Last Updated on February 26, 2023 by WiserWorx
Google Core Web Vitals That You Should Know
Google’s core web vitals are four key metrics that let you know how well your website is doing in terms of both user experience and search engine rankings. The “page health metrics” were release by Google in May of 2020, to focus on the importance of smooth user experience on websites. These vitals were developed by Google to help website owners identify areas of their websites that may need improvement, whether it’s with search engine optimization, user interface, or something else entirely.
I actually feel that this was a “good” Google update, since website health is something that site admins should always be focusing on. If you’re looking to boost your website performance and visibility, it’s important to understand these four key metrics and what they mean for your business.
Page Speed – GTmetrix or Google PageSpeed Insights
The PageSpeed module in Google Analytics is an easy-to-use way to track your site’s speed performance. GTmetrix is a web service that offers detailed insights on how to improve your page speed. If you’re already familiar with Google Analytics, then GTmetrix will be an extremely easy tool for you to use. Both of these tools are must haves if you want to improve your page speed performance. It’s important to note that just because you run your website through either of these two tools, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will give good recommendations on how to optimize your website.
The most important thing is to follow up and review what was suggested and see if there are steps you can take based off their recommendations. Make sure to check out Pingdom as well; it’s another great tool that can help identify problems within your website’s code along with offering suggestions for improvement.
Mobile-Friendly Test – Google Mobile Friendly Test
This is one of Google’s core web vitals. It will tell you whether or not your website is mobile-friendly. If it’s not, then Google may penalize your site in search results – meaning users won’t see it as high up on their list of search results as they would if it were mobile-friendly. Take note that even if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, Google still gracefully degrades your site for mobile users – which basically means that you can still get traffic from smartphone users even though you don’t have a mobile-friendly website (but you’ll miss out on smartphone traffic from iPhone and Android users).
HTTP Caching – Lighthouse by Google
HTTP caching is an important step in speeding up your site. A well-configured HTTP cache can dramatically reduce bandwidth usage and increase responsiveness. There are two ways to do HTTP caching: with an on-premise solution like Squid or Microsoft’s Internet Information Services (IIS), or through a cloud service like CloudFlare, Fastly, Akamai, Amazon CloudFront, and many others.
If you use CloudFlare we encourage you to use their free plan as it has similar capabilities to paid plans and all of our recommended optimizations will be applied automatically at no additional cost! Another option is Lighthouse by Google. This tool provides recommendations based on a given URL that can help speed up your website performance without any extra configuration.
HTTPS (SSL) – Lighthouse by Google
The secure badge shows that a website has a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. An SSL certificate ensures that your connection with a website is encrypted, which makes it harder for others to see your information or impersonate a site. With HTTPS, users can be confident in transmitting sensitive information on your site, such as passwords and credit card numbers.
In 2018, Google started using SSL as an official ranking signal. Sites without SSL will rank lower than those with one and it’s starting to have a noticeable impact on rankings of websites not using an SSL certificate. SSL Certificates are mostly free hosting add-ons, these days. You can ask you web hosting provider about SSL if your site is currently not running HTTPS.
Robots.txt file – Google Search Console
The Robots.txt file is a powerful tool to help control how Googlebot and other web crawlers access your website. If you don’t want to make all of your site accessible, add rules for specific pages or directories in your Robots.txt file. Although it’s simple to create a robots.txt file, there are some rules you should follow when creating one: Make sure that each rule only applies to one page or directory so that Google knows where it can find important content (i.e., don’t write /directory1 /directory2 /directory3). Do not block URLs from your XML sitemap files. Add additional access instructions at the end of your Robots.txt file if you have special cases—for example, if search engines aren’t allowed to crawl most of your site but a few key areas need more crawling power—you can block everything and then specify exceptions further down in an allow rule.
Note: Older versions of Internet Explorer will not render these rules correctly, so use forward slashes / instead of backward slashes \ when writing them. This post by Google outlines how they handle non-compliant robots.txt files on sites they visit daily as well as how they work with non-compliant websites themselves on an ongoing basis. Another great place to look is into URL parameters which also allows modifying results within SERPs by adding various keywords directly to search queries e.g.
We can end this post here, before we get too technical or nerdy. However, there are a lot more tools that can help you monitor your web core vitals. The main action item is to get your website setup in Google’s Search Console and go from there.
If you found this information useful, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more tips and updates to make sure your website is healthy and running at it’s best. If all this sounds like it’s a bit too much, we’d be happy to help you asses your website and help provide more information on how you can better optimize your website for user experience and search. Just get in touch with us to schedule a consolation!