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What Are Google Core Web Vitals?

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The rise in e-commerce has prompted many furniture retailers to expand beyond their brick-and-mortar stores by establishing an online presence. However, simply having a digital marketplace isn’t enough to stand out in today’s competitive landscape.

To get eyeballs on your store, it’s important to understand Google Core Web Vitals, one of many factors — alongside search engine optimization (SEO) — that Google uses to determine your website’s position in search results rankings.

Your Core Web Vitals performance could be the difference in your long-term success. Follow along as we break down Google Core Web Vitals and highlight the details you need to know to boost your online furniture store’s ranking.

Understanding the basics of Google SEO

Google’s goal is to provide users with the most relevant content for any particular search term, listed in order of relevance. The algorithm used to center around keywords and how relevant they were to the topic being searched. The more keywords your content had, the better it ranked.

However, this made it too easy for spammy content to rank. A website could have little to no authority with short, keyword-spammed posts and be at the top of a user’s search results. To fix this, Google revised its algorithms again, using technology designed to weed out the spam. However, content publishers were still able to use black hat SEO techniques and keyword stuffing to help poor-quality pages rank better.

Google has since continually increased the granularity of its search metrics and revised its algorithms accordingly. Although the exact ranking methods are kept secret, Google does publish guidelines to encourage website owners to produce quality content.

What furniture retailers need to know about CWV

In 2020, Google announced its plans to make the user experience a ranking factor in an algorithm update. This meant that for your furniture store’s website to continue ranking well online, your Core Web Vitals would need to be up to snuff. 

If you were ranking well and no longer are, it could be a result of the Core Web Vitals update. If you don’t rank well for common search terms, fewer potential customers will find your brand — resulting in a smaller bottom line.

However, you can (and should) continue to improve your site’s Core Web Vitals as an overall part of your search optimization strategy. But it’s important to understand that perfection isn’t the goal — even the top retailers aren’t receiving flawless results.

What are Google Core Web Vitals?

Google Core Web Vitals are a set of particular elements defined by Google that are considered critical to a website user’s experience. Essentially, they are a subset of three essential criteria that will be included in Google’s “page experience” score. The better your Google Core Web Vitals, the better experience customers will have using your website.

Components of Google Core Web Vitals

Google Core Web Vitals are made up of three key components: first input delay, largest contentful paint, and cumulative layout shift. Here’s a quick description of each, along with a few helpful tips on how furniture retailers can improve their performance.

First input delay

First input display (FID) refers to the time it takes for a website user to interact with your page. FID calculates the time it takes for people to complete a task on your page, such as selecting a menu item, clicking a link or using the navigation bar, filling out a contact form, or viewing text with a mobile smartphone or tablet.

With a higher FID score from Google, you not only rank lower, but you also risk alienating consumers with a bad user experience. If consumers are unable to interact with your site, they could get frustrated and lose interest altogether. Consider your FID score as a first impression: the higher your score, the worse the first impression.

How to improve your FID score

To reduce this score, make sure your links, web forms, and other calls to action are visible and can be accessed quickly. The faster users take an actual action on your website, like clicking a link, the better your FID numbers will be, leading to better overall Core Web Vitals.

On the backend, it’s also possible to reduce your FID score by properly organizing your scripts. By prioritizing your website’s script download order, optimizing image code, and removing unnecessary junk scripts, you can reduce loading time and improve overall user experience.

Largest contentful paint

Largest contentful paint (LCP) refers to the time it takes for a web page to load from the perspective of a real user. Essentially, LCP describes the time it takes between clicking a link and when a user can view most of the website content.

LCP is distinct from other indicators, like first contentful paint (FCP) or time-to-first-byte (TTFB). LCP concentrates on the most important aspect of page speed: the ability to quickly view and engage with your website.

How to improve your LCP score

To improve your LCP score, try “lazy loading.” Lazy loading is a tactic for image loading that allows pictures to be loaded as the user scrolls down the page. It’s particularly effective for furniture retailers who use high-resolution images.

Another way to improve the site’s visual performance is to compress and optimize your images. As beneficial as high-resolution images are to your aesthetic, they create longer-than-necessary load times for users. Try using plug-ins that compress and optimize your images to keep load speeds down without sacrificing your product image quality.

These tactics improve page speed and SEO while reducing your overall bounce rate by keeping visitors on your site and engaging with your furniture content.

Cumulative layout shift

Cumulative layout shift (CLS) is a calculation that indicates how visually steady a website is as it loads. For example, if text or navigation items on your page move about while information populates, you likely have a high CLS.

Instead, you want the various pieces of your website to appear stable as each page loads. When loading is complete, visitors won’t have to relearn where links, graphics, and text is located or risk accidentally clicking on the wrong thing.

How to improve your CLS score

Reducing CLS begins with being mindful of where your slowest loading elements are placed. Placing slow loading elements, like animations, ads, and embeds, can cause your website to load unevenly. Another common mistake is not adding the proper dimensions to imagery. Adding specified dimensions to your product imagery helps your site load them in their exact place, without having to make adjustments based on browser or device.

How to check my Google Core Web Vitals score

Website managers can receive a grade for their Google Core Web Vitals from a number of free tools. We recommend using:
  • GTmetrix
  • Google Search Console
  • Google Lighthouse
  • PageSpeed Insights
  • MicroD from Revalize
  MicroD has led many furniture retailers to better SEO and website structure for nearly 30 years.
To learn about how e-commerce website platform foundations impact your online furniture store's ranking, contact us today for a demo.

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