Google Core Web Vitals Update Checklist 2023

Google Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics designed to measure the key aspects of user experience on a web page. These metrics are considered important ranking factors for Google Search, and all websites must meet the recommended thresholds.

Google Core Web Vitals November 2023 Update is completed on 28 Nov 2023. [Check The Status of All Updates]

What are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics that measure the performance of a web page from the user’s perspective. They are designed to help site owners understand how well their pages are loading, interactively, and visually stable. Google has stated that Core Web Vitals will be a factor in its search rankings, so site owners need to optimize their pages for these metrics.

The three Core Web Vitals are:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This metric measures the time it takes for the largest contentful element on a page to load. A good LCP is less than 2.5 seconds.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) Core Web Vitals
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) Core Web Vitals

First Input Delay (FID): This metric measures the time it takes for a user’s first interaction with a page to be responded to. A good FID is less than 100 milliseconds.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This metric measures the amount of unexpected layout shift that occurs on a page. A good CLS is less than 0.1.

Site owners can use various tools to measure their Core Web Vitals. Some of the most popular tools include:

  • PageSpeed Insights
  • WebPageTest
  • Lighthouse

Once you have measured your Core Web Vitals, you can take steps to improve them. Some of the things you can do include:

  • Optimize your images
  • Use a content delivery network (CDN)
  • Minify your CSS and JavaScript
  • Lazy load your images

By optimizing your Core Web Vitals, you can improve the user experience of your website and potentially boost your search rankings.

The Core Web Vitals are:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This metric measures how long it takes for the largest content element on a page to load. A good LCP score is less than 2.5 seconds.
  • First Input Delay (FID): This metric measures how long a user can interact with a page after loading it. A good FID score is less than 100 milliseconds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This metric measures the number of unexpected layout shifts occurring on a page. A good CLS score is less than 0.1.

Why are Core Web Vitals important?

Core Web Vitals are important for several reasons:

They provide a clear and concise way to measure the overall performance of a web page. This can be helpful for website owners to identify areas where their pages need improvement.

They are based on real-world user data. This means they reflect how users experience a page rather than just how it performs in a lab environment.

Google uses them in its search rankings. This means that websites with good Core Web Vitals are more likely to rank higher in search results.

They are important for providing a good user experience. Users are more likely to stay on a page and engage with it if it loads quickly, is responsive, and is visually stable.

Before you start:

  • Make sure you have a Google Search Console account.
  • Make sure you have a website that is mobile-friendly.
  • Make sure you have a responsive website.
  • Make sure you have a fast website.
  • Make sure you have a website that is easy to use.

Google Core Web Vitals Update Checklist 2023

This checklist will help you ensure that your website is meeting the recommended thresholds for the Core Web Vitals.

Google Core Web Vitals Update Checklist 2023

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is a Core Web Vitals metric that measures the time it takes for the largest content element (image or text block) to become visible within the viewport.

It is a crucial factor in determining the perceived loading performance of a web page. A fast LCP indicates that the page loads quickly and provides a good user experience.

Why is LCP important?

LCP is important because it directly impacts user perception of page loading speed. When users land on a page with a slow LCP, they may feel frustrated and impatient, leading to increased bounce rates and decreased engagement.

Additionally, Google considers LCP a ranking factor in its search algorithm, meaning a slow LCP can negatively impact a website’s search engine visibility.

What are the thresholds for LCP?

Google has defined three thresholds for LCP:

  • Good: LCP of 2.5 seconds or less
  • Needs improvement: LCP between 2.5 and 4 seconds
  • Poor: LCP above 4 seconds

How do we identify and fix LCP issues?

To identify and fix LCP issues, you can use various tools and techniques:

PageSpeed Insights: This Google tool provides detailed LCP analysis and recommendations for improvement.

Chrome DevTools: Chrome DevTools’ Performance panel allows you to visualize the LCP timings and identify the specific element causing the delay.

Third-party tools: Several third-party tools, such as WebPageTest and GTmetrix, offer comprehensive LCP analysis and optimization suggestions.

Common LCP issues and solutions

Large images: Optimize images by reducing their file size without compromising quality. Use appropriate image formats (JPEG, PNG, WebP) based on content.

Third-party scripts: Minimize unnecessary third-party scripts, as they can block rendering of the main content.

Lazy loading: Implement lazy loading for images and other non-critical content to defer their loading until they are visible in the viewport.

Text rendering: Ensure that font files are optimized and served efficiently to avoid delays in text rendering.

Server response time: Optimize server response time to reduce the initial HTML document’s load time.

Content delivery networks (CDNs): Utilize CDNs to distribute content from geographically dispersed servers, reducing latency and improving load times for users worldwide.

Recommended plugins for LCP optimization

EWWW Image Optimizer: This plugin automatically optimizes images without compromising quality.

Autoptimize: This plugin optimizes various aspects of website performance, including lazy loading, minification, and caching.

WP-Rocket: WP-Rocket is a comprehensive caching plugin that can significantly improve page load times and LCP performance.

Smush: Smush is another popular image optimization plugin that offers advanced features like lossless compression and WebP conversion.

SpeedCurve: SpeedCurve is a premium optimization plugin that provides a comprehensive suite of tools for improving page load times and LCP.

Optimizing the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is crucial for providing a positive user experience and ensuring your website meets Google’s Core Web Vitals standards.

Identifying and addressing LCP issues can improve your website’s loading speed, engagement, and search engine ranking.

First Input Delay (FID) for interactivity

First Input Delay (FID) is a Core Web Vitals metric that measures the time it takes for a web page to respond to the first user interaction, such as clicking a button or tapping on a link. A fast FID indicates that the page is responsive and provides a seamless user experience. Conversely, a slow FID can lead to frustration and abandonment, negatively impacting user engagement and conversion rates.

Why is FID important?

FID is essential because it directly impacts user perception of a website’s interactivity. Users expect an immediate response When they click or tap on an element. A slow FID suggests the page is unresponsive and can lead to users abandoning the site altogether. Moreover, Google considers FID a ranking factor in its search algorithm, meaning a slow FID can negatively impact a website’s search engine visibility.

What are the thresholds for FID?

Google has defined three thresholds for FID:

  • Good: FID of 100 milliseconds or less
  • Needs improvement: FID between 100 and 300 milliseconds
  • Poor: FID above 300 milliseconds

How do we identify and fix FID issues?

To identify and fix FID issues, you can use various tools and techniques:

PageSpeed Insights: This Google tool provides detailed FID analysis and recommendations for improvement.

Chrome DevTools: Chrome DevTools’ Performance panel allows you to visualize the FID timings and identify the specific elements causing the delay.

Third-party tools: Several third-party tools, such as WebPageTest and GTmetrix, offer comprehensive FID analysis and optimization suggestions.

Common FID issues and solutions

JavaScript execution: Large or unoptimized JavaScript files can block the main thread, preventing the browser from responding to user interactions. Optimize JavaScript by minifying, deferring, or splitting it into smaller chunks.

Third-party scripts: Minimize unnecessary third-party scripts, which can block the main thread and contribute to FID.

Browser rendering overhead: Excessive browser rendering can lead to delays in responding to user interactions. Optimize CSS and use techniques like critical rendering paths to reduce rendering overhead.

Network latency: High latency can increase the time it takes for user interactions to reach the server and for responses to return. Utilize content delivery networks (CDNs) to reduce latency for users worldwide.

Device performance: User device performance can also impact FID. Ensure that your website is optimized for different device capabilities and network conditions.

Recommended plugins for FID optimization

Asset CleanUp: This plugin helps identify and eliminate unused CSS and JavaScript files that can contribute to FID.

Hummingbird: Hummingbird is a performance optimization plugin with features like lazy loading, minification, and caching to improve FID.

Flying Scripts: Flying Scripts allows you to defer the loading of non-critical JavaScript files until needed, improving FID by reducing main thread blocking.

WP Rocket: WP Rocket is a comprehensive caching plugin that can significantly improve page load times and FID performance by caching static resources, optimizing code, and minimizing HTTP requests.

Perfmatters: Perfmatters offers a range of performance optimization features to improve FID, including lazy loading, deferring scripts, and database optimization.

Optimizing First Input Delay (FID) ensures a responsive and engaging user experience.

Addressing FID issues can improve user satisfaction, reduce bounce rates, and enhance your website’s search engine ranking. Remember, a fast and responsive website is key to achieving digital success.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) for visual stability

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is a Core Web Vitals metric that measures the total sum of all unexpected layout shifts that occur on a web page. These shifts happen when visible page elements move or change position after loading the page, disrupting the user’s reading experience and potentially causing them to click on the wrong element.

Why is CLS important?

CLS is important because it directly impacts user perception of a website’s visual stability. Unexpected layout shifts can frustrate and disorientate users, leading to increased bounce rates and decreased engagement. Moreover, in its search algorithm, Google considers CLS a ranking factor, meaning a high CLS score can negatively impact a website’s search engine visibility.

What are the thresholds for CLS?

Google has defined three thresholds for CLS:

  • Good: CLS of 0.1 or less
  • Needs improvement: CLS between 0.1 and 0.25
  • Poor: CLS above 0.25

How do we identify and fix CLS issues?

To identify and fix CLS issues, you can use various tools and techniques:

PageSpeed Insights: This Google tool provides detailed CLS analysis and recommendations for improvement.

Chrome DevTools: Chrome DevTools’ Layout Instability API allows you to visualize layout shifts and identify the specific elements causing them.

Third-party tools: Several third-party tools, such as WebPageTest and GTmetrix, offer comprehensive CLS analysis and optimization suggestions.

Common CLS issues and solutions

Late-loading content: Avoid inserting content into the viewport after loading the page, as this can cause unexpected shifts.

Dynamic ad placements: Ensure that ad placements are allocated adequate space and don’t overlap with existing content.

Fixed-position elements: Use them cautiously, as they can cause layout shifts when they appear or disappear.

Animation and transitions: Avoid using excessive or jarring animations and transitions, as they can disrupt the user’s reading flow.

Responsive design: Implement responsive design principles to maintain the layout across different screen sizes and devices.

Recommended plugins for CLS optimization

  1. EWWW Image Optimizer: Optimize images to reduce their file size and minimize the risk of layout shifts caused by image loading.

  2. Autoptimize: Optimize CSS and JavaScript files to improve page load times and reduce the likelihood of layout shifts.

  3. WP-Rocket: Use WP-Rocket’s caching and preloading features to ensure page elements load quickly and smoothly, minimizing CLS.

  4. Smush: Smush offers advanced image optimization options, including lossless compression and WebP conversion, to reduce image sizes and prevent layout shifts.

  5. SpeedCurve: SpeedCurve provides a comprehensive set of tools for optimizing CLS, including image optimization, lazy loading, and critical rendering path optimization.

Optimizing Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is crucial for providing a visually stable and enjoyable user experience.

By addressiAddressing, this can increase user satisfaction, reduce bounce rates, and enhance your website’s search engine ranking. Remember, a visually stable and responsive website is essential for achieving digital success.

Tips for Improving Your Core Web Vitals

Improving your Core Web Vitals (LCP, FID, CLS) is crucial for providing a positive user experience and ensuring your website meets Google’s search engine ranking criteria. Here are some comprehensive tips for optimizing your Core Web Vitals:

1. Optimize Images

Images are often the largest contributor to page size, so optimizing them can significantly improve LCP and page load times. Use appropriate image formats (JPEG, PNG, WebP), compress images without compromising quality, and consider using lazy loading to defer loading of non-critical images until they are visible in the viewport.

2. Minimize JavaScript Execution

JavaScript execution can block the main thread, preventing the browser from responding to user interactions and contributing to FID. Minimize JavaScript by deferring or splitting it into smaller chunks, and consider using critical rendering path (CRP) optimization to load only the essential JavaScript needed for initial page rendering.

3. Eliminate Render-Blocking Resources

Render-blocking resources, such as CSS and JavaScript files, can delay the rendering of the main content, impacting LCP. Minimize render-blocking resources by minifying and inlining CSS, deferring non-critical JavaScript, and preloading techniques to load critical resources early.

4. Implement Lazy Loading

Lazy loading is a technique that defers loading of non-critical resources, such as images and videos, until they are visible in the viewport. This can significantly improve LCP and page load times, especially on slower connections.

5. Optimize Server Response Time

Server response time (TTFB) is the time it takes to respond to a user’s request. A slow TTFB can delay the initial rendering of the page, impacting LCP. Optimize server-side scripts, reduce database queries, and consider using a content delivery network (CDN) to improve server response times.

6. Utilize Browser Caching

Browser caching stores static resources, such as images, CSS, and JavaScript files, locally on the user’s device. This can significantly reduce the time it takes to load these resources on subsequent visits, improving LCP and overall page load times. Implement effective caching strategies to leverage browser caching capabilities.

7. Optimize Fonts

Fonts can also contribute to page size and affect LCP. Use optimized font formats (WOFF2, WOFF, EOT) and only load the fonts used on the page. Consider using font embedding techniques like @font-face to optimize font delivery.

8. Minimize Third-party Scripts

Third-party scripts, such as analytics and advertising trackers, can add unnecessary weight to the page and slow down loading times. Use only essential third-party scripts and consider using lightweight alternatives where possible.

9. Stabilize Layouts

Unexpected layout shifts can disrupt the user experience and negatively impact CLS. Use appropriate dimensions for images and embeds, avoid dynamic ad placements that cause layout shifts, and minimize using fixed-position elements that can overlap with other content.

10. Monitor and Test Regularly

Regularly monitor your Core Web Vitals performance using tools like PageSpeed Insights, Chrome DevTools, and third-party analytics platforms. Conduct A/B testing to evaluate the impact of optimization changes and identify further areas for improvement.

Conclusion

Following the checklist in this article ensures that your website meets the recommended Core Web Vitals thresholds. This will help to improve your website’s user experience and ranking in Google Search.

Google Core Web Vitals Update Checklist FAQs

Why are Core Web Vitals important?

Core Web Vitals are important because they can affect a website’s search ranking. Google has stated that Core Web Vitals will become a ranking factor in 2023. This means websites with good Core Web Vitals rank higher in search results than those with poor Core Web Vitals.

How can I measure my Core Web Vitals?

You can measure your Core Web Vitals using several tools, such as Google Search Console, PageSpeed Insights, and Lighthouse.

What is the most important Core Web Vital?

The Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is the most important Core Web Vital. This is because LCP measures how long it takes for the largest content element on a page to load. A slow LCP can lead to a bounce rate and negatively impact your website’s ranking in Google Search.

How can I track my Core Web Vitals scores?

There are several performance monitoring tools that you can use to track your Core Web Vitals scores. Some popular options include PageSpeed Insights, WebPageTest, and GTmetrix.

How can I improve my Core Web Vitals scores?

You can do several things to improve your Core Web Vitals scores. Some of the most effective methods include:

  • Using a CDN to optimize document and resource TTFB.
  • Avoiding or breaking up long tasks.
  • Setting explicit sizes on any content loaded from the page.
  • Using a caching plugin to improve page load times.
  • Minifying your CSS and JavaScript files.
  • Optimizing your images.

How often should I check my Core Web Vitals scores?

You should regularly check your Core Web Vitals scores to ensure they meet the recommended thresholds. A good rule of thumb is to check your scores once a month.

What are the penalties for not meeting the Core Web Vitals thresholds?

There are no direct penalties for not meeting the Core Web Vitals thresholds. However, websites with poor Core Web Vitals scores may rank lower in Google Search.

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