70 | Core Web Vitals with Izzi Smith

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Izzi Smith, technical SEO analyst at Ryte (technical software company) is queen of featured snippets but has recently delved into Core Web Vitals (CWV). In this episode, she shares her tips, tools and explains what this means to a web owner. She helps clients figure out technical topics and product teams to get to the bottom of SEO challenges to keep building good software.

What are Core Web Vitals?

There are three principle methods that Google has ‘birthed’ to help us understand how to perceive web pages for a holistic web experience. 

  1. Largest Contentful Paint (loading and speed of website)
  2. First Input Delay (interactivity)
  3. Cumulative Layout Shift (visual stability)

It’s basically a simplification of UX (user experience) factors that will help us create better websites. 

Google did a lot of work with web developers to understand what actually makes the impact as there are very many tools that show plenty of website metrics. What will provide the best experience? Google did say these can change in the future, as different technology comes into play or frameworks become more typical, so some factors may become more or less important. 

In May 2021, these will contribute to a ranking signal. 

This reminds me of mobile first indexing. It’s an example of where behaviour changed the need of the web and Google indicated that changes need to be made to suit it (i.e. sites were visited on mobile phones rather than desktops and Google started indexing this way.) 

Izzi is fascinated about UX and SEO and wants to drive user generated experiences. She wants to deliver the best possible experience. She enjoys this topic as well as the fun feature snippets; CRO and user engagement measurements and uplifting those. Previously, she hasn’t been a fan of page speed as it’s very technical and it was something web dev sorted but since CWV announced, Izzi has been getting more involved and with an increase of cross over between the two. 

Tools to test Core Web Vitals

Start by auditing a website. There are two types of data you’ll gather…

  • Lab data: Collected within control environment, network settings. Synthetic but easier for users for troubleshooting. Important for diagnosis and prioritisation. This is also reliable if you don’t have enough users on a website or a new page for example. 
  • Field data: Real life humans interacting with your website (page speed insights and Search Console.) 

Eventually we all ask for help. When a fix is needed to be implemented by website development teams so it’s a matter of prioritising the fixes. Make sure to analyse significant chunks. Don’t just throw the homepage into the Lighthouse tool and feel accomplished when all is green. Pull in important URLs because there are different templates and directories, documents with different content elements and hosting solutions etc. These will all return separate results. 

Ryte uses Chrome Lighthouse data to crawl sites and analyse Core Web Vitals. You can then see the full website performing and not just separate URLs.

Google is testing out a visual feature for this too. There’s potential that you’ll be losing out a lot more than you think when it comes to Core Web Vitals. 

Where to Start?

Google has provided us with great resources around this topic. It’s in their best interest for web owners to get better so are providing great information that you can use. 

Martin Splitt (Twitter: @g33konaut) is doing a lot of talks. He is a developer at Google and with great information for technical SEO with a development background.

For generalist SEOs is a little trickier – start running audits of existing clients or websites you’re interested in. Izzi likes to look at Lush, for example, as she is a big fan of the product. This will help you understand each area, seeing what contributes to the factors and how to improve them. Izzi uses current dev tools and says it can be overwhelming but by getting to know each of the tabs, you’ll be able to understand the metrics and main threads of what needs to be done. Practice!

Resource: RYTE webinar with Izzi Smith

Izzi explores LUSH and their website when it comes to Core Web Vitals on the show. Lush, if you’re reading this and need assistance please contact Izzi and thank her with soap (or shampoo will do too) 😉

Find Izzi Smith on Twitter: @izzionfire

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Music credit: I Dunno (Grapes of Wrath Mix) by spinningmerkaba (c) copyright 2017 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/jlbrock44/56346 Ft: Jlang, 4nsic, grapes.

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