Google has provided new information about the metrics that will affect rankings in an upcoming SEO update.
The information was made available through an update to the FAQ page that Google has dedicated to the new metrics.
These metrics are what Google calls ‘Core Web Vitals,’ and they will begin to affect search rankings this spring, when Google launches the ‘Google Page Experience Update.’
Specifically, Core Web Vitals include three metrics:
Largest Contentful Paint, or how quickly content loads
First Input Delay, or how quickly a page can become interactive
Cumulative Layout Shift, or how little unexpected movement of visual elements there is
Information about Core Web Vitals was made available in late 2020, but a recent update to the metrics’ FAQ page has added some clarity. SEO blogger Barry Schwartz compared the old and new FAQ pages and noted a few key changes.
First, Google explained that it would still prioritize relevance over Core Web Vitals – in other words, relevant content could still rank high even without meeting the needs of the new metrics.
Additionally, the new FAQ explains that content can still appear in the ‘Top Stories’ carousel, even if it doesn’t meet the criteria of Core Web Vitals. The carousel is a vertical array of news stories that is generated by an algorithm for searches that usually involve breaking news.
This new info suggests that Core Web Vitals are not as powerful ranking criteria as some may have speculated – and that the Google Page Experience Update might not harshly affect site rankings after all.
Still, sites should take caution in anticipation of the update. It is scheduled to launch in May.