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Google Search Console, commonly known as GSC, gives you insight into how Google sees your site’s performance in search results. While it does offer a lot of data about your site’s performance, one thing it doesn’t tell you is how your site actually ranks in the SERPs. Google’s Search Console has a variety of reports and metrics that web admins can use to improve their websites. We’ll offer some advice on how to use web vitals to improve your site performance. If you’re using Search Console, you should take advantage of all the Google search console metrics available to you!
Every website owner needs to know what web vitals are. As a website owner, you want your users to have a great experience on your site. In 2015, Google Search Console added three new reports—Speed, Mobile Usability, and Accessibility—to improve performance across devices, and Core Web Vitals. These reports provide critical insight into areas that can affect user experience on mobile devices.
Speed is the fastest way to get visitors from Google, which can be one of the best paths to a successful business. You might be surprised at just how easy it is to have the right tools in place. These core web vitals are key:
Google introduced the Mobile Usability section in their Search Console. This helps ensure your website is mobile-friendly. Among other important things, you can use this section to see how the following Core Web Vitals may affect your SEO score. It also reveals if your site is set up for a mobile screen, has an AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) version of the content, or uses an HTTPS connection.
A quick note on the last one: according to Google, having an HTTPS connection will make it easier for them to serve accurate ranking data. This is because they can provide more accurate data on crawl errors when connected through SSL encryption.
This information isn't only helpful as a general overview of where you stand in web health; it's essential knowledge if you have been looking into improving your ranking.
Accessibility in Core web vitals includes:
This is often one of those areas where people don't think about how changing one thing can have significant impacts over time. In this case, slower loading times mean more people bounce from your site rather than convert into customers.
Your time to download will depend on various factors, including server locations, content delivery networks (CDNs), hosting company, type of connection being used (e.g., Wi-Fi vs. wired), distance from the server location, and more.
Google's tool is only as accurate as what it reads from your website. There's always room for error in our internet browsing world, so Google cautions that if your home page loads within 3 seconds most of the time, then there are probably no significant problems with accessibility on your homepage.
You'll see potential issues with images, content, or interactive elements such as forms and drop-down menus that may not work correctly on screen readers or other assistive technologies. Each report is available in the Pages tab of the Site menu under Site Performance. You can then click on each report to learn more about what it contains and how it can help you make improvements to your site's overall performance. The Accessibility page also displays an error message when Google detects an issue that might prevent someone with a disability from accessing your site.
You will also find Common UX Issues at the bottom of this page which includes actionable recommendations for fixing these common problems identified by web vitals. For example, one common issue is the mobile viewport. When designing webpages, some designers assume that people will always view them through an active browser, and their viewport will always match its width to the width of their device's screen. But modern browsers allow users to change the size of their browser window, so it matches what they see on their computer monitor instead of their phone or tablet's display.
Some of the Top Core Web vitals that are commonly used are listed below, along with ways to improve them effectively:
The Largest Contentful Paint is an important Google Web Vitals Metric. 'sIt the percentage of content that appears on your page relative to its size. You can calculate this by dividing the bytes by bytes that are HTML or text. This metric lets you see if you have too much blank space on your pages.
If there is blank space, readers might think you have nothing of interest to say, discouraging them from reading your site. Too many images and not enough text can also lead to low LCPs.
One way to keep an eye on this is by calculating the percentages of Text, Images, and Other sections. If the Text percentage dips below 50%, then you should look at what changes need to be made so that your site has more written content. However, while the LCP may not be very high, other metrics like Time to First Byte (TTFB) may show better performance. TTFB is how long it takes for your browser to receive a response from the server. The shorter this time, the better your site performs in speed; therefore, Google recommends having TTFB less than 500 milliseconds.
First Input Delay (FID) is the number of milliseconds it takes for a user's input to reach the browser after being typed. It indicates how responsive your site is - the lower, the better. For example, anything below 300ms means that input lag is less than one-fifth of a second - quick enough for your users not to notice it! Therefore, we recommend aiming for an FID under 300ms. Anything over 500ms can result in high bounce rates and frustrating user experiences. There are many reasons why this might happen, but Google Search Console provides insight into what’s happening on your site by looking at the data.
There are two essential steps to Improve First Input Delay (FID):
You can control which parts of your website get crawled by adding a Robots.txt file to your root directory (typically where your index file is). To do so, create a text file named robots.txt and save it at the root directory of your website without any extension such as .txt/.htm/.html/.php/.jpg/.gif, etc., then open it up in Notepad or TextEdit, select all contents and paste them inside the file itself and then save it again. If you have added multiple pages or directories to exclude from crawling, ensure they don't overlap, as different parts may be excluded multiple times. The following examples include files you want to exclude from crawling:
- Images - /images/*
- CSS Files - /css/*
- Embedded Fonts - /*font* - PDF Files - /*pdf*/
- Flash Files - /*swf*/
A CLS is calculated by comparing a website's rankings on Google from week to week. It can be tracked over time to see how the site's performance changes. The following are core web vitals followed in Google Search ConsoleS: Page Loading Time, Content Size, Impressions, Visits, and Click Through Rate.
Steps to Improve CLS:
The Core Web Vitals by Google Search Console are ten Google services that all website owners should use to optimize their site, stay on top of what visitors are saying about them online, or keep tabs on who’s visiting their site. One way to use the core web vitals is to look at your page speed scores. If you have a high score, it may be time to restructure your design. Maybe try designing with responsive media in mind. Perhaps some of your graphics are too heavy and will slow down your load times. Perhaps some of the content on your pages could be loaded asynchronously instead but still displayed in the browser if it's available (i.e., no need to wait for an image to load). There can be several factors, but to keep your Web vitals in shape, follow this article and look at essential factors to stabilize Top Web Vitals in Search Console.