More Web Vitals: What You Should Expect from Google’s Desktop Rollout of Core Web Vitals
After making Core Web Vitals an organic ranking factor last summer, Google rolled out the desktop version of the Page Experience update in March 2022. While we don’t expect significant performance impacts, the desktop rollout marks another milestone in Google’s mission to prioritize quality content experiences in search.
What Are Core Web Vitals and What’s Changing?
When Google launched Core Web Vitals for mobile in 2021, the update was big news in the digital marketing world. In addition to traditional ranking factors, Google would now reward websites for providing good user experiences. By putting user experience (UX) center stage, this update provides a strong incentive for brands to deliver quality website experiences to the user – a good thing for brands and end users alike.
Now, Google has brought the Page Experience update to desktop, completing the rollout last month. Similar to the mobile rollout, the desktop Page Experience update includes the following signals.
- Core Web Vitals:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): How long it takes for the main content of a page to load and be ready for interaction.
- First Input Delay (FID): Once on a site, FID is the time between when a user first interacts with the site and when the browser is able to respond to that interaction. Think tapping a button or filling out a form.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): A metric that quantifies how much a page shifts once the content is loaded. A site shouldn’t jump around while a user scrolls.
- Site Security: As a more secure alternative to HTTP, sites that are secured with HTTPS will receive higher scores.
- Non-Intrusive Interstitials: The more annoying and disruptive pop-ups a site has, the lower the score.
As part of this update, Google has also released a new section in the Google Search Console Page Experience report specifically for desktop, making the performance metrics more available to brands and marketers.
Why The Desktop Rollout Likely Won't Impact Performance
So what does this mean for your brand? As with any Google organic update, it’s important for brands to monitor performance to ensure Core Web Vitals doesn’t negatively impact search rankings. However, while you’ll want to keep a close eye to make sure web pages don’t experience dips in results, the new rollout is unlikely to significantly hurt organic performance. There are three key reasons why.
The original rollout of Core Web Vitals on mobile had minimal impact on our clients. While Google continues to place more emphasis on UX, quality content still comes first. Web pages that have more relevant and useful content could still outrank pages that have better Core Web Vitals scores but poor content.
Updates you’ve made to improve your mobile Core Web Vitals generally translate to better desktop scores. For brands that don’t have separate desktop and mobile versions of a website, any improvements already made for mobile Core Web Vitals will benefit this rollout. Additionally, it’s common to see higher Core Web Vitals scores on desktop than mobile, meaning your overall score may even increase.
Mobile websites are given more ranking weight. Mobile-first indexing, which started in 2019 and was enabled for all websites in September 2020, means Google will primarily rely on the mobile version of a website for indexing and ranking.
While it’s unlikely that the update will significantly impact performance, the desktop rollout marks another milestone in Google’s initiative to formally incorporate user experience signals into organic search.
How Your Website Can Achieve Peak Performance
Google’s evolution is a positive step, making it even more difficult to improve SEO rank by using black-hat tactics. Instead, marketers will have to continue to create user-centric content experiences that meet the needs of a user based on the query. Google’s goal for ranking web pages is to deliver the best possible experience for every user.
SEO support can help keep websites and content at peak performance. At Adept, our SEO team works closely with web developers, UX experts, and content creators to ensure we’re doing more than checking the SEO boxes, but that we’re outperforming our clients’ competitors by delivering content customers truly value.