Core Web Vitals Assessment Failed: What it Means & How to Fix It

Discovering a “Core Web Vitals Assessment Failed” notification in your Google PageSpeed Insights report can be disheartening. However, it’s important to realize that this is a common challenge faced by many webmasters and developers. In fact, statistics show that a little over 55% of websites do not meet the criteria set by Google’s Core Web Vitals, indicating a widespread issue across the web.

The silver lining here is that recognizing the problem is the first step toward improvement. This article is designed to guide you through the process of fixing the “Core Web Vitals Assessment Failed” result in the page speed insights tool and enhance your website’s performance to provide a superior user experience.

By the time you finish reading, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge needed to elevate your website into the enviable group of the 44% of sites that excel in meeting Google’s Core Web Vitals standards.

What is Google’s Core Web Vitals

Google’s Core Web Vitals are a set of specific factors that Google considers important in a webpage’s overall user experience. These vitals include Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), which measures the load time of the main content on a page; Interneaction to Next Paint ((NIP) formerly First Input Delay (FID)), assessing the time from a user’s first interaction with a page to the moment the browser is able to respond; and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), gauging the stability of content as it loads. These factors can be observed through using Google’s page speed insights tool.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) focuses on evaluating the speed at which the main content of a page becomes visible to users. For optimal user experience, it’s recommended that the LCP happens within the initial 2.5 seconds from when the page begins to load.

Interaction to Next Paint (INP)

Interaction to Next Paint (INP) is a metric designed to measure the responsiveness of a page by quantifying the time it takes for the page to react to user inputs. A target INP score is considered to be under 200 milliseconds, indicating swift responsiveness.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) gauges the stability of a webpage by monitoring the frequency and severity of unexpected shifts in the page layout. A webpage is deemed to have a stable layout if it achieves a CLS score of 0.1 or lower, minimizing disruptive content movement.

In short, these metrics represent the speed, responsiveness, and visual stability of a website. All of which significantly impact user page experience, which is a Google ranking factor.

These Google core web vitals are critical not only for providing a seamless and engaging user experience but also play a role in a website’s organic search engine visibility. At the end of the day, Google wants to provide the best experience to its users while satisfying their search intent. A website/ webpage that is relevant AND provides a good user experience is more likely to be included within Google’s search engine results page than sites that are not.

Why Passing Core Web Vitals is Important

Securing a passing score in Google’s Core Web Vitals is important for any website aiming to improve their website’s visibility in Search engines and user experience on their website. Search engines prioritize websites that offer fast loading times, quick responsiveness to user interactions, and minimal layout shifts, recognizing them as quality sources that merit higher visibility.

Google confirmed in 2021 and clarified in 2023 that Core Web Vitals impact a website’s search engine rankings within its organic search results. However, Core Web Vitals is not a standalone ranking system of its own rather it is used in other Google ranking signals such as Google’s primary core ranking system and Google’s page experience ranking factor. Essentially, Google’s Core Web Vitals provide additional context for evaluating other page experience signals, which play a significant role in Google’s overall ranking algorithm

Furthermore, the positive impact on user experience translates directly into improved conversion rates and deeper engagement with your website’s content. When users encounter a website that loads swiftly, responds promptly to their actions, and maintains a stable layout, they are more likely to stay longer, explore more pages, and complete desired actions, whether that’s making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or filling out a contact form.

Fixing a failing core web vitals score to improve user experience is one step of many when it comes to creating helpful, people-first content. This is especially important for website owners who are concerned with search engine optimization and appearing within Google’s organic search results.

What Does Failed Core Web Vitals Assessment Mean?

This graph illustrates the Core Web Vitals assessment criteria across the three main metrics: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).

A failed Core Web Vitals assessment means that a website falls short of Google’s established benchmarks for optimal user experience, specifically in areas of loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability. A ‘poor’ score, a score in the red, for any of the primary CBV metrics (LCP, FID, CLS, or INP) will generate a Core Web Vitals Assessment: Failed result.

Core Web Vitals Assessment: Failed can mean that one or more of the following received a poor score which is:

  • Largest Contentful Pain (LCP) > 4 s
  • First Input Delay (FID) > 500 ms
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) >0.25
  • Interaction to Next Paint (INP) >500 ms

This failure can have a detrimental effect on a website’s visibility, as search engines may demote it in search results, making it harder for potential visitors to find the site.

Additionally, a poor score in Core Web Vitals negatively affects the user experience, potentially leading to higher bounce rates, decreased time on site, and lower engagement levels. Users today expect fast, responsive, and stable websites; failing to meet these expectations can drive them to competitors. 

To navigate these challenges, webmasters and marketers can utilize a variety of tools such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights, Lighthouse, and Chrome User Experience Report. These tools provide detailed insights into how a website performs against Core Web Vitals metrics, identifying specific areas for improvement.

Armed with this data, developers and SEO professionals can make targeted adjustments to enhance site performance, user satisfaction, and ultimately, search engine ranking.

Common Causes for Failing Core Web Vitals Assessments

Several prevalent issues contribute to failing Core Web Vitals assessments, which, if identified, can be rectified to significantly enhance site performance. A frequent culprit is the heavy use of unoptimized images and videos, which can drastically slow down page load times, impacting the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) metric.

Similarly, excessive JavaScript and CSS that block the main thread prevent quick interactions, adversely affecting the First Input Delay (FID) score. Another common problem is layout shifts caused by dynamic content insertion without proper space allocation, leading to poor Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) scores.

These shifts can frustrate users by causing unexpected movement of page content as they try to interact with the site. Addressing these issues involves adopting best practices such as image and video optimization, efficient code-loading strategies, and stable layout techniques.

Here are some of the common reasons for receiving a Core Web Vitals Assessment Failed prompt.

Poor Score for Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

Failing core web vitals due to a poor LCP score means that the page’s main content loads slowly. Here are some common reasons for a failing LCP score:

  • Unoptimized or excessively large images and video files can significantly delay the loading time of the main content.
  • Slow Server Response Times: If the server takes too long to respond, it can delay the loading of content.
  • Render-blocking JavaScript and CSS: Resources that block the rendering path can prevent the main content from being displayed promptly. Here are some examples of resources that block the rendering path:
    • Third-party scripts for analytics, social media widgets, or chatbots that are embedded in the head of the page.
    • A large monolithic CSS file that styles the entire page, rather than being divided into critical (above-the-fold) and non-critical portions.
    • Loading multiple web font files upfront for font styles that are not critical for the initial viewport.
  • Client-side Rendering: Websites that rely heavily on JavaScript to render content might see delays in LCP, as the browser needs to execute the JavaScript before rendering the content. Here are some examples:
    • An e-commerce site built as a SPA where product listings are fetched (requesting and retrieving data from a server or another source over the internet) and rendered in the browser rather than being server-side rendered. This can delay the LCP until the product images and descriptions are fully loaded and rendered.
    • A blog or news website that uses JavaScript to load and display articles. If the JavaScript takes time to fetch the article content and then render it on the page, it can significantly impact LCP.

Common Reasons for Failing Iteraction to Next Paint (INP)

Failing core web vitals due to a poor INP score means that the page reacts slowly to user inputs. Here are some common reasons for a failing INP score:

  • Heavy JavaScript Execution: Extensive or complex JavaScript execution can delay the browser’s response to user interactions.
  • Resource Intensive Third-Party Scripts: Third-party scripts, such as ads, analytics, or widgets, can consume significant resources, impacting responsiveness.
  • Main Thread Congestion: When the main thread is overloaded with tasks, it can delay the processing of user inputs, leading to a higher INP score. Here are some tasks that can delay the processing of user inputs:
    • Frequent DOM Updates: Repeatedly adding, removing, or updating elements in the Document Object Model (DOM) can be resource-intensive, especially if these operations are not optimized or batched.
    • Complex CSS selectors or extensive use of properties that trigger layout changes (like width, height, margin) can cause frequent and costly re-rendering.
    • Complex animations that are not optimized or that affect a large area of the layout can force the browser to recalculate styles and layouts frequently.
    • External iframes
    • Excess third-party scripts
    • Pages with a large number of event listeners, especially those triggering complex operations on events like scroll or resize, can overburden the main thread with processing.

Common Reasons for Failing Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Failing core web vitals due to a poor CLS score means that the page layout or elements frequently shift. Here are some common reasons for a failing CLS score:

  • Images without Dimensions: Images or ads without explicitly set width and height can cause layout shifts as they load.
  • Dynamically Injected Content: Content that is dynamically added to the page (e.g., through JavaScript) without reserving space can push down existing content, causing shifts.
  • Web Fonts Causing FOIT/FOUT: Flash of Invisible Text (FOIT) or Flash of Unstyled Text (FOUT) occurs when custom fonts load after the rest of the content, causing layout shifts.
  • Animations and Transitions: Poorly handled animations and transitions that affect the layout can cause unexpected shifts, negatively impacting the CLS score.

How to Fix Failing Core Web Vitals Assessment

Rectifying a failing Core Web Vitals assessment demands a focused approach to enhancing each specific metric. To improve Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), a key strategy involves optimizing images through compression and format selection, alongside preloading critical assets to expedite their display.

Boosting First Input Delay (FID) requires minimizing or deferring JavaScript execution time, ensuring the browser can quickly respond to user interactions without delay. Addressing Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) entails specifying image and ad dimensions to prevent unexpected layout shifts, as well as avoiding the insertion of content above existing content that can lead to disorienting experiences for users. 

Leveraging diagnostic tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights provides invaluable insights into a site’s performance against these metrics, pinpointing specific areas for improvement. By systematically applying these strategies, websites can enhance their Core Web Vitals scores, thereby improving user experience, search engine ranking, and overall site health.

This proactive approach not only addresses the immediate issues flagged by a failed assessment but also sets a foundation for ongoing monitoring and optimization, ensuring the website remains aligned with best practices and user expectations.

Core Web Vitals Assessment Failed WordPress

WordPress sites, while flexible and user-friendly, often encounter specific challenges that can lead to failing Core Web Vitals assessments. Heavy themes and an overreliance on plugins can significantly slow down a site, impacting both its usability and its performance in search rankings.

Themes laden with unnecessary features can increase page load times, while excessive plugins can lead to JavaScript bloat, affecting the First Input Delay (FID) and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) metrics. To combat these issues, it is recommended to opt for lightweight themes that prioritize speed and are optimized for Core Web Vitals.

Additionally, image optimization should be a standard practice, utilizing tools that compress and correctly format images without sacrificing quality. Streamlining the number of plugins in use by keeping only those essential to site functionality can also greatly reduce load times and improve overall site performance. By implementing these targeted solutions, WordPress site owners can significantly enhance their Core Web Vitals scores, offering a better experience for their users and potentially boosting their rankings in search engine results.

Core Web Vitals Assessment Failed for Mobile

Mobile web performance presents unique challenges that can significantly impact Core Web Vitals scores, with the mobile experience often suffering from slower load times and less responsive interactions compared to desktop. These issues are exacerbated by the inherent limitations of mobile devices, such as smaller screen sizes and potentially slower internet connections.

To address these challenges, implementing mobile-specific optimization strategies is crucial. Responsive design ensures that web content fluidly adapts to any screen size, providing an optimal viewing experience without unnecessary layout shifts. 

Adopting mobile-first images, which involve serving images that are appropriately sized and optimized for mobile devices, can drastically reduce load times and improve the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) metric. Employing techniques such as lazy loading for off-screen content further enhances performance by prioritizing the loading of visible content. By focusing on these mobile-specific strategies, websites can improve their Core Web Vitals scores on mobile devices, ensuring a fast, responsive, and engaging user experience for mobile visitors.

Core Web Vitals Assessment Failed Shopify

Shopify stores, while offering a robust platform for e-commerce, can face specific issues that negatively affect Core Web Vitals scores. Common challenges include themes that are not optimized for speed, excessive use of large images without compression, and the overuse of third-party apps and widgets that can significantly slow down the site.

To navigate these issues, Shopify store owners should consider theme customization with a focus on speed and efficiency. Selecting a theme designed for performance, or customizing an existing theme to reduce unnecessary features and scripts, can have a substantial impact on page load times and overall site responsiveness. 

Evaluating the necessity of each app and widget is crucial; removing or replacing those that heavily impact site performance can improve First Input Delay (FID) and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) metrics.

Optimizing images through compression and choosing the correct format is also essential for improving Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). By implementing these Shopify-specific optimization strategies, store owners can enhance their Core Web Vitals scores, offering a smoother, faster shopping experience that can lead to improved user engagement and increased conversions.


Leveraging PageSpeed Insights to Address a Failing Core Web Vitals Assessment

PageSpeed Insights stands as an invaluable tool for webmasters and marketers aiming to analyze and enhance their website’s performance in line with Google’s Core Web Vitals. This tool provides a comprehensive analysis of a page’s content, offering both mobile and desktop performance scores along with actionable recommendations for improvement.

By inputting a URL, users receive detailed insights into factors affecting their site’s performance, including metrics on Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), Internation to Next Paint (INP), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).

PageSpeed Insights breaks down these metrics in an easy-to-understand format, highlighting areas that require immediate attention and suggesting specific fixes, such as image optimization, minification of CSS and JavaScript, and enhancements to server response times. Interpreting the results requires a focus on prioritizing fixes that will have the most significant impact on the user experience and overall site performance. 

By systematically addressing the recommendations provided by PageSpeed Insights, webmasters can make targeted improvements to their sites, not only boosting their Core Web Vitals scores but also enhancing the user experience for their visitors. This continuous process of evaluation and optimization is key to maintaining a competitive edge in today’s fast-paced digital world.

 

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