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Google’s mission is to make every experience as relevant and effective as possible. Relevance is becoming increasingly important. Google’s search results page has experienced so many transformations for a reason. What you see now is already a lot of information on the search results page itself. Photos, videos, Google Shopping, FAQ and more. Are you ready for the Google Page Experience update that will be rolled out from mid-June 2021?

With the Google Page Experience update, Google wants to increase the quality of websites shown in the search results, so that you as a visitor have the most positive experience possible. It is of course difficult to express the quality of websites in statistics, but with the Google Page Experience update, a step has been taken. The Page functionality section has been added to Google Search Console, where you can see how well your website scores on LCP, FID and CLS.

Google will also update the Top Stories Carousel in this update to include all news content, an AMP badge will no longer be shown on AMP pages and the Google News app will receive various updates.

This update will be rolled out approximately in June/July, so prepare your website as best you can! Because despite the fact that the expected impact is low, it can have consequences for your positions on keywords with a lot of competition. In this article I will take a closer look at the Google Web Vitals, because you can use this yourself for your website.

Before we start; be sure to check your Google Search Console account. Nowadays you will find the Page functionality section in the main menu. Here you will find the parts that fall under the Google Web Vitals: LCP, FID and CLS. We will elaborate on these statistics in this article.

What is the impact of the Google Web Vitals Update?

It is an update from Google, so of course it can have consequences for the positions of your pages in the search engine. It is still unclear how big the consequences will be: on the one hand it can have major effects in the top results, but on the other hand the effect is expected to be limited. Either way, the key to your website’s SEO remains relevant content. That is still rewarded with a good position.

And yet the update is not unimportant, because especially for keywords with a lot of search volume and competition, the update can make the difference between place 1 or place 2 in the search results. My advice? Check if your most important pages are ready for the update.

What is the Google Web Vitals Update?

The Google Web Vitals are 3 factors that Google will use as a quality requirement for your website. These 3 factors are the Google Web Vitals:

  • LCP (Largest Contentful Paint)
  • FID (First Input Delay)
  • CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift)

These terms do not mean much in themselves, so let me explain them one by one.

What is LCP?

LCP stands for Largest Contentful Paint. The LCP indicates how quickly the largest image or text block is visible in the part that your visitor sees in your website. It answers the question, “How long does it take for the largest piece of content for the visitor to see to load?” A good score is a maximum of 2.5 seconds.

Google update LCP score

LCP and FCP (First Contentful Paint)

FCP does not take into account all the elements that must be loaded on a web page. That is why LCP gives a much better indication of what the user experience is. It maps out how long it takes for the largest content block to load, while the FCP maps out how long it takes for any element to load.

The image below clearly shows that the FCP actually has no value for the visitor. This does not properly indicate that the page has loaded. However, with the LCP you see that the LCP is triggered by the largest block. In this case a paragraph of text that is shown before the images and the logo. This is because in this case the images themselves are smaller than the paragraph of text.

What is FID?

FID stands for First Input Delay. With FID you can measure how quickly visitors get an impression of your website. The statistic focuses on interactivity and responsiveness. That’s a bit vague, but what the stat shows is the time between when a user interacts with your page and when the browser actually processes it. When a link, button or something else is used in your website, it is measured how long it takes the browser to actually process it. Long story short: the time between your click and when the browser processes it.

To generate a good score, you need to take a critical look at the processes your website goes through as soon as a page is loaded. Can this be done faster? A good score is a maximum of 100 ms.

Google update FID score

What is CLS?

CLS stands for Cumulative Layout Shift. And this is a pretty tricky one to explain. CLS measures the sum of all individual layout shift scores for any unexpected layout shift that occurs throughout the life of the page. The video below actually illustrates what this means much better.

The most common causes for a bad CLS are as follows:

  • Images without dimensions
  • Ads, embedded content and iframes without dimensions.
  • Dynamic content that is inserted.

The CLS score is calculated as follows: impact fraction x distance fraction.

The impact fraction measures how unstable elements impact between two frames in your viewport. What percentage does the element take up in your viewport? As an example we take a score of 75%, so a score of 0.75.

The distance fraction measures how unstable elements move on the screen (say you have 100 pixels and the element moves 25 pixels, the score is 0.25.)

The score in this case is 0.75 * 0.25 = 0.1875.

This is a fairly technical story, so be sure to contact your web builder in this case. Often a front-end developer knows exactly what is needed!

Google update CLS score

Why is this important for your website?

Let go of the fact that you have to do this to maintain or improve Google positions and put yourself in the shoes of your visitor. Of course they want a very pleasant experience on a website . It is a great source of annoyance when you visit a site that is slow, weird or not working. And face it : you know better than anyone how annoying a malfunctioning website is and what frustrations this causes. So don’t do that to your visitors.

Also, don’t wait until you hear that Google is rolling out the update, because the faster you get this done, the longer you and your visitors will enjoy it. Ultimately, you do it for your visitor.

How do you see which scores your website has?

There are several ways to find out:

– Via the Google Pagespeed Test you quickly find out what your score is on LCP and CLS. In addition, you will of course see much more interesting data to improve your speed. As you know; the faster the better.

– In Google Search Console you can find the scores of all your web pages under the heading Site vitality. You can immediately see how many pages have good, fair and bad scores.

– There is another very cool way that shows the achieved scores based on data from visitors in Google Datastudio. It is a bit more technical to set up and it depends on the amount of visitors your website realizes whether this works for your website, but it is in any case useful to gain insight into the actual scores in the field of LCP, FID and CLS. There is no better source of data from your visitors.

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What are the most common adjustments to improve scores?

We have already reviewed and prepared several websites in preparation for the Google update that is coming. These are the most common activities that have mainly been carried out by our front-end developer:

  • Postponing the loading of images that are not immediately visible to the user. Think, for example, of icons for payment methods in the footer or images at the bottom of your blog. It is possible to set that these are only loaded when the visitor scrolls to them. This helps for a better LCP score.
  • The speed that the server delivers the page can possibly be optimized in the back-end of your website. For example, the back-end may be doing work that is not necessary or could be done more efficiently. Please use your programmers to take a closer look at this. This also contributes to a better LCP score.
  • Compress and minimize your images, text, Javascript and CSS. The less that needs to be loaded, the faster your website is. And of course this is also good for your LCP score.
  • To improve the CLS score, it is necessary to take a close look at your own website on different devices. Check carefully whether elements, such as the header image, jump during loading. This jumping should be avoided. You don’t want elements to jump while loading. By properly checking this and programming it in your site, you contribute to a good CLS score.
  • Does your website run certain scripts that take a long time to execute? Remove or optimize the unnecessary scripts in your website. A good example is, for example, a date picker. These are often quite complex components and you often only need them on your quote page or in your shopping cart process. It is then wise to split it off from your main script, so that the heavy script is only executed where it is really needed. These kinds of optimizations improve your FID scores.

What is useful to do now?

My advice is to check your Google Analytics: which pages receive the most SEO traffic and contribute to achieving your business goals? Then check the scores of these pages and tackle the pages that need it in the areas of CLS, FID and LCP.

And be sure to call in your web builder! The recommendations are quite technical in nature. They undoubtedly know how to implement the recommendations. And you want that, because the faster you optimize; the more pleasant for your visitor.