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Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is important when optimizing user experience. The unexpected shifting of elements on a web page during loading can be frustrating and leave a negative impression on visitors. Measuring CLS and understanding its causes are important steps to avoid or reduce this problem so you can provide your website users with the best browsing experience possible. In this article, we’ll go into detail about CLS and provide practical tips on how you can reduce it. You’ll also learn why Google has announced that CLS will be an important ranking factor in its Page Experience Update as part of Core Web Vitals.

Measuring CLS

Measuring CLS is an essential step in optimizing the user experience. It involves calculating the movement when content is loaded on a web page. This can be determined by dividing the total distance (in pixels) by the viewport size. Based on this measurement, Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) values are then calculated, ranging from 0 to 1, with higher values representing greater shifts in layout.

There are several tools that website owners can use to evaluate their CLS value and improve it if necessary. Examples include Lighthouse from Google Chrome and PageSpeed Insights from Google, which provide detailed reports with recommendations for improving CLS performance. In addition, some third-party vendors like WebPagetest offer specialized services for analyzing page speed metrics like CLS and provide actionable insights on optimizing your site’s performance on different devices or browsers. With these powerful tools, we have everything we need to accurately measure our website’s CLS score and make any necessary changes to ensure a great user experience across all platforms!

To measure Cumulative Layout Shift, a few tools allow website owners to evaluate the impact of CLS on user experience. One such tool is PageSpeed Insights from Google, which analyzes your entire site, including any layout shift issues. The Chrome User Experience Report also provides a score for CLS and other metrics such as initial content rendering and time to interaction. Other popular third-party options include Lighthouse and WebpageTest, which offer insights into your site’s performance and ratings for key metrics like CLS. Additionally, if you’re using WordPress or another CMS platform with built-in analytics, check their reports for information on layout changes on individual pages or across the entire site. Regardless of which tool you use to measure CLS, you must track this metric regularly to control any unexpected elements.

Causes of CLS

Poor website design and structure are among the leading causes of Cumulative layout shift (CLS). This can happen when elements on the page are not properly sized, positioned, or loaded in the correct order. Images that take too long to load can also lead to CLS as they push other elements down the page. Other culprits include inconsistent font sizes and colors, sticky headers and footers with fixed positions, and insufficient spacing between sections. Poorly planned navigation structures can also contribute to CLS by forcing visitors to scroll up or down unexpectedly as they try to click through pages. These issues create an unpleasant user experience that may keep visitors away from your site altogether.

Technical issues like slow load times can contribute to Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). When images, text, and other elements on a website take too long to load, they may be pushed or dropped onto the page unexpectedly. This sudden movement can disrupt the user’s browsing experience and cause frustration. CLS is especially problematic on mobile devices, where pages often load longer than on desktop computers. Poorly optimized websites are more prone to this problem, as users have less time to wait for content to render correctly before their patience runs out. Moreover, if third-party scripts are used for tracking or analytics purposes that are not correctly implemented into the codebase, this can cause loading delays that are noticeable when CLS visits your website.

Tips for Reducing CLS

Optimizing Your Site for Mobile is key to reducing Cumulative Layout Shifts. Ensuring that your website is optimized for mobile devices will help minimize CLS by ensuring elements of the page load correctly and don’t cause any unexpected movement as they do so. Ensure all images, videos, text, and other content are sized properly – not too large or small – which helps reduce CLS. It’s also important to avoid using too much JavaScript or third-party code on a page; this can increase page load times and cause unexpected movements when loading. Finally, consider using lazy-loading techniques to ensure only visible content is loaded initially – this decreases total page weight while still providing an optimal experience on smaller screens. By optimizing your site for mobile users, you can help prevent unwelcome shifts in layout during loading time which leads to improved user satisfaction overall.

Properly sizing images and videos is essential for optimizing the user experience with cumulative layout shift. To reduce CLS, the dimensions of an image or video should not exceed its container size on both desktop and mobile devices. For example, a website banner that is 800px wide should not have an accompanying image larger than 800px wide. If it does, the page may take longer to load due to increased file size, resulting in unexpected movement during loading as other elements shift around it. Additionally, any embedded videos must be optimized for slow connections by ensuring their bitrate does not exceed 3 Mbps to stream smoothly without disrupting the rest of the page’s layout. By paying attention to these details when creating media content, you can ensure your visitors can enjoy a smooth browsing experience free from unpleasant surprises caused by unexpected shifts in layout during loading times.

Managing Third-Party Content Sources

Asynchronous loading of ads and widgets is an effective way to reduce cumulative layout shifts on your website. By setting up scripts that load external elements asynchronously, you can prevent them from causing disruptive shifts in the page’s layout as they load. This means that users will have a more consistent experience when browsing your site, as they won’t be surprised by unexpected movements of elements on the screen. In addition, this contributes to higher user satisfaction and can improve search engine rankings, as the Google Page Experience Update includes CLS when evaluating ranking potential or penalizing poor-performing pages. To further optimize user experience, it’s recommended to implement a slow content loading strategy so that only relevant information is loaded at a given time, which increases speed without compromising content quality.

Implementing a lazy-load strategy for assets effectively reduces cumulative layout shift (CLS) on your website. By loading resources only when needed, such as images that appear further down the page or ads and widgets triggered by user interaction, you can significantly minimize unexpected shifts of page elements, resulting in a better user experience. Moreover, since most modern browsers support lazy loading techniques such as the Intersection Observer API and the Element Visibility API, implementing one of these strategies should be fairly straightforward. Using tools such as WebPageTest or Lighthouse Audit, you can easily test whether a particular asset is loaded using lazy loading methods before it’s visible to the user and optimize performance accordingly.

Increasing Page Speed and Performance

Compressing resources for a faster website load time is one of the most important steps to optimize the user experience. When your web pages are larger than necessary, they can take longer to download and render, resulting in delays that disrupt user flow. To reduce page loading times, you should compress all images and other media files as much as possible without sacrificing quality. Additionally, try using lazy loading techniques when available; this involves only downloading content visible onscreen before anything else loads, so users don’t have to wait for unnecessary content if they don’t use it anyway. These strategies can help improve the server response times and minimize CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift). This will ensure visitors get an optimal experience without interruptions or shifts during page visits.

Optimizing server response time is essential for improving page speed and performance. An optimized server typically responds to queries faster, improving load times. It’s important to keep the size of resources as small as possible when loading them onto a web page; doing so can help reduce the amount of data that needs to be transferred from the server to your visitor’s browsers. Streamlining database requests and caching frequently-accessed content can lower response times by limiting interactions with the database or other back-end sources. By taking measures such as these, website owners and developers can ensure their pages are served up quickly for better user experience, including minimizing CLS on a web page due to unexpected layout shifts during loading.

Leverage Browser Caching

Browser caching effectively improves website performance by allowing the browser to store information from previous visits and quickly retrieve it when needed. This shortens the page loading time for visitors, making the visit more efficient and enjoyable. It also reduces the load on web servers and hosting resources, as they don’t have to work as hard for every request. Implementing standardized caching practices can ensure that cumulative layout shift (CLS) is minimized on all site pages, resulting in a smoother user experience during page load time. By using browser caching techniques on your website, visitors can have an improved browsing experience while reducing the server’s workload – everyone benefits!

Implementing standard caching practices can help optimize your website’s user experience. Caching stores specific data, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files, in each visitor’s browser to retrieve them quickly when the user revisits a page or navigates to other pages on the same domain. This means that not all of these elements need to be reloaded every time someone visits your website, but only parts are updated when necessary. By using browser caching techniques, such as setting cache expiration headers, you can ensure that users don’t have to wait for Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) updates when it’s not necessary. In addition, use compression technologies such as GZip, which reduce file sizes to improve load times and further reduce the impact of CLS by placing fewer demands on server resources and speeding up deployment.

Best Practices For Minimizing CLS

Streamlining rendering processes is one of the best ways to minimize cumulative layout shifts. This means reducing the number of resources a browser needs to load to correctly display your page – such as script files, stylesheets, and images. When fewer resources are needed, browsers can render pages more efficiently and quickly, which reduces unexpected movement on your site. In addition, code optimization is important for minimizing CLS because it reduces browsers’ time to parse each resource before loading it onto a page. Compressing image files also helps reduce their file size so that they do not take a long time or multiple requests from the user’s device to display correctly on a web page; this further optimizes the user experience when browsing your website.

When optimizing the user experience, minimizing cumulative layout shift (CLS) is important. One important way to achieve this is to use placeholder elements when possible. Placeholder elements are used as temporary placeholders for images or other dynamic content that will be loaded later. This allows users to see the page structure without being affected by unexpected layout changes. In addition, avoiding overloading pages with too much content can help reduce CLS and improve the user experience. Too much data on a page increases the likelihood that the layout will change during the loading process, which can lead to visitor frustration or confusion. Keeping your web pages lean and focused can help ensure smooth transitions between states and minimize disruption from changes in page size and shape due to a large amount of data or media content.

Why CLS Is an Important Metric for Websites

Content Layout Shift (CLS) is an important factor that affects user experience as it can cause unexpected movement of elements on web pages during loading. When CLS occurs, visitors can become frustrated and disappointed with the website, leaving a negative impression. Therefore, preventing or reducing CLS is critical to user satisfaction and good website performance. Moreover, with the Page Experience Update, Google has made CLS an important metric for search engine rankings. Optimizing your website’s content layout shift is crucial to maximizing online visibility and attracting more visitors.

Google recently announced that Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) would be an important ranking factor in its upcoming Page Experience Update. This signals the growing importance of CLS as a key metric for websites, as it directly impacts user satisfaction and experience. When elements on a web page shift unexpectedly during the loading process, it can disrupt the browsing experience and lead to frustration with the site. This can lead to a poor overall impression of the website and ultimately lower rankings on Google search engine results pages (SERPs). By optimizing CLS, website owners can provide a smoother experience for their visitors, leading to better user reviews and rankings in SERPs. It’s important to measure CLS regularly to identify problems early before they become too disruptive or harmful to your SEO performance.

Conclusion: Optimizing Cumulative Layout Shift for Improved User Experience

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) can significantly impact the user experience by disrupting the browsing process and causing frustration for visitors. Website owners need to take steps to measure CLS regularly and identify any issues that are affecting user satisfaction. These include optimizing code or compressing images to reduce page load times, efficiently managing third-party content sources through asynchronous loading practices, browser caching practices, and right-sizing videos or other multimedia elements. In addition, the upcoming Google Page Experience Update will make CLS an important factor in determining search engine rankings – meaning site owners should prioritize reducing this metric to maximize visibility online. By following these best practices for minimizing CLS, you can create the best user experience possible while boosting your SEO performance.

About the author

SEO Strategist with 16 years of experience