What Are Core Web Vitals?

What are Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals are three Page Experience metrics that tell Google what visitors get when they land on your page. For example, Core Web Vitals metrics enable Google to determine whether your website is loading fast enough to prevent people from bouncing. If it is not loading fast enough, you can face a penalty in terms of ranking.

Core Web Vitals consist of three specific page speed and user interaction measurements: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID) and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). Every Core Web Vital represents a distinct facet of user experience, and these are linked with loading interactivity and visual stability.

Core Web Vitals are the signals that Google considers when judging the overall user experience (UX) on a webpage. Over the years, Google has provided several different tools for web owners to measure their performance and improve their website visitors’ experience and recently, has added some new tools to measure the Core Web Vitals too. Google introduced the concept of Core Web Vitals as a way to streamline and simplify the search engine optimization (SEO) landscape for everyone.

What Influence Will Core Web Vitals Have on Search Results?

The impact will be, in a word, huge – specifically when Google’s Page Experience update starts rolling out in mid-June. The speed and interactivity of your page are the two most important factors that influence whether your website is aligned with Core Web Vitals and, thus, your position in Search results. If your page is too bulky and takes time to load, it will affect your ranking. 

It’s important to note that Core Web Vitals are strictly linked to the user experience and not the page’s actual content. In terms of SEO, Google’s Page Experience update can give you another opportunity to get ahead of your competitors – if you optimize for these metrics. Google is employing these new factors to ensure that the most helpful page appears at the top of Search results for any user’s query. 

From June 2021, Core Web Vitals will start influencing Google’s Search results, which will ultimately impact your website pages’ rankings. If your page is providing a great experience, it will rank higher. Google has also made it clear that all three Core Web vitals must be met with the minimum threshold to benefit your page with a good ranking.

Why Did Google Introduce Core Web Vitals?

The reason for the introduction of the Core Web Vitals is to enhance and improve the experience of users. Before this, websites concentrated on the accumulated score that showed up on PageSpeed Insights and GTMetrics. With Core Web Vitals, Google has introduced a check for the overall speed of the page and the individual user experience metrics, making sure that webmasters spend time improving the metrics that matter most to users instead of trying to please Google bots. Core Web Vitals have existed for many years, but only recently has Google improved their functioning and decided to make them hold more weight.

What Do Core Web Vitals Consist of?

Core Web Vitals consist of three important metrics which target the loading speed, interactivity and stability of the page. Google is targeting website owners to improve these three metrics and other page experience signals to enhance users’ experience. The three Core Web Vitals are listed below with a brief description.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

You might have encountered this metric sometime over the past few years while optimizing your website, especially when auditing the speed of the page. LCP measures how long it takes for the first piece of the document object model (DOM) to be rendered in a browser on your device.

This metric tells you how much time the largest piece of video, image or text took to appear on the screen. Google has linked it with the largest element – the one that would take the longest to load – to enhance the user experience on your page.

There are three measurements in the Largest Contentful Paint metric that website owners must know:

  • If the website page is taking 2.5 seconds or less for the largest element to appear on the screen, the speed of the page is great. 
  • If it takes 4 seconds or more, then the website needs drastic improvement.
  • If it is between 2.5 seconds and 4 seconds then a little work is needed to improve its functioning.

First Input Delay (FID)

Sometimes, you open up a website and then click on its menu, but it takes time to appear. Other times, you write a text in the search bar and nothing appears, and suddenly, the entire text shows up. This is the simplest example of First Input Delay, which is one of the metrics of Core Web Vitals.

Google wants website owners to address all these delay issues, which contribute to a bad user experience. Just like with LCP, websites will be graded on the timing threshold: The more time in the delay, the more improvement it will require.

Wondering how to get this right but Google’s standards? Google says web pages need to respond in less than 100ms to the user’s interaction. This is quicker than the average blink of an eye. Web pages that take longer than 300ms to respond cause delay interactions, and users might bounce off, which can degrade the website’s ranking.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

This is a new metric introduced by Google; however, the section of the page it targets is not new. This metric targets the visual stability of the web page, which is linked with layout shift delay. For example, let’s say you are reading a web page and suddenly a video or image appears, which disturbs your reading pattern. Now, because of this interruption, you are left trying to find where you were reading. It affects the visual stability of a web page when something unexpectedly loads. Google – and most users – consider this a bad user experience.

Just like LCP and FID, the CLS metric is measured by Google and you will quickly know if your website needs improvement. However, the calculation of this metric is a little complicated. It depends on the amount the content you were reading moved when the appearance of an image of the video popped up. The amount or fraction the content moved will be the value the web page needs to improve.

Why You Should Optimize for Core Web Vitals Now

The reason is simple: Google’s Page Experience update goes live in June 2021 and if you are not aligned with the Core Web Vitals you won’t be able to rank in the Search results post this update. This is the time for website owners to get excellent results on Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool and work on their technical SEO to enhance users’ experience. Google wants website owners to focus on the real user instead of Google’s bots. SEO is evolving to become more user-centric, and websites should pay attention to these metrics.

Optimize for Core Web Vitals in these next few weeks so that your website is ready for the change when the Page Experience update goes live. If the ranking of your website is negatively impacted, it will affect your revenue generation efforts.


Core Web Vitals exist to improve the UX of your web pages. The three Core Web Vitals target the loading speed of the web pages, which increases or decreases a user’s interaction with the page. Secondly, they are linked with the delay of the page or any text in the search. Lastly, they relate to the visual stability of a page, which gets disturbed when a picture or video unexpectedly appears.

Google wants web owners to work on all these three core metrics to improve UX – and June 2021 is the deadline.

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