Google Search Console: Core Web Vitals

Google Search Console recently introduced Core Web Vitals, under the Enhancements section.

This is a fairly new initiative by Google, and not much information is available yet. As such, I figured it made sense to post this article and see if we can all help each other better understand it.

Core Web Vitals Section in Google Search Console

Google Search Console. New Core Web Vitals section.
What are Google Search Console Core Web Vitals?

Web Vitals is an initiative by Google to provide unified guidance for quality signals that are essential to delivering a great user experience on the web.

Here’s a blurb from the Web Vitals page on web.dev, where Google explains the intention of this new initiative:

Site owners should not have to be performance gurus in order to understand the quality of experience they are delivering to their users.

The Web Vitals initiative aims to simplify the landscape, and help sites focus on the metrics that matter most, the Core Web Vitals.


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As you can see from the screenshot above, the information began showing on March 30, 2020.

Immediately it reported 913 Poor URLs on mobile, and 914 Poor URLs on desktop. As of May 26th, the number of reported Poor URLs has dropped to 882 on mobile and 883 on mobile.

I know for certain I haven’t made any changes to my site since then, so I’m not sure what caused the 9% improvement.

CLS & LCP Issues

In clicking through to the mobile Web Vitals report, GSC shows me the following, identifying problems with CLS & LCP.

CLS & LCP issue. Rated as Poor.

Here’s some information about CLS & LCP (from the Web Vitals page)

  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures visual stability. To provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.
  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures loading performance. To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
  • First Input Delay (FID): measures interactivity. To provide a good user experience, pages should have a FID of less than 100 milliseconds.

Not A Coder

Although Google does state site owners shouldn’t need to be performance gurus to understand the visitor’s quality experience, some of us are not equipped to fix reported problems.

I contacted my primary WordPress tech support, iMark Interactive (highly recommended), asking them about the CLS & LCP errors.


Reply from iMark Interactive


Hi Tug,

This is pretty new for us to see and we have gotten a lot of emails about it today.

So in that report are they saying mobile or desktop?

The CLS is based on your logo. It’s lazy loading so it doesn’t load up immediately and that causes the menu to drop down and back up during the load.

The other metric is how long it takes to load up the biggest element in the viewport.

These would be different in mobile and desktop, but your logo is always one of them.

I replied to indicate that the error counts were about equal between mobile & desktop. I also asked if they could fix the issue.

We can try but these metrics are very new so we are checking things that have very little data behind them right now.

I do know the logo is an issue for sure.

Web Vitals: Fixing CLS & LCP Errors

I’ll keep this article updated with the latest information I learn from my tech folks.

If you are experiencing the same issue, or know how to diagnose and fix CLS & LCP Errors reported in Web Vitals of Google Search Console, please comment down below.


Update 1 from iMark Interactive


Hi Tug,

We are having one heck of a time getting this better.

The hard part is Google provides no way for us to test this on mobile so we can’t see layout shift and I don’t see it happening in their screenshots.

What I am seeing is very slow responses from your server, which causes everything to slow down.

I’m also seeing a lot of ads that aren’t from your main Ad network (I think anyway) that is slowing the site down.

The real kicker is Sumo. Can we turn that off? It’s terrible for speed.

What other ad networks are you using? Do you have your main Ad networks ads loading as deferred?

Thanks,
Grayson

My Reply

Hi Grayson,

I’m not using any other ad demand networks — only my main demand Ad network provider. Is there any ad code in header/footer to imply that?

Not sure if I’m using deferred ad loading — I don’t see any emails to them requesting that. Is that a change I need to request from them?

I use Sumo for lead capture and to drive traffic to a specific page. Is there an alternative that would be faster that you know of?

Or is there a way to cache the code their script requests, and just clear the cache once a day instead of pulling that request all the time?

If we can’t find a solution for Sumo, I have another one we can try called HoldonStranger.

There shouldn’t be “lots” of ads outside of my demand ad network partner.

I have 10 total ads configured in the system. They don’t all show at the same time. They show either in the right sidebar (desktop) or in 2 places in-article (on mobile).

I checked all the image sizes, and they all are pretty small — 20k or smaller. Do those need to be lazy loaded somehow?

I’m currently using Monster Insights for Google Analytics — if that’s slowing things down, we could get rid of that and either replace it with regular GA code, or I can install Site Kit by Google instead.

LMK your thoughts, and thanks for your help.


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