Core Web Vitals is Google’s magical set of metrics that were developed to help website owners and managers improve their page performance for their digital visitors – and as a reward the world’s largest search engine will rank you higher in the results page.
They’re a big deal for website owners, and by connecting ecommerce brands and retailers, because good Core Web Vitals scores trickles into greater leads, higher sales, and more advertising revenue.
The performance of a page is vital as it reduces the time that it takes for the visitor to get the information and images that they want.
But keep in mind that the speed of a page doesn’t surpass the quality of the content. In fact, Google has said that the strength of the content outweighs the influence of Core Web Vitals.
Having said that, the technical side of performance is very much integrated into the whole. All of the three Core Web Vitals – as well as the much broader landscape of site metrics – capture key user-focused outcomes, they are measurable in the field, and are destined to be intertwined with one another: Although Largest Contentful Paint weighs 25% of the total metrics analyzed by Google, it is dependent on First Contentful Paint as well as Time to First Byte (a non-Core metric).
So with this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the more common questions when it comes to what Core Web Vitals are, what they mean, and how to improve them.
Does Google recommend that all pages hit good scores across all Core Web Vitals?
It’s recommended that websites use all three as a threshold for the ideal user experience. The three metrics that make up the Core Web Vitals are all assessed at the individual page level. So it’s entirely plausible that the page performance across the entire website will be uneven, with some pages supercharged for speed while others lag behind.
The benefit of hitting all optimal Core Web Vitals is a much better website experience for visitors. And so to maintain smooth digital journeys, ensure that all pages across a website are optimized, not just the homepage or most popular pages.
When building with accelerated mobile pages (AMP), do they meet the ideal Core Web Vitals scores?
It’s highly likely that if you’re building AMP pages then they will achieve good scores when it comes to Core Web Vitals. As its name suggests, accelerated mobile pages are optimized for mobile and velocity, being able to deliver quality user experiences. The goals of AMP pages are ideally aligned with the measures that Core Web Vitals prioritize, after all. There are things, however, that are beyond the purview of AMP pages, such as sluggish server response times as well as under optimized images.
Can a session that does not report First Input Delay be considered bounced?
Put simply, no. First Input Delay excludes scrolls, and also, there are sessions that are legitimate with no non-scroll input. Issues such as abandonment rates and bounce rates are defined as part of the analytics suite that is used, and are not considered within the design of Core Web Vitals metrics.
How is it determined which pages are affected by the page experience assessment as a ranking?
The page experience is only one of the many signals used to determine its ranking. Other considerations, such as the intent of the search query, remain highly relevant. And so a page with a poor page experience still might rank highly due to its relevant and quality content.
If good Core Web Vitals scores are not achieved, what can website owners and managers expect to happen?
The technical answer to this remains unclear given the short amount of exposure that Core Web Vitals have been with us for. But if a webpage measures poorly in terms of Core Web Vitals, it will likely suppress its ranking on Chrome. Yet because other aspects are in play here, such as the relevance of the content to the visitor’s search query, a page lacking in good Core Web Vitals scores may be elevated slightly up the search engine rankings due to the right content.
Why are there warnings on the Core Web Vitals report even though a page seems fast?
There is a broad range of factors at play when it comes to determining the performance of a page. These include the device, whether it’s on laptop or mobile, which network connection it is on, the geographic location, and so on. And so this means that the same page may load hyperfast in one location on a particular device yet load sluggishly in another location on a different device. Core Web Vitals takes into account the entire company of user visits and its scores are assessed at the 75th percentile.