Core Web Vitals Data

The 3 Core Web Vitals metrics are now well-established as ranking factors within Google’s algorithm but what is considered a good “score” has changed over time as technical capabilities have improved and user expectations have risen. Does you website measure up to the latest basic standard? Find out how to check Core Web Vitals for your website…

core web vitals guide

Updated: 31 January 2023

Read on to find out more or Download the PDF Guide here

Google uses more than 200 factors as “ranking signals” when deciding where to rank any single web page in the search results (SERPs). However, it has also been suggested that each of these “ranking signals” could be a whole system in it’s own right. That’s not surprising considering the sophistication of Google’s algorithm. And when there was a leak of Google algorithm data on GitHub in March – May 2024 some of the subsequent analysis of the leaked data by Mike King of iPullRank suggested the same.

Way back in June 2021, 3 new metrics were added to this list of ranking factors making user experience more important than ever. Google took the unusual step of announcing this algorithm change in advance and reporting these metrics in their free tools before the algorithm was updated. This was a clear indication of the importance of this update yet many websites still do not meet the minimum requirements to pass the Core Web Vitals tests.

Then in early 2024, Google changed one of these metrics to better determine how responsive a web page is during all visitor interactions, such as tapping a button or clicking a link. The original metric – First Input Delay – only checked the first visitor interaction. The new 2024 metric – Interaction to Next Paint – is a more complete measure of a good user experience.

The key thing for businesses to remember is that meeting the minimum requirements of these new metrics gives website visitors a better experience, making them more likely to become customers. Websites that fail to meet these standard could be missing out on customers and revenue.

There are 3 technical terms for these measures, which we outline below but, simply put, they are all about how quickly a visitor can see and interact with a web page (e.g. by clicking a button). These metrics are a more refined instrument to measure page experience than the page loading speed. Let’s take a closer look at what these metrics are:

LCP – Largest Contentful Paint

One factor in a poor user experience is how long it takes to see something on the screen. One measure of this is First Contentful Paint (FCP) which is how long it takes to see the first piece of content on a page, but a better measure is LCP, which is how long it takes to see the largest element on the page, such as an image or text block, which is usually the most important from a user perspective. To pass the LCP test the largest element on the page must load in less than 2.5 seconds.

LCP - Largest Contentful Paint - metric boundaries

INP – Interaction to Next Paint

This metric replaced FID (First Input Delay) in early 2024 and measures how much time elapses between a user interaction (like
a button click or tap) and the “next paint” that visually updates the web page. For example, if it takes the page 500 milliseconds to update,
that is the INP value.

INP- Interaction to Next Paint - metric boundaries

CLS – Cumulative Layout Shift

This is a score that measures how often different parts of a web page move from the initial position in which a viewer sees it to the final, stable position. An example of a layout shift is when a section of text appears first but then an image is loaded above it – pushing the text further down the screen.

CLS - Cumulative Layout Shift - metric boundaries

What to do now…

  • Check Core Web Vitals in Google Search Console for warnings or errors.
  • Take action to resolve any warnings or errors.  The free Google tool PageSpeed Insights provides recommendations on how to improve individual web pages but you will need the help of a web developer. A developer will also be able to access the Lighthouse tool on which the data in PageSpeed Insights is based.
  • Remember the other important factors when it comes to page experience for website visitors:
    • Use a secure protocol for data transfer i.e. https
    • Ensure web pages are mobile friendly
    • Avoid intrusive popups

About Michelle Symonds

Established as an SEO specialist since 2009, following a career as a software engineer in the oil industry and investment banking. Michelle draws on her IT and web development experience to develop best-practice processes for implementing successful SEO strategies. Her pro-active approach to SEO enables organisations to raise their online profile and reach new audiences, both nationally and internationally. She has a wealth of cross-industry experience from startups to Fortune 500 companies .

3 thoughts on “Check Core Web Vitals to see how your website measures up

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  2. Hi, good to see Google finally considering user experience on a website but I still find annoying popups every where

    1. You’re right Alex about annoying popups still being a common feature on many websites but if you want the best chance of good organic rankings you should avoid them. It is specifically stated in Google’s guidelines that websites should not use them if they want to offer the best user experience. I can only think the sites using them gain their visitors from paid advertising or other sources like social media so don’t worry about organic rankings.

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