Remember the speed report in Google Search Console? It’s gone.
Don’t worry, though. You can still get info about how quickly your web pages load with the new Core Web Vitals report.
Here’s what you need to know about Google Search Console’s Core Web Vitals
What We’ll Cover:
- Podcast: Overview Of How To Prepare For Google’s Core Web Vitals Update
- Core Web Vitals’ Purpose
- Where To Find The Report
- Understanding The Metrics
- SEO Opinions On Core Web Vitals
- Core Web Vitals vs. Pagespeed Metrics
- How Does This Change Your SEO?
Podcast: How To Prepare For Google’s Core Web Vitals Update
Core Web Vitals Purpose: All About User Experience
If you’ve been paying attention to this blog for any length of time, then you know that Google is obsessed with user experience. That means you should be, too.
Why? Because pages that offer a great experience are likely to rank better than user-hostile pages.
To that end, Google now provides you with info about load time metrics in Search Console. You don’t even have to visit another website like PageSpeed Insights to get the data you’re looking for.
Specifically, Core Web Vitals will show you how fast your web pages load on mobile and desktop devices. Assuming there’s enough data to measure for both platforms, of course.
Where to Find the Core Web Vitals Report
You can access Core Web Vitals via the left-hand sidebar in Google Search Console. It’s in the Enhancements section.
When you click on it, you’ll see two line graphs. One for mobile traffic and one for desktop traffic.
Again, though, you might not see one graph or the other if you don’t have enough traffic from a specific platform for Google to get a read on load times.
The lines on the graphs are color-coded:
- Red lines are bad. They represent pages that load slowly.
- Yellow lines are okay. They represent pages that could use some improvement.
- Green lines are good. They represent pages that load quickly.
If you want details, you can click the “OPEN REPORT” link at the top of either graph. On the page that opens, you’ll see a bar graph with a Details table just below.
Understanding the Core Web Vitals Report Metrics
So which “vitals” will you get info about in the Core Web Vitals report? There are three of them.
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – Measures when the page’s main content has “likely” loaded. Google uses the word “likely” because its agent might not get an exact measurement. Ideally, you want this number to fall under two seconds.
- First Input Delay (FID) – Quantifies the experience users feel when they first try to interact with the page. If a user can’t even scroll for a few seconds then you’ll see red on your graphs.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – Measures visual stability. If you’re trying to load your page quickly by pushing all your CSS code to the bottom of the page, then users will see a flash of unformatted content (FOUC). You can expect to get poor marks on this metric if you’re going that route even though you’re trying to load the page more quickly.
Google feeds other data into those metrics as well. For example, LCP is derived from First Contentful Paint (FCP) and Time to First Byte (TTFB).
Online Poll: SEOs Will Prioritize Core Web Vitals
Speaking of Core Web Vitals, a new online poll released this past week shows that SEOs will prioritize optimizing their sites to meet those standards.
Aleyda Solis conducted the survey in response to a recent statement by Google’s Danny Sullivan, who said that page experience won’t start off as a significant ranking factor immediately.
The poll asked SEOs if that statement changes their current Core Web Vitals optimization priorities. Here are the results:
- Yes: Won’t prioritize it now – 6.9%
- No: Is a priority still – 53.8%
- No: Never prioritized – 16.9%
- Just wanna see results – 22.5%
So it looks like most SEOs are playing the long game by improving user experience right away even though it won’t matter much for a while. That’s a good thing.
Core Web Vitals vs. PageSpeed Insights
Core Web Vitals differ from PageSpeedInsights in one significant way: the report only measures the experience of real-world users.
If you visit PageSpeed Insights, Google will crawl your page and give you a report based on what its software found.
Does this Change Your SEO?
Wrapping It Up
Google ranks websites, in part, based on user experience. That’s why you should offer as great an experience as possible to all your visitors.
Take a few minutes today to visit Google Search Console and check the Core Web Vitals reports for all your properties. You might find that you need to make some changes.