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Google Search Console Changes Core Web Vitals Reporting

Google is making a slight change to how Core Web Vitals are measured and reported on in Search Console.

Google Search Console Changes Core Web Vitals Reporting

Google Search Console is changing how Core Web Vitals are measured and reported on, which is likely to be a positive thing for site owners.

Going forward, the metrics defining the boundaries for largest contentful paint (LCP), first input delay (FID), and cumulative layout shift (CLS) are now defined as <= (less than or equal to).

Previously the boundaries for each of the Core Web Vitals was defined as < (less than).

That meant the Google Search Console report would only show a “good” rating if measurements were under the ideal thresholds.

Site owners can now achieve a “good” rating if measurements meet the ideal thresholds.

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For example, an ideal measurement for LCP was previously defined as less than 2.5 seconds. If LCP was recorded at exactly 2.5 seconds then the site owner would see a “needs improvement” rating in Search Console.

That is no longer the case. Now that same site will receive a “good” rating.

Google’s changelog notes site owners will likely see positive changes as a result of this update: “Therefore you might see a change in statuses (for the better) in this report.”

To refresh everyone’s understanding of what it takes to meet Google’s Core Web Vitals thresholds, refer to the updated verbiage below:

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  • Largest Contentful 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.
  • First Input Delay: The time it takes for a page to become interactive. An ideal measurement is less than or equal to 100 ms.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift: The amount of unexpected layout shift of visual page content. An ideal measurement is less than or equal to 0.1.

Now would be a good time to review the Core Web Vitals report in Search Console to see where your site stands.

The rollout of Core Web Vitals as a ranking factor is still months away, but it’s never to early to start preparing.

Core Web Vitals will become ranking signals in May 2021. Google’s John Mueller has hinted at the fact that thresholds for all three Core Web Vitals may need to be met in order to benefit from the ranking boost. So optimize for all three rather than one or two.

Sites that meet the threshold for all three Core Web Vitals may also receive a special badge in Google search results, communicating to searchers that the site provides an optimal user experience.

Whether Google will go through with rolling out a badge in search results is undetermined at this point. But it’s 100% confirmed Core Web Vitals will be ranking factors.

Expect more information from Google as we get closer to May.

Source: Search Console Help

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Matt Southern

Lead News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a degree in communications, Matt ... [Read full bio]

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