- Nico Bistolfi
Images & Core Web Vitals: What to expect
In June 2021, Google is expected to launch its Page Experience algorithm. This is going to be a key element that will have an impact on web site rankings. The aim is to measure through the Core Web Vitals different aspects of a website’s user experience. Anyway, according to Google, sites should not expect dramatic changes when this update rolls out, since page experience will be one of several factors taken into consideration when ranking web pages.
What are Core Web Vitals?
The Core Web Vitals is an initiative by Google to measure aspects of web usability such as load time, interactivity, and the visual stability of content on the web pages as they load. In other words, they are a set of specific factors that Google considers important in a webpage’s overall user experience.
User experience and site quality are essential elements to Google. With each update, including Core Web Vitals, Google moves forward in its search for new ways to determine what makes for a better user experience and a higher quality website. Along with that, Google keeps finding new ways to quantifiably measure things that previously were not quantifiable within a website’s user experience.
We should keep in mind that with Core Web Vitals, it isn’t the last time Google will roll out a change related to user experience. While the focus should be on improving the Core Web Vitals metrics, in fact companies need to find other ways to improve all aspects of their website’s user experience.
Core Web Vitals are really more about user experience than about ranking in Google. And all in all, the user experience is what really makes the difference between someone becoming a loyal user or them leaving the site and never coming back.
According to Google, for pages that meet the Core Web Vitals, visitors are 24% less likely to leave the site. So even if the Core Web Vitals are not an official Google ranking factor, they are still important because they provide a better user experience.
To sum up, Core Web Vitals are real-world experience metrics that measure the web performance, focusing on user experience. These signals include loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of the page.
They consist of three main signals:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP),
- First Input Delay (FID)
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
Core Web Vitals Ranking Factor: Images
Image optimization is a really useful art to master, since images are the cornerstone of every online presence; as soon as you optimize them, you reduce site loading time as a result.
The process of optimizing web images involves delivering high-quality images in the right format, dimension, size, and resolution, while keeping the smallest possible size.
It can be done in different ways. You can manually reduce the size of every image or you can use one of the many tools available that use an intelligent compression algorithm. Piio, for example ;)
Tips for image optimization:
- Compress your images
- Use new generation image formats such as WebP or JPEG 2000.
- Replace Animated GIFs with videos
It is important to bear in mind that web performance is a critical ranking factor that search engines use. Many factors determine page speeds, and image use is among one of the top positions. If you do not optimize images, your web performance will be affected. The pages will load slowly, which results in a poor user experience and engagement.
To wrap it up, you should choose the right image format; then, use techniques like resizing and compressing to reduce the file size. Scheduling regular page tests and site audits to check the performance of the site is a great idea too.
Optimize images for web.
If your website is throwing a poor LCP, there is a likely connection to the presence of unoptimized images; they are one of the most often causes of poor LCP. Since images such as banners, hero banners, carousels and featured images are common to find in web sites, it is vital that you make sure these are optimized.
There are several tools to compress images before you upload them. As we mentioned before, reducing the file size of images reduces the load. Using modern image formats is also a key factor.
Improving Largest Contentful Paint
Largest Contentful Paint is a key metric, so you need to make sure that your Largest Contentful Paint score remains high, giving your website a competitive advantage over the rest.
As it happens with First Contentful Paint, you can also improve your Largest Contentful Paint score by following some methods:
- Optimize The Server To Improve The LCP Score
The loading time of your website depends a lot on the server, so you need to find a server that offers a better infrastructure in order to help the site improve its performance. If the server is not fast enough, your site users will get to an empty page.
- Optimize the images of your website
Using incorrect image size will affect your Largest Contentful Paint score in a negative way. If the browser takes a long time to load the image, it will slow down the website loading speed.
- Use browser hints
There are various browser hints you can use such as defer, pre-render, preload, and prefetch to improve your Largest Contentful Paint score. They are applicable for certain actions. For example, you can use the defer browser hint for unrelated files to the Largest Contentful Painting content.
- Improve the score by using Content Delivery Network
A CDN service will make your browser fast enough for users located outside your geographical area. Because the farther the users are away from your location, the more time it will take as the browser request will need to move to load the site. To load your images quickly you can also use a Content Delivery Network service.