Google’s Core Web Vitals & How to Improve Page Speed Test

Google's Core Web Vitals & How to Improve Page Speed Test

Google’s Core Web Vitals are metrics that evaluate a website’s performance. It involves a range of user-facing functions on a website. One of which is page speed. 

It is crucial to know how to improve page speed. Usually, by compressing images, introducing browser cache, minifying HTML, and implementing APP, the Page Speed Test can be improved. 

In this post, we will discuss what Google’s Core Web Vitals are, How to Improve Google’s Core Web Vitals, How to increase Page Speed, and much more!

What is Google’s Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are signals from the page that relate to user experience. Google uses these signals to evaluate and analyze the effectiveness of user experience on a site. They are signals that tell Google how well a user can interact with the site and how the site responds to these interactions. 

User experience includes metrics such as click response time, navigation, reload time, etc. With improvements across these metrics, the Core Web Vitals score can be improved. There are three such Core Web Vitals:

  1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
  2. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) 
  3. First Input Delay (FID)

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

As the name suggests, LCP is a simple measure of how fast the large content holders load on a website. These include embeds such as images, gifs, audio, video, interactive elements, etc. 

But LCP is more than just website loading. It is the measure of how long it will take to render content and see it on the screen. Google has a standard for the best user experience, which is that a site should load in less than 2.5 seconds. 

Anything slower than 2.5 seconds will affect your LCP score negatively, and your overall ranking may decrease.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) 

This metric measures the website’s predictability. Predictability here refers to no unexpected or confusing movements on the webpage. These movements may potentially preclude users from consuming or interacting with the website’s content. 

CLS deals with visual stability. For example, you may visit a website and when you go to click on a button, the button moves. Optimizing for visual stability prevents the user from accidentally clicking on unintended links.

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No unexpected layout shifts score a zero. The more unintended layout shifts, the higher the score. Higher scores may impact rankings. 

First Input Delay (FID) 

First Input Delay refers to the time delay that occurs when a user on the webpage interacts with it for the first time. Another thing that is measured in this metric is how fast a website, in general, responds to a user’s request. 

For a great score, make sure the interactivity delay is 100 milliseconds. This has been confirmed by Google. A score greater than 300 milliseconds would negatively affect your SEO ranking. 

Now you might think about how to improve this. You can improve your FID score by focusing on third-party scores. Many times, third-party codes tend to boggle up your site and make the page respond slowly.  

To solve this issue, minify and compress the CSS files and break long Java script tasks into smaller ones. You can use lazy loading for content that doesn’t need to appear immediately. If there are any unused third-party code tags, remove them.

Why Google’s Core Web Vitals Are Important

Core Web Vitals are instruments that developers can exploit to provide users with an enhanced web browsing experience. When Core Web Vitals are correctly optimized, users tend to be more satisfied with their experience. This increases the chances of the website being recommended to others by them. The opposite happens if the website is unstable, keeps moving, and is stuffed with clickbait.

Google Core Web Vitals drive the SEO performance metrics. They give Google a sense of how people feel about the website. They are ranking signals that indicate a specific set of user experiences. Google uses all this information to rank the webpage on search. 

Therefore, what Core Web Vitals end up doing for you is providing organic ranking capabilities without any special SEO measures. This translates into an overall increase in your brand value and growth. 

Do Google’s Core Web Vitals Overtake Content?

The answer to this is NO. CONTENT IS STILL KING. Content matters, and it will continue to matter in the future. 

Google Core Web Vitals are only one of the newest ranking signals for Google. There are many more factors that Google looks at when deciding which page to rank first.

How To Improve Page Speed Test?

Google's Core Web Vitals & How to Improve Page Speed Test

Page Speed Test Improvement is a key variable that will help boost your SEO ranking and improve your Google’s Core Web Vitals.

1. Enable compression

Compress CSS, HTML, and JavaScript files that are larger than 150 bytes. Use Photoshop to compress image files. Alternatively use an image optimisation tool that automates compression. 

2. Minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML

Learn how to optimize your code. 

You can dramatically increase your page speed by optimizing your code. For this, you will need to do a few menial tasks. These include removing spaces, commas, and other unnecessary characters that might have crept into your code.

You will also need to remove whatever code comments you have written, any unnecessary formatting, and unused code. 

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But how will you do it, and what’s the best way of going about it? Well, when we searched around for solutions, we found out that Google recommends using CSSNano and UglifyJS. So, utilise these solutions!

3. Reduce redirects

Redirects increase the time. Reducing them will work best for you.

Whenever clicking on a page redirects the user from one webpage to another one, some time is lost. This is because there is time that is spent processing the request and for the HTTP request-response cycle to complete.

A typical redirect cycle from a mobile phone would appear something like this:

Redirect.com → www.redirect.com → m.redirect.com → m.redirect.com/home

You see, there are two additional redirects here; if you could focus on removing them, then there is a good probability that your Core Web Vitals would improve. And this is something that you should generally practice, too, as part of good web hygiene. 

4. Remove render-blocking JavaScript

Any script that blocks rendering should be removed because if your browser encounters it, it will have to restart rendering. 

To render a page, browsers need to do some work. They must build something called a DOM tree. This is done by parsing HTML. When this whole process is going on, any unwanted script encountered will reset the whole process all over again.

For best practice, we again go back to the good people at Google. They suggest that you should avoid and minimize the use of blocking JavaScript as much as possible.

5. Leverage browser caching

The more data your browser caches, the easier and quicker it is to load the website, as most of the information is stored on the device itself.

What is Caching? A simple example will explain its benefits to you. Let’s say you’ve shifted into a new locality and need to buy 2 litres of milk daily from a certain grocer. You go there every day, and eventually, the grocer remembers your face and packs your daily order before you even arrive. 

Web-Browsers can cache an immense amount of vast information, such as stylesheets, images, and JavaScript files. This helps the browser by extinguishing the need to reload the entire page when a user returns to the site. 

By using tools like YSlow, you can check whether you already have an expiration date set for your cache. You can manipulate this setting as per your need and select an expiration date that is feasible for you. If your site design is still under construction or changes frequently, you can alter it for a month. Otherwise, a year is more than enough in most cases.

6. Use a content distribution network

CDNs store copies of most accessed data on multiple servers across the globe. Whenever a user requests data, the nearest CDN node delivers it. 

Leveraging CDNs is your key to fast content for your users. Ever wondered how YouTube works? Can a data centre somewhere in California provide for all the world’s need for YouTube fast enough? Probably not, and YouTube realizes this. 

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That’s why they have built Content Distribution Networks (CDN) all over the globe to rapidly transfer copies of their data to the user. 

You should also subscribe to a similar service that will help you establish an efficient CDN network. 

7. Optimize Images

PNGs work the best for graphics, and JPEG is the best for images. Make sure they’re in these two formats and have a smaller size.

Like code, you need to optimize your images too. The best software for these purposes is Photoshop. But you can also use CSS sprites.

Through CSS sprites, you will be able to create a template for images that you frequently use on your site. These include elements like buttons and icons.

The software will combine the images into one large image. This image will load all at once. Resulting in fewer HTTP requests. And what’s more, is that only the sections that you want to show will be displayed. 

What is a Page Speed Test?

Page Speed Test is a measure of how fast your website and its content loads.

It is the amount of time it generally takes for a request by a browser for a page to be processed, i.e., for the processing, rendering of the content to find, and the final full display to come.  

There are a lot of factors that will affect your Page Speed Test. These include the operating system being run on both ends, the speed of your page for the given quantity of data, the quality and quantity of data on the site, the distance that the data must travel, the connection type being used, the device, and the browser. 

It is generally defined in two ways:

  1. Page Load Time: It is the time it takes to completely load all the content on a given website. 
  2. Time to First Byte: This measure is the time it takes for your browser to receive the first byte of information from the web server. 

How Does the Page Speed Test Work?

The Page Speed Test works by incorporating three elements and giving a final score. These are:

  1. CrUX – (Chrome User Experience Report)
  2. First Contentful Paint (FCP)
  3. DOMContentLoaded (DCL)

CrUX – (Chrome User Experience Report)

The Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX) is a report generated by Google that gives user experience metrics. This report shows how any normal user would experience a popular website.  

First Contentful Paint (FCP)

First Contentful Paint (FCP) is one of the six metrics used in the performance section of a lighthouse report. FCP is a measure of the time it takes any browser to render the first element of DOM content. This is after a user navigates to the given webpage. 

The following things, as per Google, are included in your DOM content for FCP calculation: Images, non-white <canvas> elements, and SVGs; anything which is not inside the iframe is not included.

DOMContentLoaded (DCL)

The DOMContentLoaded is an event that starts when an HTML document is completely parsed. It also needs all deferred scripts (<script defer src=”…”> and <script type=”module”>) to have been downloaded and executed.  

DOMContentLoaded is unrelated to images, subframes, and async scripts. Therefore, it doesn’t wait for them to finish loading.

Why Does the Page Speed Test Matter?

How long will you wait for your product in a queue? It depends on what the product is, right? If it is fast-moving consumer goods, then you won’t want to wait for long because that is not how fast-moving consumer goods work.

Similarly, if it takes your website more than a few milliseconds to load, then you’re bleeding revenue in this 5G era. Your visitors would move to faster, quicker, and more efficient alternatives rather than your website. 

Page speed has a massive influence on the perception of your business. It shows how much time and effort you’ve put into setting up your business and how serious you are about it.

How Does Website Hosting Affect Page Speed?

Web hosts are the lifeblood of any website. They’re the structure behind every good website service. Therefore, choosing a hosting service that does justice to your website performance is immensely critical. It directly affects how a user experiences your website. 

When choosing a Web Hosting solution, you’ll need to consider your options based on the type of content and expected traffic. In any case, you have the following options to consider.

1. Shared web hosting

Shared Web Hosting is the cheapest option available on the market. This means that your website will share its physical server with many other websites. This comes with a big drawback, though, you usually do not know what other websites are sharing your server.

Therefore, if for some reason, activity on the other websites goes up, then that would consume bandwidth and resources that are taken away from your site. This might eventually slow down your performance.

2. Virtual private servers

Through a Virtual Private Server, you effectively get your own server. This solution is different from shared web hosting in the way that your site might be on the same server as other sites, but they do not share the same operating system. Therefore, your website will not experience any issues in terms of loading due to the impact of other sites, even though they are essentially on the same server.

3. Cloud hosting

Cloud Hosting takes virtual web hosting up a level. Here your site will exist on multiple servers instead of one. This ensures that your site has more uptime and does not get impacted when there is a sudden increase in web traffic. Being on multiple servers ensures greater flexibility and reliability. 

4. Dedicated hosting

Dedicated hosting is the most expensive option. As the name suggests, in dedicated hosting you will have one or more servers all to yourself. You will have control over all the hosting functionalities and can even get a manager. 

Now that the only site on the server is yours, you can rest assured that you can use it as much as you want with no worries about the bandwidth. You have all the bandwidth to yourself.

So, the best practice would be…

Ultimately, best practice would be to hire an SEO professional. An expert is someone who can analyze your website and make a report of the metrics that relate to User Experience. They will have the technical skills and know-how. Plus, an expert can help with decision-making. 

Every website needs an expert on the team that can inform management about the best web hosting/coding solutions, and this includes how to improve your Page Speed and other scores on Google’s Core Web Vitals.