Web Vitals: How to Benefit from Google's New Web Performance Metrics
July 30, 2020

Mehdi Daoudi
Catchpoint

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In today's landscape, your website has become a more powerful tool than ever. One of the most frustrating experiences for visitors is a slow, unresponsive website. Worst-case scenario, a web bounce causes prospects to permanently bounce from your company. In an effort to help companies improve web performance, Google launched the Web Vitals initiative in May and announced three new search engine ranking factors.

The initiative's objective? Simplify how companies measure user experience for their websites by introducing ranking factors called Core Web Vitals:

■ Loading performance

■ Interactivity

■ Visual stability

Counting the Reasons That UX Matters

With prospective customers increasingly digitally sophisticated, ensuring that they have positive user experiences when they visit is vital. Consider these UX statistics collected by the UXCam user experience blog:

■ 88% of people are less likely to return to a website after a bad user experience

■ 53% will leave a website if it takes more than three seconds to load

■ 90% have stopped using an app because of poor performance

■ 62% are less likely to purchase from a brand again if they've had a negative brand experience on mobile

■ Every $1 invested in UX results in a return of $100

"Product teams and designers creating products in isolation without consideration for the people who are the actual end-users are not going to succeed," said Toptal Lead UX/Product Designer Miklos Philips in a blog post.

Web Vitals Could Impact Your Company's SEO Ranking

As early as 2021, Google plans to rank webpages in its search engine based on the quality of the user experience delivered, After launch, annual updates to Core Web Vitals are expected.

Google already considered certain website metrics when search ranking. In 2015, Google began ranking sites based on how readily websites adapted to a mobile experience. Companies with the most mobile-friendly sites ranked higher in search. As mobile-friendly websites became common, Google began ranking by loading speed.

The recent announcement from Google gives companies time to prepare for Web Vitals. Just as how companies with mobile-friendly websites have benefited, companies that optimize for Web Vitals metrics will gain an edge.

Many metrics exist to gauge webpage performance. Let's walk through how Google defines Core Web Vitals and how to use them to measure web performance:

Largest Contentful Paint: LCP measures loading performance, specifically the time it takes for the largest element on a webpage to be rendered. For a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when a page starts loading, according to Google.

First Input Delay: FID measures interactivity, specifically how much time it takes between a user beginning to interact with a webpage, such as by clicking on a link, and the browser's response to that interaction. For a good user experience, pages should have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.

Cumulative Layout Shift: CLS measures visual stability by quantifying how often website content "jumps" when a webpage is loading. For a good user experience, pages should have a CLS of less than 0.1.

Seize the Opportunity Represented by Web Vitals

SEO ranking impacts company success. Companies can gain — or lose — major dollars based on their efforts to optimize these specific metrics. Ensuring that your company's webpages are high-performing on Core Web Vitals can mean the difference between a steady stream of new web visitors and radio silence as your company's low search ranking makes it almost impossible for people to find you. Prioritize these new search ranking factors now to benefit tremendously later.

One essential way to do that is by measuring and tracking Core Web Vitals. Doing so can detect web performance issues that need to be fixed so that search ranking doesn't suffer once Core Web Vitals are considered as part of Google's search algorithm. Choose a digital experience monitoring solution that lets you set up and measure Core Web Vitals as part of your existing web performance dashboard.

"These metrics are nothing but new methods of measuring applications in a way that matters to the end user, which ultimately results in meeting the customers' expectations," said Catchpoint's Loy Colaco and Megha Hanuman. "Different metrics provide different performance perspectives and the data from these metrics can play a crucial role in improving the end-user experience."

Mehdi Daoudi is CEO and Co-Founder of Catchpoint
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