. Understanding what these metrics are, why they matter, and how they can be improved are key to improving the ranking of your B2B website in Boston. 

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What are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals (CWV) are a set of quantitative performance metrics developed by Google with the express purpose of understanding the qualitative user experience of a webpage. Since May of 2020, Google has utilized page experience signals as a ranking factor to calculate user experience when interacting with a website. In June of 2021, CWV were added to the list of page experience signal metrics, which are defined as:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
  • First Input Delay (FID)
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Have no fear if those terms appear foreign. Learning the basic definition and elements that influence each of the three makes them much simpler to understand:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

LCP essentially measures loading time. Specifically, it measures the amount of time it takes a browser to access and render for display the largest content element within the viewable area of the user’s screen. This is separate from the loading time of the entire page.

LCP is calculated separately for mobile and desktop pages, so if your website does not offer a mobile version it will impact the analytics classification of your B2B website score. A “good” score is currently considered 2.5 seconds or less. Above 2.5 seconds but under 4 seconds is in the yellow zone “needs improvement” area. Any score higher than 4 seconds is considered poor.

First Input Delay (FID)

FID is the metric that measures response time to user interaction. This score is calculated by measuring the time between the first click/tap/swipe that a user inputs to when the page actually responds. An FID of 100 milliseconds or less is considered a “good” score. Repeated field data tests by Google’s algorithm require that a page hit this standard at least 75% of the time from both mobile and desktop.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

CLS measures the visual stability of a page from both a desktop and mobile standpoint. This metric examines the proportion of the screen that “shifts” and how far the elements move. Consider the frustration you experienced the last time a page you were using caused you to accidentally tap a link that brought you to an advertiser or moved the input cursor to a new field before you were finished entering your information. 

CLS is calculated by multiplying the percentage of viewpoint shifts (the impact fraction) by the movement distance divided by viewport height (the distance fraction) in the largest burst of layout shifts that occur over the lifespan of a page. Google has set a benchmark of 0.1 or less as a “good” CLS score, and a page needs to hit this mark 75% of the time.

Why Do Core Web Vitals Matter for Your B2B Website?

CWV are important for two major reasons. 

First, the values of the metrics help web developers provide an excellent website experience, which leads to user satisfaction and a high likelihood of return. In addition, by standardizing these factors to determine a numerical score that can be compared to other sites, Google can determine which websites are more likely to provide a better user experience. CWV is an important and evolving part of how your B2B website is ranked in search.

The estimated 60 trillion pages that Google indexes for search mean that there are often infinite numbers of pages that have similar relevance and content quality for any particular B2B website. High CWV scores are vital if you want to distinguish your business webpage from those produced by your competitors. A higher search ranking can be the difference between a potential client seeing your site on their first page of search results or never seeing it at all.

How To Prioritize Errors

Since CWV were designed to measure the quality of user experience, it follows that creating an excellent user experience will improve those metrics. Google’s ranking algorithms and scoring methods are constantly evolving and are never made fully available to any B2B website developers, but GoingClear’s team has isolated the errors that most commonly have a negative impact on each of the three CWV metrics.

Priority Items to Address LCP Score

  • Upgrade to a faster web host
  • Remove any unnecessary third-party scripts
  • Cache assets
  • Remove large page elements that increase load time such as large high-quality images, moving GIFs, etc.
  • Optimize your Cascading Style Scripts (CSS)

Priority Items to Address FID Score

  • Minimize JavaScript, since users cannot interact with your site while JS is running, increasing the measure of interactivity delay
  • Remove any non-essential third-party scripts that need to load before a user can start interacting with your page, like analytics, or map tools
  • Ensure that your site has implemented browser caching so that elements will be stored on the user browser side and don’t need to be reloaded

Priority Items to Address CLS Score

  • Remove any pop-ups or banners that cause a layout shift upon initial load
  • Delegate reserved spaces for any ad content so that they do not appear in a floating manner that causes content to shift
  • Review your attribute dimensions for all media and ensure that your B2B site utilizes set sizes. This will ensure the content is delivered to any user device and the Google web crawler as designed.

Who Can Help Optimize Your Site for Core Web Vitals?

GoingClear has been building websites for B2B companies of all sizes since 2001. Whether your company needs a brand new design and development package or a refresh of current content, our team can help you analyze and implement the factors that will move the needle on CWV from “fair” to “good”.

Contact us today to get started on improving your CWVs and analytics to make 2022 your highest performing year yet!