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What Are Core Web Vitals and Do They Matter for SEO?

When looking at Google’s Core Web Vitals, you can quickly get overwhelmed with all of the new terminology being used and not understand what any of it means. Keeping up with all of the factors that affect SEO performance can seem like a lot of work, so do Core Web Vitals add a whole new list of things to worry about? Without getting in the weeds of Core Web Vitals, it essentially evaluates the technical performance of each page on your website. We’re going to review what Core Web Vitals are, and how much you should pay attention to them for SEO.

What Are Core Web Vitals?

Some SEO fundamentals have always been critical considerations for web page performance. You’ve probably heard talk about how factors like page load speed or mobile optimization influence the way Google ranks your content. “Core web vitals” simply refers to the latest iteration of these standards used by Google’s search engine algorithm to determine a page’s quality.

Do Core Web Vitals Matter for SEO?

If Google’s core web vitals aren’t at the front of your mind while you’re creating content for your website, that would be understandable. You’re probably more focused on crafting the best content you can.

While relevant, user-friendly content is indeed half the battle, good site infrastructure is also a key part of getting your content ranked highly. Pages have the best chance of being ranked well when they contain valuable content and are also technically optimized.

How Do Core Web Vitals Work?

If you ask someone which metrics Google considers core web vitals, you’ll likely get a pile of jargon for your trouble. But, if you can look past the obtuse terminology, the concepts themselves are simple. Google’s algorithm collects information about your page to answer questions like these:

  • Does the page load quickly?
  • Do some page elements take significantly longer to load than others?
  • Is the page easy to navigate and interact with?
  • Did you use any “spammy” design tactics, such as intentionally positioning a link where customers will click on it by accident?
  • Is the page crowded with pop-up ads or other excessive distractions?

The answers to questions like these help Google understand whether or not your page will provide a stable experience for users, regardless of the quality of the content itself.

How to Improve Core Web Vitals

The best way to improve your website’s core web vitals is simply to prioritize the user experience.

The reason Google’s algorithm cares about factors like load speed and visual clutter is so it can display content that Google’s users don’t have to struggle to interact with. Not only does Google want to highlight the correct information its users are searching for, but it also wants to highlight pages that will give users a smooth, frustration-free experience. If you want to understand what problems are being flagged on your site for Core Web Vitals, there’s a tab for Core Web Vitals you can view in Google Search Console that lists everything wrong with your site’s performance.

Rather than worry about complicated technical terms, simply ask yourself what aspects of your site might be confusing, aggravating, or challenging to navigate from the user’s perspective. If you focus on the end goal of making your site easy to use rather than succumb to tunnel vision for isolated metrics, you can avoid becoming lost in the weeds of core web vitals while still improving page performance.

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