Google’s 2021 algorithm update will factor in page experience as a ranking signal. This means that if your food blog’s user experience suffers, your ranking in SERPs could drop. There are a number of elements that decide the quality of the page experience. These include core web vitals, responsiveness, safe browsing, and non-intrusive interstitials.
In this article, we’ll explain what core web vitals are and how you can optimize them to enhance your food blog’s user experience.
What Are Core Web Vitals?
In simple terms, core web vitals are policies that enable site owners to deliver enhanced user experiences for mobile users. Google’s Page Experience update will officially roll out sometime in 2021.
Source: Google Search Central Blog
There are three core web vitals food blogs should optimize to improve user experience. These are the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). These metrics tell Google:
- LCP – How fast the page loads.
- FID – How quickly the page becomes interactive.
- CLS – How stable the page is.
The good news is that mobile usability is already built into WordPress. All you have to do is make sure you’re using a responsive, SEO-friendly theme (like Foodica) and taking the necessary steps to improve your website’s core web vitals scores.
How to Optimize Core Web Vitals for Your Food Blog
To diagnose and fix user experience issues, you’ll first need a way to measure your core web vitals scores. Google recommends using either Google Search Console, Google PageSpeed Insights, or Google Lighthouse.
Note: core web vitals will be applied on a per-page basis. This means that you need to ensure that all pages within your food blog pass, as well.
Largest Contentful Paint
As the name suggests, LCP is the time it takes for the largest block of content to load on a page. This could be an image, video, or block-level text – whatever occupies the largest portion on the user’s screen. Google does this by looking at the physical size of the element.
Here’s what your LCP score means:
- Good – Less than or equal to 2.5 seconds.
- Poor – Between 2.6 seconds to 4.0 seconds.
- Bad – More than 4.0.
Many different factors can cause slow loading times. These include:
- Slow server response times
- Long time for fetching resources
To optimize your LCP score, make sure you’re using a good web host for your food blog. In terms of web design, go for a theme that isn’t too crowded.
It’s also a good idea to compress images before you upload them to your WordPress site and embed videos from video hosting platforms (like YouTube) instead of hosting them on your own server.
First Input Delay
FID tells Google when interactive elements on your food blog are ready to function. In other words, how fast will your web page respond to an action like entering a search query, clicking a button, or filling out a form. Of course, if there aren’t any user-activated elements on the web page, it won’t be calculated.
Here’s what your FID score means:
- Good – Less than or equal to 100 milliseconds.
- Poor – Between 1.1 seconds to 43.0 seconds.
- Bad – More than 3.0.
Cumulative Layout Shift
Your web page’s CLS has the potential to aggravate visitors the most. You’ve probably experienced this yourself. Here’s what happens: you load a page and try to click a button but another element (like an ad) shows up in its place and you click that instead.
In more technical terms, the element that loaded above the button shifted the page’s layout. So, CLS tells Google how fast your web page becomes stable.
Here’s what your CLS score means:
- Good – Less than or equal to 0.1
- Poor – Between 0.1 and 0.25
- Bad – More than 0.25
Unlike LCP and FID, CLS is a distance measurement. More specifically, Google calculates CLS by multiplying the impact fraction with the distance fraction. It’s also important to mention that Google only calculates unexpected layout shifts. In contrast, expected layout shifts happen when users, say, tap a menu or click a dropdown menu.
The individual CLS values are added to determine the web page’s CLS.
To optimize your food blog’s CLS, you should specify the size dimensions of the images and video elements you’re adding to the page. Similarly, you should reserve spaces on your site for displaying banner ads so they don’t shift other page elements while loading.
Recommended Food Blog Themes and Plugins
Here, we’ll run the rule over some of the best food blog themes and plugins that are optimized for mobile out of the box.
Foodica is a popular food blog theme that helps you quickly set up food-based blogs, magazines, and recipe sites. It comes with six different color themes namely pink, dark green, light green, dark, yellow, and blue.
In addition to this, Foodica gives you a recipe index, a great-looking featured slider, and offers seamless integration with WooCommerce.
Foodica offers four banner locations where you’ll be able to insert your ads. This theme is SEO-friendly out of the box, and its layout automatically adapts to fit the screen resolution of all devices, including desktop, tablets, and mobile phones.
Gourmand is a handy WordPress theme that helps you set up a professional-looking food blog. It offers a range of flexible customization options so you can easily create and modify recipe pages.
You’ll be able to easily customize any theme element, choose any color or font you want, and pick a color scheme.
Gourmand also gives you multiple ad zones for displaying banners. Its SEO-friendly design makes this WordPress food blog theme a go-to option for anyone looking to display recipes across desktop, mobile, and tablet devices.
Delicio is a great WooCommerce theme if you’re looking to create a website for your diner or restaurant. This theme is perfect for setting up an ordering system.
It has a powerful Theme Options Panel that lets you quickly customize any element to suit your particular requirements. Similarly, you can use its Visual Customizer to choose colors and fonts to match your branding needs.
Delicio is SEO-friendly and fully responsive on all device sizes.
Recipe Card Blocks
Recipe Card Blocks is an SEO-friendly plugin for anyone looking for an easy (and visually-appealing) way to create and showcase recipes on their website.
It lets you show star ratings next to your recipes as well as embedded recipe videos in search results pages. The plugin comes with schema markup allowing you to highlight your food blog using structured data.
In addition to this, you’ll be able to use blocks to show recipe cards, recipe details, ingredients, directions, and nutrition facts.
Optimize Core Web Vitals Today
By optimizing core web vitals, you’ll be able to deliver a good user experience to visitors, get fast page loading times, and stand out from competitors by ranking higher in SERPs. The first step is to install a mobile-friendly food blog theme to start off with great core web vitals scores right off the bat.