Beyond the realm of the much talked about Core Web Vitals, there is a broader and deeper landscape of website metrics that play a key role in the performance, speed, and stability of websites.
Because they make up the largest chunks of a site’s performance, Core Web Vitals are excellent starting points for enhancing digital experiences. But they don’t make up the entire digital landscape.
For a strong and stable performance, brands and retailers will need to broaden their concerns to other website metrics. Here is a handful of them.
Time to Interactive
Time to Interactive measures how long it takes a page to be fully interactive – i.e. from the time the first element begins to load to the time there are no long tasks preventing the user from interacting with the pag (typically 50 milliseconds or longer).
According to Google: “To provide a good user experience, sites should strive to have a Time to Interactive of less than 5 seconds when tested on average mobile hardware.”
According to research carried out by Searchmetrics, which analyzed 2 million URLs and found that all of the top 20 ranking websites didn’t achieve a “good” score when it came to Time to Interactive. However, a lot of websites had very similar TTI scores.
Even right at the top, scores were not great. Google’s benchmark score is 5 seconds, yet the top 5 average was 5.9 seconds.
First Contentful Paint
First Contentful Paint measures the time it takes the browser to render the first piece of content after a user attempts to land on a website.
As Google put it: “Your FCP score is a comparison of your page’s FCP time and FCP times for real websites, based on data from the HTTP Archive. For example, sites performing in the ninety-ninth percentile render FCP in about 1.5 seconds. If your website’s FCP is 1.5 seconds, your FCP score is 99.”
The benchmark for First Contentful Paint is currently under 2 seconds. Fortunately, this is a metric that many get right. The average among the top 5 was 1.58 seconds.
An important thing to keep in mind is that these benchmarks are set by Google and can easily change in the future depending on the capabilities of technology and the expectations of users.
The Speed Index measures the time it takes for content to visually be displayed during the loading process. Fortunately, almost all pages dip below the benchmark set by Google, which is 4.3 seconds. And when it comes to the top 5 average, they score 2.01 seconds.
However, if most websites score well when it comes to Speed Index, that isn’t going to be enough to separate yourself from competitors. It is simply more of a given, or an expectation, that you need to maintain, rather than a point of site strength. Yet it is a good building block to begin the improvement of a website’s performance.