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Google Core Web Vitals Explained

Google recently announced Core Web Vitals, combined with existing user experience signals, will become a new search ranking signal as a part of the Page Experience Update launching in May 2021.

What is User Experience (UX)?

UX focuses on how people feel and perceive while interacting with a system. A system that needs UX could be anything from a simple website to a mobile application or any software that has some form of human-computer interaction (HCI).

Beyond responsive design trends, user expectations are constantly changing. These expectations are driven by a variety of factors, including:

  • Usability
  • System performance 
  • Design 
  • Accessibility
  • Online and offline marketing
  • Human factors
  • Ergonomics

Within healthcare, it’s important to remember the difference between UX and patient experience. While UX still matters just as much as every other industry, patient experience extends beyond what people find online. The ease of scheduling an appointment, the waiting room experience all the way through checking out and billing all come into play with patient experience.

Why it Matters

Google’s algorithm is more than just keywords and their position on the search result pages (SERPs). Your website must deliver an efficient and effective experience for users finding your website. Long gone are the days where all we had to focus on was keyword-rich content. Google will favor the websites with the overall best experience.

What are the Core Web Vitals?

Google has been using page experience signals as ranking factors for quite some time now. These include:

  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Safe browsing 
  • HTTPS security
  • Intrusive interstitial guidelines

What makes the page experience update so impactful are the new Core Web Vitals:

  • Loading: Largest Content Paint (LCP)
  • Interactivity: First Input Display (FID)
  • Visual Stability: Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Combined with the existing page experience signals, the Core Web Vitals will form a new ranking algorithm that has an even stronger emphasis on page experience signals.

Defining Core Web Vitals

Largest Content Paint (LCP): The time it takes for a web page to load its main content. The ideal measurement is 2.5 seconds or faster. If it takes more than 4 seconds, the web page will be considered to have a low score.

First Input Display (FID): The time it takes for a web page to become interactive. In other words, the amount of time it takes the browser to react to an action made on the page. The ideal measurement is 100 ms or faster. If it takes more than 300 ms, the web page will be considered to have a low score.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): The amount of unexpected layout shifts of the visual content while loading on a web page. The ideal measurement is 0.1 or less. If it has a measurement of 2.5 or higher, it is considered to be poor.

How to Measure Core Web Vitals

Google Search Console now has a Core Web Vitals report that uses real-world usage data, meaning anonymized metrics about performance times from actual users visiting your URL. This report will show how your URL ranks for each of the three categories. Once you know your score, you can use the Google Page Speed Insights to run diagnostics to further your knowledge on how to improve your scores.

Why it Matters

The full patient experience begins with the first search. When investing in your online presence, you’re investing in gaining more patients. If you take Google Core Web Vitals lightly, you will see dramatic decreases in website traffic and search engine rankings in the coming year. 

If you need or want to improve your website visibility on search engine page results while improving your customer base, contact us today! Points Group will work with you to create an expert strategy to improve your rankings and revenue stream.