Passing or failing Core Web Vitals

I hope you’ll be aware by now of Google’s Core Web Vitals report in Search Console. This measurement will be part of a new ranking signal currently in the early stages of development. It’s scheduled to launch next year, and I’m sure we’ll hear a lot more about it then. In the meantime, we can work on improving our scores!

The report is based on three metrics:

  • LCP (largest contentful paint): The amount of time to render the largest content element visible in the viewport, from when the user requests the URL. The largest element is typically an image or video, or perhaps a large block-level text element. This is important because it tells the reader that the URL is actually loading.
  • FID (first input delay): The time from when a user first interacts with your page (when they clicked a link, tapped on a button, and so on) to the time when the browser responds to that interaction. This measurement is taken from whatever interactive element that the user first clicks. This is important on pages where the user needs to do something, because this is when the page has become interactive.
  • CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift): The amount that the page layout shifts during the loading phase. The score is rated from 0–1, where zero means no shifting and 1 means the most shifting. This is important because having pages elements shift while a user is trying to interact with it is a bad user experience.

Once a URL has a threshold amount of data for any metric, the ‘page status’ is the status of its most poorly performing metric.

But how many sites pass the Core Web Vitals thresholds? The good folks at Screaming Frog have been finding out. They tested 20,000 URLs to find the following:

  • First Input Delay (FID) on Desktop is negligible with 99% of URLs considered good. And 89% for Mobile.
  • 43% of Mobile and 44% of Desktop URLs had a good Largest Contentful Paint (LCP).
  • 46% of Mobile and 47% of Desktop URLs had a good Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
  • Only 12% of Mobile and 13% of Desktop results passed the CWV assessment (i.e. considered good in all three metrics).
  • URLs in Position 1 were 10% more likely to pass the CWV assessment than URLs in Position 9.

The author concludes: “If you do happen to see the disheartening ‘fail’ message, fear not, you’re in good company with most other sites.

“Regardless of how much ranking benefit speed and Core Web Vitals provide, having your pages as quick, responsive, and stable as possible is great for users and search engines alike.

“If you’re looking to make improvements, PageSpeed Insights is a great place to start. And you can easily grab data across your entire site with the SEO Spider and steps here.”