Are Core Web Vitals A Ranking Factor?

by | Dec 6, 2023 | Digital Marketing, SEO

This article discusses the impact of Core Web Vitals on organic search rankings. Core Web Vitals are metrics that measure the page experience signals to ensure an engaging user experience for search users. The Core Web Vital metrics include Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). These metrics reflect different aspects of the user experience, such as loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability.

In March 2024, Interaction to Next Paint (INP) will replace FID as a Core Web Vitals metric. INP measures a page’s overall responsiveness to user interactions by observing the latency of all click, tap, and keyboard interactions throughout a user’s visit to a page. An INP of 200 milliseconds or lower indicates good responsiveness, while anything above this needs improvement.

The article presents evidence to support the idea that Core Web Vitals are a ranking factor in Google search results. In 2020, Google announced that Core Web Vitals would be incorporated into the page experience metrics as a new ranking signal. Additionally, Google’s engineer and search advocate confirmed that while Core Web Vitals affect rankings, relevance also plays a strong role. Websites that improve from “needs improvement” to “good” may see ranking improvements, but minor speed improvements for already good websites may not lead to ranking changes.

Furthermore, in September 2022, it was confirmed that Google uses real user metrics for core web vitals in the page experience ranking factor. However, in April 2023, Google simplified its guidance, stating that while maintaining strong Core Web Vitals is important for a good user experience, improving one or more metrics does not guarantee better rankings. Page experience continues to be a ranking factor but is evaluated holistically by Google’s core ranking systems rather than as a single “page experience signal.”

The article concludes that Core Web Vitals are indeed a confirmed ranking factor, contributing to page experience evaluations and having an effect within the helpful content ranking system. It is recommended to focus on improving LCP, FID, CLS, and the upcoming INP to enhance users’ experience and potentially improve rankings in search results. Overall, the article provides valuable insights into the relationship between Core Web Vitals and organic search rankings, highlighting the importance of these metrics for website performance and user experience.

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