Towards the end of 2020, Google announced a new algorithm for ranking websites on SERPs. The new elements the search engine will analyse are called Core Web Vitals (CWV), and they refer to user experience, in terms of page speed load and responsiveness to user inputs. This is a brand new set of criteria and many website owners are confused: how exactly do you know if the website is performing well or not? To help you out, we prepared a list of tools you can use to audit your core web vitals.
What Are Core Web Vitals?
We first wrote about Core Web Vitals when Google announced its new algorithm update. Let us make a quick recapitulation. The three elements of CWV are:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – defines the time needed for a web page to load its biggest element (photo, video, block of text)
- First Input Delay (FID) – defines the time span between user input (click or tap) and the response from the browser (opening a new page, playing a video)
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – defines the way page elements shift in the screen as the page loads.
Google defines the ideal values for these three metrics as:
- 2.5 seconds or less for LCP
- 100 milliseconds or less for FID
- Less than 0.1 for CLS.
How to Audit Core Web Vitals
Now that you know what the new metrics are and their performance levels according to the standards set by Google, we move to the really important part of the issue. How exactly do you measure these metrics? And how can you improve them?
In terms of improvement, it means making changes to the code of your website. This is best left to a professional programmer, who will know what to do depending on the issue. What we aim to do in this article is show you how to know the current values for the Core Web Vitals of your website.
These are some tools you can use to measure CWV for your site:
This is a free tool for developers offered by Google, but anyone can use it to monitor page experience signals. What it does is collect data about users on Chrome browser experience and interact with your website.
What is interesting about this tool is that you get clear percentages of users who have a good, average and bad page experience. Depending on your location and your target audience, these metrics can be influenced by the device and the network speed. That is, you may have a perfectly optimised site and get average levels for the CWV if most users have older devices and poor internet speed.
This tool provides data for all three Core Web Vitals: LCP, FID and CLS. In order to access it, you need a Google Account and a Google Cloud Project.
Another free tool from Google, PageSpeed Insights does more than just audit Core Web Vitals. After you type in your URL, the tool offers you details on:
- Each of the three metrics for CWV
- An overall score for the Page Experience of your website
- Opportunities to improve the metrics by performing certain changes to your website
- Explanations for the problems found and indications on how to solve them.
Once you have analysed the current performance of your website, notify your programmer to look over the opportunities and diagnostics sections and start optimising your site.
This tool used to audit Core Web Vitals is actually a Chrome browser extension. It runs in the background, performing various tests on your website and generating performance reports. The latest upgrade, version 6.0, includes two Core Web Vitals among the metrics it measures: LCP and FID.
Although the tool does not offer data on CLS, it contains another important metric: Total Blocking Time. It measures the time between LCP and the moment when the user can interact with the website (scroll down, click on a menu button).
If you want a quick tool to tell you how your website performs for the three Core Web Vitals, this is the right choice for you. It is a simple extension for Chrome browser and it will give you the values for LCP, FID and CLS for each page of your website.
Last but not least, one of the best tools for website owners has been recently upgraded to offer measurements and actionable tips to improve Core Web Vitals. We are talking about the Google Search Console, your go-to source for:
- Measuring search traffic
- Getting useful tips to optimise website performance
- Receiving email alerts when Google identifies issues with your website.
Now, you can also use this helpful tool to audit Core Web Vitals. And this concludes our list of free tools you can access to know how users interact with your website.