Core Web Vitals
Many webmasters have been struggling with the fact that their page still shows as a failing URL in the Core Web Vitals dashboard despite the many efforts and fixes.
What is happening?
We believe is because the number of pages with not enough traffic for Google to collect the data. So it is not too difficult to understand, but for that, we will need to explain what you see in the Page Experience dashboard and how that correlates to the PageSpeed Insight test.
Let’s start with the relatively new Page Experience dashboard.
The Page Experience dashboard
Google recently changed the Page Speed dashboard to the new “Page Experience” dashboard. This is a new way to look at different metrics that affect a web page from a user experience perspective. Specifically, the Core Web Vitals metrics: First Contentful Paint (FCP), First Input Delay (FID), Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), are the ones giving us the headache.
Core Web Vitals’ Good URLs
The percentage of “Good URLs” showing in the dashboard are the pages passing these 4 metrics and is directly related to the number of “Impressions”. The weight of these metrics in the new Page Experience Algorithm update will always remain a mystery but is clear that right now is very high, considering the changes in ranking positions we have seen through June and July.
The PageSpeed Insight test
When testing a page using the PageSpeed Insight test, the resulting score on the big green bubble seems to tell us that everything is great. We are winning! Wait. Apparently, Google is degrading the importance of the speed score by the score of the 4 metrics mentioned before. Keep reading the test result and the first paragraph below the score says:
Field Data – The Chrome User Experience Report does not have sufficient real-world speed data for this page.From PageSpeed Insight test
What is that supposed to mean? I think the reason why this is the first paragraph right after the “score” number is that it directly impacts the results of “Good URLs” that Google Search Console is showing in the Page Experience dashboard.
Understanding Core Web Vitals test results
Core Web Vitals test results depend on the collection of 28 days of Field data. If you are paying attention to the PageSpeed Insight test, you may have noticed that you have Field data and Lab data:
- Field data: Represent real-world historical data collected by Google through users using the Chrome browser. These are the results that count in the “Good URLs” percentage.
- Lab data: This is a simulation that happens when you submit the page to the test.
As Google well explains in the FAQ section of the Page Speed Insight test, the two results may contradict each other. One is real historical data and the other is just a one-time simulation.
But wait, what happens if I fix my page but my page does not have enough traffic for Google to collect 28 days of data?
So why my URL still “do not pass” the test?
We did another test for URLs not passing the test. We went to the Core Web Vitals dashboard and clicked on the URL fails.
From there, we copied the URLs and checked the Clicks data of 3 months for each URL on the Performance Dashboard of Search Console. What we find out is that many of the URLs do not have enough clicks, therefore they will still show up as “failing” URLs even when we have fixed the issue. In the example below the page in question have only 14 clicks in 3 months. If the 14 clicks are divided between Chrome and other browsers, then when will Google have 28 days of historic data? In 6 months. In another year?
How important is the lab data?
We know we fixed the issue because the Lab data shows all the metrics in green. Still, these pages “do not pass” the assessment because the Field Data “does not have sufficient real-world speed data.” So do not be discouraged by the results Search Console is showing. The Lab data simulation is proof that you did it right. So what is the next step?
If the Lab data is telling you everything is alright, but the Core Web Vitals report keeps showing failing URLs, then is one more thing you should do: Delete the pages that do not have enough traffic.
Uhh? What? Let’s say that you have 100 pages on your website. You fixed all of the Core Web Vitals issues on each page. But. Of the 100 pages, only 20 runners have “sufficient real-world data.” In the eyes of Google, only 20% of your website has Good URLs.
Does Google want you to get rid of irrelevant pages?
Apparently, yes. Think about this: if these pages low in traffic are affecting your Page Experience score and do not have traffic, what is the purpose of having them on your website? Do a content audit. You can use SemRush or AHREFS tools to do it. Select a year of traffic data and create a report of clicks and backlinks. Set your own limit of what you consider important, but a page with less than 50 visits and no backlinks in a year, has no practical use to your site.
We also tested this and guess what: Websites started to show more “Good URLs”.
Good URLs are the percentage of mobile URLs with both Good status in Core Web Vitals and no mobile usability issues according to the Mobile Usability report in Search Console.
This is the real-world historical data collected by Google through users using the Chrome browser. These are the results that count in the “Good URLs” percentage.
Is a simulation that happens when you submit the page to the test. These DO NOT count in the “Good URLs” percentage.
Pages that have no meaningful amount of traffic and no backlinks in a year timeframe, though the amount of traffic, backlinks, and the timeframe can change according to the website.
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