New study: Around Half of Top Websites Still Failing User Experience Requirements Introduced in Google’s Core Web Vitals Update

Fashion and travel perform worse on user experience than other verticals according to data from Searchmetrics

New research from Searchmetrics suggests around 50% of the top 100 most visible[1] websites on Google.com still fail to deliver a “good” page experience on desktop as defined in the search engine’s Core Web Vitals update which finished rolling out in August 2021. And 44% of the top 100 websites fail on mobile.

As of October, Walmart.com, Target.com and Tripadvisor.com as well as social sites such as Facebook.com, Instagram.com and Pinterest.com were among the major brands that are still unable to meet all three minimum thresholds for good website performance and usability set out under Core Web Vitals according to the analysis. And fashion and travel are the worst performing verticals.

The data comes from the newly launched Core Web Vitals Monitor section on the Searchmetrics website. Updated every month, this provides an analysis of the Core Web Vitals performance of the top 100 most visible domains on Google.com (Google US), with monthly benchmarks for eight key industry segments (B2B, Dictionary/Reference, Electronics, Fashion, Finance, Healthcare, Media/News and Travel).

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What are Core Web Vitals?
Google’s Core Web Vitals benchmarks help website owners assess real-world web user experience in three areas: how quickly the content on a page loads; its interactivity (the time taken to respond to a visitor’s first interaction, such as clicking on a button or a link); and its visual stability (does the layout or content jump around). These three measures are officially known as First Contentful Paint (FCP), First Input Delay (FID) and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) respectively. In the Core Web Vitals update they were combined with other existing signals which Google uses to measure the quality of the page experience meaning they now have an influence on Google rankings.

How the top 100 most visible websites perform
The positive news according to Searchmetrics’ analysis is that the proportion of top-performing domains which satisfy Google’s requirements is increasing over time. In January 2020, only 22% of the desktop top 100 and 28% of the mobile top 100 were able to pass the Core Web Vitals tests. By October 2021, this increased to 50% on desktop and 56% on mobile.

For LCP (the time taken for the largest image or text block to become visible when the page first starts loading) the average time among the top 100 in October is 2.43 seconds on desktop and 2.48 on mobile (both just under Google’s minimum requirement which is 2.5 seconds). However, 36% of the top 100 on desktop and 33% of mobile still fail to meet this minimum requirement.

For CLS (which measures the extent to which elements on a page jump around while it is loading), 24% of the top 100 on both desktop and mobile failed to pass the minimum requirement. A “good” score according to Google is below 0.1 and the average score was just a little over this (0.11 on both desktop and mobile).

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