Does Content Quality Still Matter in Core Web Vitals?
Many website owners, digital marketers, and SEO experts are optimizing their website for Google’s Page Experience to retain or increase their ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). Page Experience is Google’s recent major update that began rolling out in the second quarter of 2021, a key component of which is Core Web Vitals (CWV).
The CWV are ranking signals that Google measures, and they have an immense impact on user experience from mobile and desktop or web devices.
In a nutshell, the CWV determines how quickly a page loads, how fast a user can interact with a page, and the overall ease and experience when visiting a page.
Three main page experience signals contribute to your site’s search rankings: Largest Contentful Paint, Cumulative Layout Shift, and finally, First Input Delay.
Screenshot from Web.dev
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures how fast your webpage loads when a user clicks on your site.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures the stability of your webpage. It tracks how much the elements on your site shifts or moves while the page loads.
- First Input Delay (FID) measures user interaction. How much and how fast a user interacts with the elements on your website.
Now all three are relevant to the technical aspect of SEO, so you may be wondering if you can meet all of them and not have to worry about your content. The CWV may not have specified content quality, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have relevance with this ranking signal.
You may also want to read: 6 Ways To Optimize Your Site For The Google Page Experience Update
Does Content Quality Matter in Core Web Vitals?
The answer is yes.
High-quality content helps get you the right audience, more traffic; it lowers bounce rates and boosts conversions.
Users click on your link because it has the content and information they need. They’re going to stay on your website because your content is engaging for them. These factors affect all the Core Web Vitals signals that Google will use to evaluate your website.
Optimizing for the core web vitals helps you present your product descriptions, videos, blog posts, and other content pieces adequately.
Your content needs to be: Why Google Page Rank Is So Important To Your Business
1. Fast Loading
Fast loading content affects “largest contentful paint,” which measures page speed. A score of 2.5 or less is considered good while any more than that will need to be improved.
Make sure to compress images and files as huge files tend to take time to load. Also, use Google fonts when uploading text on your website as they render quicker.
Implement lazy loading so that it loads the area on the pages as users scroll to that particular area.
The stability of the content affects CLS. This makes sure that there are no confusing and unnecessary movements from your content while the user is on it. An example would be if a photo originally took up 5% of the screen, then moved another 10%, it took up a total of 15% of the space. In turn, it moved texts and other elements on the page as well.
A CLS score of less than 0.1 is good. Meanwhile, anything higher than 0.25 will need improvement.
One way to improve your CLS score is to include size attributes on visual elements, like images or videos. This will ensure that browsers can allocate the right amount of space needed by the element. Another way is to reserve static space for elements that will require dedicated spaces like forms, videos, images, and ads.
Your content needs to be engaging as this will affect the FID. This measures how interactive your website is and how fast it responds to a user’s request. For FID to be measured, your content has to engage the user first.
Google will see how relevant your website is through your FID score. FID scores that are less than 100 milliseconds are good. However, anything higher than that needs to be optimized.
Your website’s score on each CWV factor will be affected by how well or poorly users experience your site. And a significant part of user experience is content quality. On the surface, it may seem like the CWV covers just the technical part of your SEO. But site performance according to CWV indicates whether you’re providing site visitors with content they need and can rely on.
So how do you know you’ll ace or meet Core Web Vitals requirements?
You may also want to read:
Tools to Test Your Pages
The three tools listed below are just some Google tools you can use to measure CWV.
Google Search Console. You can access the Core Vitals reports via Google Search Console. The report will show you how your website is performing at page level.
Google Lighthouse. This is Google’s own web auditing tool that helps you identify issues and opportunities to improve page experience. It measures various angles of user experience quality including performance and accessibility, all in a lab environment.
PageSpeed Insights. This will let you know how individual pages on your website are doing. You can also use this to look at competitor’s pages. You’ll be given a report on page speed for both mobile and desktop, and it will also give you recommendations on how you can optimize the elements on your site for the Core Web Vitals.
Relevant Content is a Major Ranking Factor
The Core Web Vitals implementation definitely has had some impact on the rankings of some websites. Speed and reliability are critical factors to web performance. Without a plan to optimize for it, you risk losing potentially valuable traffic to your website.
CWV will help you provide a satisfying web experience for your users. But don’t be lulled into thinking it holds a substantial place in Google’s ranking algorithm. As John Mueller says, relevance is still a more powerful influence. A particular page on your website may load fast, display right, and facilitate immediate engagement. But if its content doesn’t match the user’s query, it may not rank as well as a page that’s a perfect match.
Paul Staten is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO/Managing Director of SEO Werkz. The first business he created is a computer repair company that still serves clients today, 15 years after its creation. SEO Werkz was featured in the Inc 500 list of 2016, and Inc 5000 in 2017 and 2018. You can connect with Paul on LinkedIn here or follow/tweet him @paulstaten
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