Core Web Vitals – Google’s New Algorithm Update Explained

Brian Bojan Dordevic
About The Author

Brian Decoded

President at Alpha Efficiency

Join me at the forefront of web design and digital marketing innovation. I am obsessed with web design, business philosophy and marketing performance.
I write Conversion Insider newsletter.

The latest Google Core Algorithm update began rolling out in mid-June this year but played its full role at the end of August. By introducing updates to its Core Web Vitals (CWV), Google has once again shown that its goals are set at prioritizing user experience. Still, most websites were unprepared for these changes that have a tremendous impact on their rankings. Those who don’t pass the requirements among the three Core Web Vitals cannot provide the visitors with a seamless and smooth user experience. With all that in mind, it’s safe to say that Google is trying to send a clear message to the digital community that the user experience should be the top priority.

Unfortunately, it appears that not all agencies took the Page Experience update seriously; in fact, it appears that currently, only 4% of the websites show CWV compliance. Additionally, many websites that achieved a good desktop score failed to do the same for mobile, which is fairly inadmissible in our opinion. 

SEO experts and digital agencies now need to implement their best practices to ensure their websites are visible, highly ranked, and, most importantly, user-friendly.

Table of Contents:

What are Core Web Vitals, and how do they impact SEO?

Core Web Vitals are essentially a set of metrics that Google uses in order to quantify the page experience. They’re made up of the following factors:

      1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), which measures how long it takes for the largest text block or the visible image on the page to load,
      2. First Input Delay (FID), measuring the amount of time from a user’s first interaction with the site to when the browser responds, and
      3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), which measures how much content and elements on the page shift while the website is still rendering.

Each one of these vitals has its own rules of scoring (based on what it is measuring). Your website should score “good” in all three vitals in order to satisfy user experience benchmark set by Google. As CWV update clearly demonstrates that the real-life user’s experience is now one of the major ranking factors, SEO experts need to ensure their websites comply with the latest Core Web Vitals update if they want to maintain good performance. And although Google stated that a good page experience doesn’t overrule having relevant content, it’s vital to keep track of the CWV elements and optimize accordingly if you’re looking to stay at the top of the search results.

The Winners and Losers of Core Web Vitals Algorithm Update

The impact of this CWV update will likely be smaller, until more webmasters and SEOs start incorporating these updates in order to advance their performance. But it is presumed that its impact will grow over time – as more and more websites adapt their practices to Google’s recommendations for adhering to its Core Web Vitals. With that in mind, it’s expected that some verticals will be influenced more than others. For example, websites that include layers of ad placements over their content (such as news websites) will most likely have a harder time adhering to the CWV. On the other hand, websites with less content (or simpler content) will have easier time following the new recommendations, thus securing this necessary advantage.

Still, it’s vital to understand how any Google update can be an opportunity for digital marketers and website owners to check whether their efforts to improve and optimize their websites line up with changes in Google’s algorithm. It’s pretty common for websites that experience a decline in traffic (due to an update) to see improved performance only after the next core update rolls out. The improvement in ranking may only take place if hard work has been done to improve the performance. To illustrate the impact of this update on a site’s visibility, we’re presenting the results of a study conducted by Amsive Digital, showing the top 10 winning and losing domains:

Top 10 Winning Domains

Domain Total Visibility Change*
wikipedia.org 87.8
amazon.com 62.1
cambridge.org 52.2
lifewire.com 36.2
dictionary.com 33.5
facebook.com 26.7
collinsdictionary.com 25.3
thefreedictionary.com 25.1
imdb.com 21.4
merriam-webster.com 21.3

Top 10 Losing Domains

Domain Total Visibility Change
tripadvisor.com -75.6
wiktionary.org -63.7
quora.com -20.1
techradar.com -19.5
youtube.com -18.2
yelp.com -14.7
lyrics.com -11.8
yourdictionary.com -11.7
thebalancecareers.com -11.4
metrolyrics.com -11.3

*The visibility change is presented using the Sistrix Visibility Index Score

What Core Web Vitals update means for your business

As we mentioned earlier, not every vertical will be affected the same way by the latest CWV update. To prevent losing your traffic, it’s highly recommended you use the available tools that measure the current status of your website and find out which pages need additional optimization to reach the “good” ranking. Keep in mind that if one of the CWV measurements is ranked as “bad,” the overall page experience will also be ranked low. The following tools will help you boost your CWV measurements and achieve a higher ranking:

      1. Google Search Console is a tool that allows you to see how each of your pages ranks and identify the groups of pages that need to be optimized. You can find a tab under “enhancements” that takes you to a report which shows your website’s performance compared to the Core Web Vitals elements.
      2. Web Vitals Extension allows you to measure the CWV metrics on your website in real-time. It shows a list of all the affected URLs and points out the elements that need optimization. 
      3. PageSpeed Insights is a tool that allows you to check the affected pages of your website. It offers both desktop and mobile speed insights by using real-life data from Google Chrome browsers. It gives a good starting point for improving the Web Core Vitals and your overall website performance.
      4. Chrome UX Report offers customized reports on your website’s performance.
      5. Chrome DevTools and Lighthouse are used to both measure and test page optimizations and updates in a lab setting.

How to maximize your core web vitals?

Now that you know how to measure Core Web Vitals for your website, we strongly recommend you analyze each URL individually. An URL may end up having a different score if a page holds different elements, content blocks, and layouts. Additionally, using website builders such as Elementor, Divi, and WPBakery can seriously compromise your CWV scores, since they genuinely lack in key SEO elements. The following few steps can make an excellent starting point for optimizing your Core Web Vitals:

    1. Compress any large image files,
    2. Scale your images to the proper placement sizing,
    3. Remove all the unnecessary render-blocking resources and any unused javascript,
    4. Showcase images in next-gen formats,
    5. Apply a content delivery network to the hosting platform.

Lastly, keep in mind that only by conducting regular audits of your website will you be able to determine any potential holdbacks and find out which pages require optimization to comply with the Core Web Vitals and increase their visibility.

Final thoughts

A website can be a significant source of income for business owners, as it can be one of the strongest marketing assets. However, if you’re looking to get a proper ROI from your website, it’s vital to understand that it requires complex and continual work to keep it running smoothly. SEO trends are shifting all the time, and selecting a developing company to run your website can either make or break your online visibility. Our web design agency in Chicago is dedicated to incorporating clients’ ideas with years of experience in the digital community to make highly ranked and visible websites. One of the essential steps in the process is to stay at the top of the game with the ongoing Google Algorithm updates that have a strong impact on website traffic. We are here to put that experience behind your company.


Fresh inspiration is a fingertip away,
Download Our Portfolio.

Download Our Portfolio