In today’s fast-paced digital world, the success of your website depends on how quickly users can access and interact with it. With the rising popularity of mobile devices, page speed and user experience have become critical factors in determining a website’s search engine ranking.
To help you improve the performance of your website, Google has introduced Core Web Vitals. These are a set of metrics that measure how quickly a page loads and how well it responds to user input. In this article, we’ll discuss what Core Web Vitals are and give you actionable tips for mastering them.
Understanding Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals consist of three specific metrics that Google considers essential for a good user experience – Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
Let’s explore these metrics in more detail:
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): The time it takes for the largest element on a page to load. This is typically an image or video.
FID: The time it takes for a user to interact with the page. This could be clicking a button or typing something into a form.
CLS: The visual stability of a page. If elements on a page move around as it loads, this metric will be negatively impacted.
Google has set thresholds for each of these metrics that websites should aim to meet or exceed. In order to achieve optimal performance, you should aim for an LCP of 2.5 seconds or less, an FID of 100 milliseconds or less, and a CLS of 0.1 or less.
Optimizing for LCP
The first step in optimizing your website for Core Web Vitals is to improve your LCP score. Here are some tips to help you get started:
1. Optimize images – Large, unoptimized images can significantly slow down your website. To optimize images, you can use compression tools like TinyPNG or WP Smush.
4. Use lazy loading – Lazy loading is a technique that delays the loading of non-critical resources, such as images or videos, until they’re needed. This can significantly improve LCP scores.
For an example of a website that has optimized for LCP, take a look at Hubspot. Their homepage has an LCP of 1.9 seconds and uses crisp, optimized images to achieve a fast load time.
Optimizing for FID
Once you’ve optimized for LCP, you can focus on improving your FID score. Here are some tips to help you get started:
3. Use a faster server – A slow server can significantly impact FID. If you’re experiencing slow server response times, consider switching to a faster server provider.
4. Minimize third-party scripts – Third-party scripts (for example, ads and social media widgets) can significantly slow down FID. To minimize their impact, you can reduce the number of third-party scripts on your website or use asynchronous loading.
Optimizing for CLS
The final piece of the puzzle is optimizing for CLS. Here are some tips to help you get started:
1. Reserve space for images and videos – One of the most common causes of layout shifts is images and videos that load after the rest of the content. To prevent this, you can reserve space for images and videos in your HTML code.
2. Set dimensions for media files – By setting dimensions for images, videos, and other media files, you can prevent them from causing layout shifts when they load.
3. Use appropriate CSS values – CSS properties such as position and width can affect the layout of your website. Using appropriate CSS values can help prevent unwanted layout shifts.
4. Test for mobile devices – Mobile devices have smaller screens, so it’s important to test your website on these devices to ensure that it’s optimized for mobile users.
For an example of a website that has optimized for CLS, take a look at Nike. Their website has a CLS of 0.05, indicating that the website is stable and optimized for a great user experience.
By optimizing for Core Web Vitals, you can improve the performance of your website, increase user engagement, and boost your search engine rankings. While these metrics might seem intimidating at first, following these tips can help you achieve optimal performance.
Remember, Core Web Vitals are just one aspect of website performance. Continuously monitoring and improving other factors like server response times, content, and user experience is also important for a great website.