Google has clearly defined a set of metrics for which brands and retailers – well, everyone who has a website – should focus in on, monitor, and improve if they are looking to boost their digital performance on the search engine.
In establishing Core Web Vitals, Google has attempted to provide a simplified and streamlined outline of prioritized metrics.
The expectations of users when it comes to digital experiences varies depending on the site as well as the context. Others, however, remain smooth and consistent regardless of where the user is on the site.
Core Web Vitals are the metrics that all websites now need to meet if they want to both run fast and rank high. The metrics that Google is targeting are directed towards the loading time, the visual stability, and the interactivity.
Measuring the experience
The quality of a website run on Google is primarily judged on three core metrics: the Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay, and Cumulative Layout Shift.
The importance of these metrics is summed up by Google: “All of these metrics capture important user-centric outcomes, are field measurable, and have supporting lab diagnostic metric equivalents and tooling.
“For example, while Largest Contentful Paint is the topline loading metric, it is also highly dependent on First Contentful Paint (FCP) and Time to First Byte (TTFB), which remain critical to monitor and improve.”
Website owners can measure their Core Web Vitals scores using the following tools:
- Search Console
- PageSpeed Insights
- Chrome DevTools
- Chrome UX Report
- Web Vitals Extension
Within Search Console, there is a report that helps website owners evaluate their webpages. It identifies the pages that need the most attention based on real-world user data from the Chrome UX report.
Within PageSpeed Insights, it uses Lighthouse 6.0 so that it is able to measure the Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay, and Cumulative Layout Shift in both field and lab sections. And among all the metrics that it measures, the Core Web Vitals are also labeled with a blue ribbon for clarification.
A bit about LCP and CLS
Both Largest Contentful Paint and Cumulative Layout Shift are metrics that are lab implementations and give information about diagnostics used for UX optimization. One of the newer metrics is Total Blocking Time (TBT) and correlates well with First Input Delay, which is the third Core Web Vitals metric.
Then there is the Chrome UX Report (which is also known as CrUX) which is a dataset of real-world user experiences based on millions of websites. The CrUX report measures the field versions of all of the Core Web Vitals, i.e real-world data rather than laboratory data.
Chrome DevTools, also, has been updated to provide assistance to website owners when it comes to making visible the instabilities within a page. To visualize where the shift occurs – which is picked up by Cumulative Layout Shift – you can hover the arrow over the Moved fields after selecting Layout Shift.