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How to Measure Core Web Vitals

How to Measure Core Web Vitals

Google has defined a set of metrics that website owners should focus on when optimizing for user experience.

By defining these Core Web Vitals, Google aims to provide comprehensive guidance on quality signals, which Google says is essential to delivering a great online user experience.

“Optimizing the quality of the user experience is the key to the long-term success of any website on the Internet.

Whether you are a business owner, marketer, or developer, Web Vitals can help you quantify the experience of your site and identify opportunities for improvement. ”

Google emphasizes the importance of Core Web Vitals over other metrics, as they are critical to all web experiences.

Users’ expectations for web experiences may vary by site and context, but some remain consistent no matter where they are on the web.

Core Web Vitals are the user experience needs that all websites should strive to meet.

Specifically, Google identifies key user experience needs such as: loading, interactivity, and visual stability.

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How to measure these user experience needs.

Measuring user experience with Core Web Vitals

Google says site owners can measure the quality of their site’s user experience with these metrics:

Largest Content Paint: The time it takes for a page’s main content to load. An ideal LCP measurement is less than or equal to 2.5 seconds. Initial Delay: The time it takes for a page to become interactive. An ideal measurement is less than or equal to 100 ms. Cumulative layout change: the amount of unexpected layout change of visual page content. An ideal measurement is less than or equal to 0.1.

Google explains why these three metrics in particular are so important:

“All of these metrics capture important user-centric results, are measurable in the field, and have supporting laboratory diagnostic metric equivalents and tools.

Although Largest Contentful Paint e.g. Is top-line loading metric, it is also highly dependent on First Contentful Paint (FCP) and Time to First Byte (TTFB), which remain critical to monitor and improve. ”

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Related: Google explains usability and user experience rating factors

How to Measure Core Web Vitals

Google incorporates Core Web Vitals measurement features into many of its existing tools.

Core Web Vitals can now be measured using:

Search Console.PageSpeed ​​Insights.Lighthouse.Chrome DevTools.Chrome UX Report.Web Vitals Extension.

Here’s more about using each of these tools to measure Core Web Vitals.

Search Console

There’s a new Core Web Vitals report in the Search Console that helps site owners evaluate pages across an entire site.

The report identifies groups of pages that require attention based on real data from the Chrome UX report.

With this report, be aware that URLs will be omitted if they do not have a minimum of reporting data.

PageSpeed ​​Insights

PageSpeed ​​Insights has been upgraded to use Lighthouse 6.0, enabling it to measure Core Web Vitals in both the lab and field sections of the report.

Core Web Vitals is annotated with a blue ribbon, as shown below.

Lighthouse

Lighthouse was recently upgraded to version 6.0, including additional audits, new metrics and a newly composed performance score.

Two of these new metrics added are Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).

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These metrics are laboratory implementations of Core Web Vitals and provide diagnostic information to optimize the user experience.

The third new metric – Total Blocking Time (TBT) – is said to correlate well with First Input Delay (FID), which is another Core Web Vitals metric.

All the products that Lighthouse operates are updated to reflect the latest version.

Chrome UX Report

This term is also called CrUX and is a public dataset with real user experience data on millions of sites.

The Chrome UX report measures field versions of all Core Web Vitals, which means it reports real-world data rather than lab data.

Google recently updated the report with a new Core Web Vital landing page.

The report can be accessed here.

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Chrome DevTools

Chrome DevTools has been updated to help website owners find and fix visual instability issues on a page that may contribute to the Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).

Select a layout change to see its details on the Summary tab. Hold the cursor over moved from and moved to fields to visualize where the actual shift took place.

Chrome DevTools also measures Total Blocking Time (TBT), which is useful for enhancing First Input Delay (FID).

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TBT now appears in the footer of the Chrome DevTools Performance panel when you measure page performance.

Performance optimizations that improve laboratory TBT should also improve FID.

Web Vital extension

A new extension that can now be installed from the Chrome Webshop measures the three Core Web Vitals metrics in real time.

You can download and install the extension here.

What about other valuable metrics?

As important as Core Web Vitals are, they are not the only user experience metrics to focus on.

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As Google improves its understanding of the user experience going forward, it updates Core Web Vitals annually.

Google will also provide updates on future Web Vitals candidates, the motivation behind selecting them, and implementation status.

At present, the company is at least heavily invested in improving its understanding of page speed:

“Looking ahead to 2021, we are investing in building a better understanding and ability to measure page speed and other critical user experience features.

For example, extending the ability to measure input latency across all interactions, not just the first one; new metrics for measuring and quantifying smoothness; primitives and supportive metrics that enable the delivery of instant and privacy-enhancing experiences online; and more.”

Photo credits: Paulo Bobita

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