Memorable experiences. So much of what we do can be boiled down to those two words.
Whether you’re traveling overseas, visiting a new restaurant or simply surfing the web, what you’re looking for are unforgettable experiences. The same goes for the web.
That’s why the world’s leading search engine, Google, has made website user experience (UX) a priority for its search engine rankings in 2021. For far too long, the science of search engine optimization (SEO) was built around concepts like keyword stuffing and other practices that did little to enhance the usability and enjoyment that ordinary people would get from a website.
But that is changing fast. Never before has the design of a website been more important. With its focus on Core Web Vitals, Google is proving that great design has a profound influence on whether your customers find you or not.
That shift in attitude should have a profound influence on how you think about your website and the user experience that it offers visitors. Let’s look at what these Core Web Vitals mean for your website UX.
What Are Core Web Vitals?
Google rolled out its Core Web Vitals update in May 2021. It’s very important for web designers, developers and marketers to understand three of the main aspects that Google values right now, and what the search engine giant is looking for when it assigns page rankings.
Page Load Times
Google is putting a lot of emphasis on how quickly the content on a web page can fully load onto a laptop or mobile screen. Once a user clicks through to a page from Google, it wants to see the largest piece of content (largest contentful paint, or LCP) on that page — whether it’s a video, image or text — load in under 2.5 seconds.
We’ve all experienced the frustration of trying to click a button on a page after it’s loaded, only to see the button shift position as the rest of the content loads. It turns out Google is not a big fan of that kind of instability. It calls this phenomenon Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), and it wants it reduced to less than one-tenth of a second.
The trick for designers is to define the dimensions of an image or a video player within the site’s HTML so that the browser knows exactly what it’s receiving when a page is opening.
The third element that has greater importance than ever before is First Input Delay (FID). It measures how quickly a page responds when a user clicks on some interactive element on the page. Elements such as site tags and third-party code are important for this metric, and Google is rewarding responsiveness that occurs in less than 100 milliseconds.
These three elements form the nucleus of the Core Web Vitals that Google is measuring and rewarding (or punishing if your website performance isn’t up to snuff). Everything you build must keep them in mind.
How Will These Features Influence Google Search Rankings?
Google Core Web Vitals are having a huge effect on search rankings.
Of course, there are still many other factors to consider, such as mobile-friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS security and intrusive interstitial guidelines. But getting these new vitals right will take you a long way toward getting noticed on the world’s most important search engine. In practical terms, this is a signal that web designers, content creators and website UX professionals need to start working closer together than ever before.
Now more than ever, web developers need to look at page content and layout holistically. It’s no good having great visuals or beautiful writing if the page is slow and clunky. And by the same token, having great speed and world-class interactivity doesn’t count for much if your content is boring and irrelevant.
How To Build Your Website UX With Core Web Vitals in Mind
Google rewards websites that offer a good, fast user experience. The metrics that they focus on deal with how fast your website loads, how stable it is while loading, and how quickly it responds to user interaction. Getting them right also makes Google look good for suggesting your page, so it becomes a virtuous cycle that benefits everyone.
Web design today is no longer just matching content to keywords that someone is searching for. Your site also needs to provide a pleasant, easy browsing experience. That’s what we considered when we did a complete website redesign for our clients Lost Boy Cider, created a powerful, easy-to-use search tool for Grasshopper Adventures, and uplifted the whole site design for SecuriGence.
When it comes to the design and user experience of your websites, everything needs to work toward meeting those challenges. An integrated approach is vital, where the content and the layout of the site are built with solid fundamentals that are responsive on each and every platform and browser that tries to open them.
It’s not easy to achieve the level of sophistication required to deliver simple, clean design. But with the massive rewards that come from landing on the first page of Google’s search results, it’s well worth doing.
Make Contact Today
Orpheus has mastered the art of building search-optimized websites. We know and understand Google deeply, and as it changes and evolves, so do we. Don’t waste time building a website that no one can find. Let us incorporate Google’s Core Web Vitals into the heart of your website. You’ll be astounded at the difference it makes. Get in touch now and see what we can do for you.