All local marketing and SEO professionals need to understand the value of optimizing for Google Core Web Vitals (CWV). These are key elements of website optimization and can fundamentally transform local search outcomes for the better.
This guide introduces you to the topic of Google CWV and explains how they influence local search results, so read on!
Google Core Web Vitals
Google Core Web Vitals are just that—vital. These factors impact on your position in Google results and so determine how visible your business is to local searchers. That’s why it’s essential to know what CWV entail and how they affect the day-to-day work of website managers and marketers.
Google CWV are made up of three standardized metrics that describe a user’s experience of a web page. These metrics are:
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
This metric is about page load speed. Google measures how fast the largest content element loads on the page without a user scrolling. The result, in seconds, is the LCP.
Whether your largest content element consists of text, video, or photos, your LCP must be less than 2.5 seconds to meet Google’s standards. Anything slower will impact your page rankings.
First Input Delay (FID)
FID is a measurement of the time between a user’s first interaction with a site and the site execution of the user command. This could mean a click, keystroke, or other input.
For best results, aim for a FID score of under 100 milliseconds. This is Google’s sweet spot for site interactivity.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
CLS represents the stability of your site as it loads. Ever go to click on something during load only to have the page shift around on you? This is CLS, and it’s measured as a composite of each individual shift that occurs as the site loads.
Web managers should reduce CLS down to 0.1 to meet Google standards. This means building a frustration-free site that doesn’t move links and buttons while the content populates.
Standards for User Experience
Google developed these three measures so that it can judge the user-friendliness of online content. Better CWV scores indicate that pages are accessible and easy to navigate, and so will be treated more favourably in SERPs.
Google-proofing your page experience isn’t the easiest job in the world, but the results are well worth it!
It’s important to know that third-party tools—such as location page plugin providers or even entire content management systems—will impact your Core Web Vitals metrics. Often, these tools were built before Google CWV came about and therefore were not designed with compatibility in mind.
For example, there’s a problem that some WordPress users have reportedly been experiencing. Embedding a tweet on the platform, for instance, can impact CLS, resulting in a ranking penalty from Google.
Meanwhile, even the third-party web developers that manage location pages for multi-location brands can impact Core Web Vitals. This makes it crucial for marketers to evaluate their digital ecosystems, and make decisions that balance website functionality with improved brand visibility.
How Mobile Search Affects Local Marketers
Recent innovations have fundamentally changed mobile and local search. Local marketers must adjust by using CWV metrics to win the surge in traffic that is available through smart devices.
Between 2014 and 2019, local search query volume on mobile devices in the US jumped from 66.5 to 141.9 billion. And the pandemic has led to several local search trends that are likely to have a lasting impact:
- a 23% increase in non-branded food and services ‘near me’ searches
- an 11% boost in consumer interactions for local business
- 69% of consumers now prefer to use Google to make local queries
These large-scale trends can mean higher conversion rates for local marketers utilizing the right approach.
Core Web Vitals and SEO Strategy
Local marketers must be prepared to account for CWV in any local SEO strategy. This means optimizing business websites for search algorithms, and for mobile uers—whose patience, attention span, and ability to navigate a website aren’t the same.
These are some of the steps you can take to improve your local mobile marketing:
- Evaluate top local keywords, modifiers, and traffic before implementing a competing strategy;
- Use your location and zip code in Google Maps ads;
- Optimize content for non-branded keyword searches;
- Use click-to-call and local extension features in your local ads; and
- Optimize all user interaction pages to meet CWV standards.
You’ll also need to measure the impact and success of these actions.
Local marketing strategies are only as good as the tools you use to measure their impact—the successes, the failures, and the avenues for improvement.
Analytics technologies, dashboards, and software make it easier to collect and evaluate data for insight into marketing improvements. As you build a better approach to local SEO, these systems will represent your understanding of the market.
Here’s what you should know about popular analytics tools regarding local search and Google Core Web Vitals:
Google Analytics is your baseline tool for evaluating digital marketing results. For local results, you can even link this platform to your Google Business Profile through UTM codes. This gives you greater insight into where traffic comes from, and can help you separate and analyze multiple campaigns.
Then you can use Google Search Console to access Page Experience and Core Web Vitals reports. These provide much-needed insight into how ‘user-friendly’ your website is to engage with.
Semrush is a popular analytics tool that marketers can use to measure their local outreach. With features like position tracking for local businesses, you can observe your visibility and online interactivity in comparison to your competitors.
Semrush can also help streamline CWV optimization through audit reporting. The platform assesses site performance and gives you a clear results report, making it easier to identify and make necessary changes.
If you prefer Moz for conducting data analysis, this platform also offers local marketing assessments. From ongoing listing syncs to profile optimization, you can apply this analytical tool to measure your local success.
For Google Vore Web Vitals, Moz recently launched its Performance Metrics suite. This toolset is designed to automatically draw CWV performance insights and relay them to the marketer for action.
Maximize Your Potential
With the help of analytical tools, optimizing for Google’s Core Web Vitals is easier than ever. However, you and your team will need more than just the right tools to reach your potential.
The impact of CWV alone illustrates the importance of ongoing analytics training for web development professionals. SEO analysis skillsets change all the time, so your team needs to stay up-to-date to remain visible within your local market.
With the tools, training, and market knowledge on your side, winning local search and Core Web Vitals just became simpler. Here are some key takeways to help shape your CWV approach:
- Google’s Core Web Vitals focus on page speed, interactivity, and visual stability;
- Mobile search is increasingly defining local traffic, requiring different SEO approaches; and
- Analytics tools can help local marketers maximize and maintain visibility.
Explore what these areas mean for your local marketing endeavors, and set your business on the right path to success.