Google’s search algorithm values websites with strong technical performance and quick page speed. This ensures that high-ranking pages on search engine results load swiftly and offer seamless interactivity. To evaluate websites’ usability, Google relies on three measures called Core Web Vitals (CWV). By improving your website’s CWV, you can make it more accessible to users and boost its chances of achieving higher rankings on results pages. 

What are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are standards that Google uses to evaluate a website’s technical health and inform rankings on its search engine results pages (SERPs). Google’s algorithm evaluates these metrics for every page on a site, meaning certain pages might achieve higher scores than others. 

There are three Core Web Vitals metrics:

1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

LCP measures the time it takes to load the largest image or text block on a web page, indicating how quickly users can see meaningful content. It relies on the idea that you’re only as strong as your weakest link. Even if the rest of your page loads quickly, one slow-loading image can annoy users.

largest contentful paint-graph, left to right: good, 2.5 sec to needs improvement, 4.0 sec to poor

2. First Input Delay (FID)

FID measures the time it takes for a page to process a user interaction. This could be the time the page requires to respond to a user clicking a button. Users—and Google—expect websites to respond quickly to inputs so they feel interactive. 

FID is a key metric in your website’s Core Web Vitals, but it will be replaced with Interaction to Next Paint (INP) in 2024. INP also measures responsiveness, but focuses on the time it takes for visual feedback to be delivered after a user interacts with a page. For example, when you add an item to your cart, you expect the cart icon to update, indicating that your item was added.

first input delay-bar graph, left to right: good, 100 ms to needs improvement, 300 ms to poor

3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

CLS measures a page’s visual stability—whether your website’s layout shifts unexpectedly after it loads. For example, an ad unit takes longer…

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