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Google announces change to Core Web Vitals reporting

Posted on February 19, 2021

 

In what is likely to be welcome news for website owners, Google has announced that it’s changing how its Core Web Vitals are measured and reported.

Core Web Vitals comprises of three metrics: cumulative layout shift (CLS), largest contentful paint (LCP) and first input delay (FID). We’ve covered each of these metrics in depth over the past month. However, in summary, the metrics are as follows:

  • CLS: This concerns the number of unexpected shifts in layout on a page of visual content. The ideal threshold measurement was set at less than 0.1.
  • LCP: This concerns the amount of time it takes for the main content on a page to load. The ideal threshold measurement was set at less than 2.5 seconds.
  • FID: This concerns the amount of time a page takes to become interactive. The ideal threshold measurement was set at less than 100 milliseconds.

Previously, as shown above, the metric boundaries were defined as being ‘less than’ the set threshold. This meant that in a Google Search Console report, websites would only receive a rating of ‘good’ if the measurements were under these ideal thresholds.

Now, however, websites can receive a rating of ‘good’ if their measurements are less than or equal to the set thresholds.

For example, with the first input delay metric, the threshold is 100 milliseconds. Previously, sites would have had to become interactive in less than this time. Now, however, they can become interactive at the 100-millisecond point or below and still be classed as ‘good’.

In Google’s changelog, the search giant noted that owners of websites will likely see positive changes in their reports due to this updating, saying:

“Therefore you might see a change in statuses (for the better) in this report.”

This is great news for website owners, especially as it’s been hinted by Google’s John Mueller that websites may need to meet all three of the metrics if they want to receive a boost in rankings, and having the threshold changed to include ‘equal to’ makes it easier to fulfil these metric requirements.

In addition, Search Engine Land reports that websites that meet every metric threshold may receive a badge in search results to show searchers that the site delivers an optimal experience for users.

While the badge hasn’t been set in stone, Core Web Vitals is definitely set to become a ranking factor. Therefore, website owners should start preparing for this change in May if they want to benefit from a ranking boost. Alternatively, if you’d like a user-friendly site designed and created for you, give our team at Engage Web a call.

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