It’s been thought that having good Core Web Vitals scores will help sites achieve better indexing in Google search results, but is that really the case.
Before we get to the answer, it’s important to first have an understanding of just what Core Web Vitals (CWV) are. CWVs are metrics that “score” a webpage based on how quickly a page loads, how quickly a browser responds to user input, and how stable the content is as it loads on the page.
The three metrics that are currently measured as part of CWV are:
LCP (largest contentful paint): This refers to the amount of time it takes to load the largest content element on the page that’s visible in the viewport beginning the moment the user makes the URL request. Usually, the largest element on the page is an image or video which is why it’s important to make sure images are optimized for speed.
FID (first input delay): This is the time from what a visitor first interacts with a page, for example, they click on a link in your site’s navigation bar, to the time the browser responds.
CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift): This metric focuses on the ability of the page to not shift during the entire time the page is loaded in the viewport. Shifting is often caused by items loading at different times causing the page to “jump” creating a less than optimal user experience, especially when trying to interact with the page.
When you run a CWV report for your website Google will provide a score for each of these metrics for both desktop and mobile. It should be every site owner’s goal to achieve passing scores for all three metrics.
That takes us back to the original question about whether or not having good CWV scores help with better indexing.
According to Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller, the answer is no. Site quality is what determines how well a site is indexed and nothing has changed with the mantra that quality content is king!
By keeping your website relevant with good quality content it adds to the overall value of the web and therefore will index better.
So where does Core Web Vitals come into play?
CWVs have been ranking factors for mobile search since their introduction. Desktop searches have been left out, but by the end of March 2022, CWVs will also be ranking factors for desktop. Having very good scores for the three metrics is important for both types of searches, however, they will not have any direct impact on site indexing.
Mueller discussed this in further detail during a January 28, 2022 Google Search Central SEO Office Hours event which you can view in the video below.
So what does this mean for site owners?
The answer is simple: continue to strive to achieve passing scores for all three CWVs and keep creating relevant, strong content on your site.
Scott Sanfilippo began his eCommerce journey in 1994 by co-founding one of the Internet’s first online retailers, TheFerretStore.com, which was acquired by PetCo in 2006. In 2001, he co-founded the eCommerce design and marketing firm Solid Cactus, which was acquired by web.com in 2009. Today, Scott is the General Manager of Your Store Wizards and lives in Delray Beach, FL. Scott can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.