Google’s New 2021 Ranking Signal – Core Web Vitals

Google's new 2021 ranking signal

If we look back to late May of this year (I understand if you don’t want to) – Google announced that, in 2021, they will be adding three new search ranking signals into their algorithms to judge a website’s overall page experience score and, therefore, a website’s overall search engine results pages (SERP) visibility.

These new signals are grouped together in what is being called the ‘core web vitals.’ core web vitals will begin making up 3/7 of the search signals Google uses to decide a webpage’s “page experience” score – as seen in the image below.

core web vitals 2021 google ranking signal

To aid SEOs and website owners in this upcoming update – Google has added core web vital reports inside Google Search Console.

These metrics are:

The metrics include:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP).
  • First Input Delay (FID).
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).

And, if you’re an avid user of websites like gtmetrix.com – but were not aware of this update – you will have seen the aforementioned terminologies and metrics being rolled out already.

Therefore, perhaps the update is imminent…

What do we currently know about core web vitals?

In short, we know that starting in May of 2021, core web vitals will become Google ranking signals.

And we also know that Google Search Console now quantitatively shows us clear areas of improvement for user experience including:

  • loading
  • interactivity
  • and visual stability.

Google’s decision to create and implement the new core web vitals signals was explained as such:

“Through both internal studies and industry research, users show they prefer sites with a great page experience… Great page experiences enable people to get more done and engage more deeply; in contrast, a bad page experience could stand in the way of a person being able to find the valuable information on a page.” – Google Webmasters Blog, May 2020.

On this also, Google’s Gary Illyes cryptically notes:

“Like any other search engine, Google works hard to surface the highest quality and most relevant results for users’ queries… it’s extremely unlikely that CWV would ever become “the primary factor for Organic Traffic”. That’s not to say you can ignore CWV, though.”

Christian Alvizuris, SEO Analyst at Disney, predicts the following:

“I think this update will be really big. For a lot of websites, this will mean completely changing the way their templates are coded and how their resources are rendered.

Projects like these can take some time to execute so prioritizing them in your roadmaps early on is important.

Additionally, there could be a positive impact for non-AMP websites that are well optimized. Showing up in Google’s Top Stories can help publishers command more SERP real estate when they may have previously struggled.

News publishers who’ve benefited from using AMP can probably expect to see a lot more competition after the update.”