Google’s Next Major SEO Update

Woman sitting at her computer performing search engine optimization.

Incoming… Google’s next major SEO update is here.

What’s the news?

Google recently announced a new ranking factor, called Core Web Vitals. In its ongoing effort to encourage webmasters to build sites that are faster and simpler for users to access, Google’s Core Web Vitals initiative is made up of 3 fundamental pieces:

  1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): The time from when a page starts to load to when the largest element on that page finishes loading. 
  2. First Input Delay (FID): The time from when a page starts to load to when the user can click, scroll, or otherwise interact with the page. 
  3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): How much the core content of the page shifts due to late-loading elements on the page. (Ever opened up an article and started reading, only to have a gigantic header image load afterward and bump everything down? If so, you can feel the pain on this one.)

These 3 metrics together make up Core Web Vitals. Google has confirmed that Core Web Vitals will become a ranking factor some time in 2021, and promised to provide 6 months’ notice before this takes place. 

Why is this significant?

We’re especially excited about Core Web Vitals, if only because this is one of the few times that Google announces the specifics of an algorithm change months in advance — this never happens! This also puts the onus on us as SEO and website leaders to make the appropriate changes soon, or risk being left behind by these new ranking factors in 2021.

What do I need to do?

Core Web Vitals statistics are already available in Google Search Console. You’ll see it in the left menu on the Search Console property main page. 

Core Web Vitals Google Search Console example

Clicking within this section, you’ll see results ranging from Good (= no changes needed), Need Improvement (not critical but worth working on) to Poor (need immediate improvement or risk seeing major rankings impacts). Each is tracked over time so you can infer when site changes may have impacted scores in each category.

Core Web Vitals Report

Within this report, you can also see exactly which Core Web Vitals metric is the offender, and which URL Google has flagged.

Core Web Vitals Report 2

Given the advance notice that Google has provided to us with this update, we would assume they mean business when it comes to following these guidelines. We’re making changes now to our own site to start getting in compliance with these measures and would definitely recommend you do the same. 

If you have questions or want to learn more about Core Web Vitals, search engine optimization, or how Futurety can help you reach your goals, get in touch.

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