Core Web Vitals (CWV): Meaning, SEO Basics & Best Practices




Updated 2/3/2024

Learn what Core Web Vitals are, how they relate to page and site speed, and why they’re important for SEO. Find best practices more tips.

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Core Web Vitals (CWV) are a set of metrics that indicate how users experience a web page. They measure a page’s loading performance, responsiveness, interaction latency, and visual stability.

These metrics are important for providing a good user experience and can be used to measure the performance of your web pages. Search engines also use them to rank pages and give users better search results. Improving them is important for SEO.

The Core Web Vitals

The Core Web Vitals consist of three core metrics:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): The loading performance of a page and the time it takes for the main content of the page to load.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Measures the visual stability of a page and is the number of unexpected layout shifts that occur during the loading of a page.
  • Interaction to Next Paint (INP): This is a pending metric that measures the latency of a user’s interactions with the page, such as clicks or taps. How to optimize for INP.
  • First Input Delay (FID): The responsiveness of a page and the time it takes for a user’s interaction with the page to be processed. This metric has known limitations, and INP will replace FID in March 2024.

These are the “core” group, but more Web Vital metrics exist.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

LCP measures how long a web page’s largest piece of content takes to load. This could be an image, a video, or text.

A good LCP score is fewer than 2.5 seconds, as this is when users may begin to lose patience and leave the website.

Best Practices

  • Optimize images and videos to reduce their file size.
  • Use a content delivery network (CDN) to speed up content delivery.
  • Minimize the HTTP requests required to load the webpage.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures how much the content on a webpage moves around as it loads.

A good CLS score is less than 0.1, as this is the point at which users perceive the website as being stable and easy to use.

Best Practices

  • Set image and video size attributes to avoid layout changes.
  • Avoid adding content to the page after loading, such as popups or other annoying marketing ploys. Looking at you, exit offers.
  • Use placeholders for ads and other third-party content to prevent unexpected layout shifts.

Interaction to Next Paint (INP)

INP measures the latency between a user’s interactions, such as clicks or taps, and when the page responds.

A good INP score is 200 milliseconds or fewer. This indicates your page is responsive, and users can interact with the elements smoothly.

Best Practices

  • Identify and reduce input delay.
  • Optimize event callbacks.
  • Minimize presentation delay.
  • Optimize JavaScript execution.

First Input Delay (FID)

First Input Delay (FID) measures how long it takes for a user to be able to interact with a website after clicking a link or button.

A good FID score is less than 100 milliseconds, as this is the point at which users perceive the website as being responsive and interactive.

Best Practices

  • Minimize the use of JavaScript on a webpage. Also, minify your JavaScript.
  • Use browser caching to reduce load times for scripts and other resources.
  • Optimize the page layout to reduce the amount of rendering required.

Bottom Line

Core Web Vitals are key performance indicators determining a web page’s user experience, focusing on load time, interactivity, and visual stability. These metrics, which include LCP, CLS, FID, and the forthcoming INP, are crucial in improving SEO and boosting search rankings.

Adopting best practices to improve these scores, such as optimizing images and scripts, minimizing HTTP requests, and utilizing browser caching, can greatly enhance a web page’s user experience. ?

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