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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The effect of Core Web Vitals on your SPA according to the new Google algorithm

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We often come across numerous and complex terms in the world of technology, which we must have internalize in order to get the most out of a website and, therefore, a business. Here, we want to talk about two fundamental concepts: Core Web Vitals and a web built with SPA architecture – Single Page Application , for its acronym in English; or one-page application, in Spanish—.

The update of the Google algorithm will mean a new way in which a web page with SPA architecture is analyzed for the ranking of the famous search engine. From May 2021, the metrics in relation to Core Web Vitals , that is, Google’s indicators to measure the performance of a website, will be included in the algorithm. For some, it may not accurately reflect the user experience on these types of web pages.

In order to understand why Core Web Vitals indicators may not fully reflect reality, we need to know how a Single Page Application works and what the new algorithm could mean for the positioning of a website in Google. At the end of the day, we all want to appear on the first page when searching for our products and services.


What is a SPA web page or Single Page Application?

A SPA ( Single Page Application ) web page is built, as the name suggests, on a single JavaScript application. Unlike a traditional website with multiple pages that are requested from the server in its entirety, a SPA website only extracts those parts that are necessary. The codes on which it is built —HTML, CSS and JavaScript— are loaded only once or partially loaded in response to the specific actions of a user.

The main objective of this type of web page is to provide users with greater fluidity, avoiding unnecessary loading times and allowing more dynamic navigability, by not having to load all the content repeatedly. The typical process when accessing a website built with SPA architecture is as follows:

  1. The web is accessed with its URL.
  2. A loading animation appears before entering the main page.
  3. The web built entirely with JavaScript loads in one go.
  4. The initial content is displayed.
  5. What the user wants to access is updated with the new requests from the server, but it does not need to be completely reloaded.

In the last five years, this model has become relevant and this type of web architecture is gaining traction as it offers a better user experience and can effectively separate both the front end and the back end for web developers. Of course, there is no pro without it, and that is that the initial loading time can be higher, since you need to load all the JavaScript code beforehand, causing the SEO score to suffer. This is where Core Web Vitals come into play .


The importance of Core Web Vitals in relation to a SPA website

Core Web Vitals are the indicators that measure the experience of users on a website to position them in Google search results according to their performance. With them, they seek to measure the following concepts, which will be taken into account for updating the positioning algorithm.


Largest Contentful Paint (LCD)

This metric measures the perceived loading speed or Largest Contentful Paint (LCD) . It will determine when the main content is fully loaded and becomes useful to users. According to Google, web developers should achieve the goal of full load of the web in a time of 2.5 seconds, in order to have an optimal score on LCD.

  • 0 to 2.5 seconds: good
  • 2.5 seconds to 4 seconds: needs improvement
  • From 4 seconds onwards: bad


First Input Delay (FID)

Pages must reach an FID of less than 100 milliseconds. The metric wants to measure the time it takes for the web page to respond for the first time, quantifying the user experience when starting to interact with the pages. In general, when the main navigation thread does not respond to the user, it is because they are busy doing something else. According to Google, the latter can also occur because the browser is busy analyzing and executing a large JavaScript file by some application.


Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

The CLS measures the visual stability with respect to the unexpected design changes of the content of a website. Basically it tries to penalize those web pages that move before being able to click on a site that the user already had registered, a third-party ad that is resized by misaligning the text, or those resources that load in a disorderly way; something that reminds us of our own experience as users on certain pages.


Why Core Web Vitals May Not Reflect a Realistic User Experience

Several of the main reasons why Core Web Vitals indicators can be unfair for the Google positioning of your SPA website are the following:

  1. They do not analyze the performance of subsequent pages . As much as you put your efforts into the performance of the subsequent pages to the initial one, that is, try that, although your home page metrics are somewhat mediocre – but making a more pleasant user experience for the following sections – Google does not will take it into account beyond the initial LCP.
  2. A single design issue can affect the entire score . The CLS is a cumulative metric for the visual and design stability of a web page. A simple mistake or design problem can affect your entire score, penalizing your ranking in Google.
  3. Google admits its limitation . Google admitted that Core Web Vitals have their limitations for SPA architecture websites. Although they have promised to continue working on them, you only have to be aware of them, analyze your competition and invest in the optimization of your website. Above all, we must not forget that the web must first satisfy the user.
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