SEO Cheat Sheet For Home Builders – Google’s Core Web Vitals


Still Debating SEO for your 2021 Plan?

Gone are the days of keyword stuffing and buying links as an effort to gain website awareness and climb the ranks on Google and other search engines. And while you may think that SEO is ‘nice-to-have’ tactic in your digital marketing toolbox, the reality is those who partake are seeing huge gains, while those who sit on the sidelines are forced to drive traffic through paid efforts. With over 200+ ranking factors that go into Google’s search algorithm, there are always a few that get special attention as Google slowly tries to influence and push the online experience one step further. Some of these special initiatives that were top of mind over the past couple years include updating your domain from a non-secure to a secure site (http:// to https://), increased Page Speeds, and of course, Mobile first indexing. Earlier this year Google announced its most recent changes to the search algorithm, Core Web Vitals, and this update is expected to impact builder’s sites in early 2021. Here’s what you need to know.

What are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are the subset of Web Vitals that apply to all web pages, should be measured by all site owners, and will be surfaced across all Google tools. Each of the Core Web Vitals represents a distinct facet of the user experience, is measurable in the field, and reflects the real-world experience of a critical user-centric outcome.

The metrics that make up Core Web Vitals will evolve over time. The current set for 2020 focuses on three aspects of the user experience—loading, interactivity, and visual stability—and here are the corresponding Core Web Vitals that Google has identified as presently important in quantifying and qualifying these areas of the user experience:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) — Loading (How fast your site appears on the screen)

First Input Delay (FID) — Interactivity (How fast your site reacts to the input of a user)

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) — Visual Stability (How much things are moving on the screen while the site is loading)


I can't see any useful content! Why does it take so long to load? – These are the last words any builder wants to hear when a potential homebuyers lands on their site. Largest Contentful Paint measures when the largest content element in the viewport becomes visible. It can be used to determine when the main content of the page has finished rendering on the screen. Some common causes of a poor LCP score include; slow server response times, render-blocking JavaScript and CSS, slow resource load times and client-side rendering.


First Input Delay captures a user's first impression of a site's interactivity and responsiveness. It measures the time from when a user first interacts with a page to the time when the browser is actually able to respond to that interaction. FID is a field metric and cannot be simulated in a lab environment. A real user interaction is required in order to measure the response delay. To help predict the FID, it’s recommended to focus on your site’s Total Blocking Time (TBT) and although they measure slightly different things, and improvement in your TBT corresponds with improvements in FID.


"I was about to click that! Why did it move? --Without a doubt one of the most frustrating experiences on a website is when things move or disappear. Layout shifts can also be distracting to homebuyers and can cause them not to take action on a landing page, and even worse, bounce. The Cumulative Layout Shift measures the instability of content by summing shift scores across layout shifts that don't occur within 500ms of user input. It looks at how much visible content shifted in the viewport as well as the distance the elements impacted were shifted. Some common causes of poor CLS are; images without dimensions, Ads or embeds or iframes without dimensions, dynamically injected content.

How Do I Get Started with Core Web Vitals?

The three Core Web Vitals will become some of the most basic metrics to measure when it comes to how homebuyers experience your website.  And while there is still some time before these updates go into effect, Google is always on the hunt to create an online experience that mimics the behavior of its users versus what a computer software determines (engage weird robot dance with arms!).

Work with BDX to implement an SEO strategy so we can begin testing your Core Web Vitals today! Diving deep now and making the appropriate changes to your website means less to no impact when these changes do go live, and an ever better home buying experience for your customers.


About the Author

Builders Digital Experience

At BDX, our team of experts sets us apart. For over 20 years, we’ve helped top builders successfully market their new home communities. We work with over 1000 builders to create successful digital marketing programs. Our professionals are experts in the latest technology, marketing, and industry trends.

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