The Google Search Console is the best companion of Webmaster and SEO who wants to rank first on Google.
The Search Console gives essential insights about your website indexing coverage, search results performance and more.
Since Page Experience and the Core Web Vitals are a ranking factor for Google, related information is also available directly from the Search Console.
In this article, we will review step by step how to leverage the Search Console (together with other Google tools) to understand the issues with the user experience and Core Web Vitals on your website.
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Google Search Console and the Experience Reports
Before jumping into the step by step workflow, here are a few things you have to know about the Search Console and Page Experience:
- All the information related to the Page Experience and Core Web Vitals is displayed under the Experience menu.
- The Search Console displays field data from the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX). It is real data about the users visiting your website.
- The data are not updated in real-time and are based on the last 28 days of activities.
- The Core Web Vitals metrics (FID, LCP, CLS) are aggregated at the page level and grouped by similar pages in Search Console.
- Issues in the Search Console are related to a group of pages with similar issues.
- The pages of your website pass the Core Web Vital assessment if the 75th percentiles of all three metrics are Good. In other words, if 75% of the page view get the highest score.
- Pages are evaluated separately for mobile and desktop.
The first submenu of the Experience panel shows the Page Experience overview for mobile and desktop.
You can identify the percentage of Good URLs on your website over time and the total impression on the search of these good URLs.
Information about the main signals are available:
- Core Web Vitals: How many URLs are failing the test
- Mobile Usability: If there are any issues related to mobile usability
- HTTPS: It shows if your website uses HTTPS or not.
Obviously, your goal is to get everything in green.
We will now see how to analyze the issues regarding the Core Web Vitals.
Step 1 – Open Core Web Vitals Reports from the Search Console
Visit the Google Search Console menu and open the “Core Web Vitals” report to identify pages that need special attention.
You will find two reports, one for mobile and one for desktop.
The reports indicate the number of poor, need improvement and good URLs over time.
Click on Open Report to get more information about the issues.
Step 2 – Identify issues grouped by pages
Once you have opened the mobile or desktop report, you will get more details about your website’s page experience issues.
In the Details panel, the type of problem is listed, and you can see also how many URLs or Pages are concerned.
Once you click on an issue, the pages having a similar problem are displayed.
To see the whole list of related pages, click on the example page, and a panel will display all the similar URLs.
The same issue is expected to occur on several pages of your website, especially if you use a content management system such as WordPress.
Indeed, pages share a similar template, and then the issue can be fixed by improving a page template (e.g. the Post Template).
If we focus on the current issue, you can see that it is about CLS.
As a reminder, a good CLS is below 0.1, and a poor is above 0.25. The aggregated CLS indicates a value of 0.20, so it needs improvement.
Step 3 – Analyzing pages with PageSpeed Insights
We won’t open every page to analyze the issue, but we can focus on the example provided in the report and fix this one.
You can click directly on the button opening PageSpeed Insights from the right panel from the Search Console.
The PageSpeed Insights is a tool from Google and report field data and lab data:
- Field data coming from Crux
- Lab data are coming from Lighthouse
The first panel shows field data or actual users of my website. Unfortunately, as there is not enough information for the example URL, it falls back to the origin, which is my website home page.
If this happens, you can run the PageSpeed Insights report with another URL from the group that gets more traffic.
In my case, the home page is not relevant as it is not the same template used.
The second panel below displays a detailed analysis from a simulated environment.
You will find the first report with suggestions for improvement.
The main metrics are highlighted, and you can see which ones pass and which ones fail.
Below you will find an audit that indicated some opportunities and room for improvement.
You can also filter the view and display issues related only to FCP, LCP or CLS.
Step 4 – Resolve the problems of your pages
As a result of this initial analysis, you have now identified many issues that need to be addressed.
Each website has its specific problems, and it often requires development skills, especially front-end development knowledge.
This other article covers the most common issues and explains the best practices for optimizing a website and the Core Web Vitals.
Step 5 – Validate the issues in the Search Console
During the troubleshooting phase, you will try different changes on your website and re-run the audit with the different tools to test the Core Web Vitals.
The only way to test in development mode will rely on a simulated environment and lab data.
You can run your audit with the following tools:
- PageSpeed Insights
Once you are satisfied with resolving your performance problems, you can go back to the Search Console and Validate the Fix.
Please note that the validation will take up to 28 days. Indeed Google won’t validate against lab data but real data from the Chrome User Experience Report. These data are not real-time and aggregated for 28 days.
This will slow down considerably the fixing process of the Core Web Vitals.
Go Further with the Core Web Vitals
Tips to improve Core Web Vitals: Start optimizing your website by following best practices.
Tools Measuring Core Web Vitals: Discover 10+ tools to test and measure the Core Web Vitals.