Core Web Vitals another unimpressive Google speed hoax.

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The point Google makes is core web vitals ranking signal might account for small changes. But it’s not the kind of signal that would result in a huge change.

John Mueller of Google provided insights:

  • Page Experience ranking factor is “eased off” when a searcher expects to see a specific website.
  • Page Experience ranking factor is helpful when multiple sites have similar answers.
  • Desktop Page Experience update isn’t responsible for big ranking changes.
  • Core Web Vitals aren’t responsible for huge ranking changes.
  • Core Web Vitals might influence small ranking changes.

Google hedges about speed policy like Core Web Vitals. Not every criteria Google preaches about speed makes a difference in the real world.


We agree with the article above by TorqueMag published on June 24, 2020. They talk about what really matters for SEO.

Especially this quote:

“Google’s primary goal has always been to match users to good content. Consequently, it should be every website’s aim to create it for them. The algorithm has been constantly moving away from artificial ways of inflating your SEO and towards promoting high-quality articles. But it’s more important than ever to focus on content.”

We do not believe Google (or bloggers who quote Google) when they say speed is an important ranking factor. No data confirms this. It affects ranking less than 1 percent. It’s a great way to create anxiety in site owners. Our PagePipe traffic volume continues to grow. This is because of the Core Web Vitals hubbub. Google attempting to quantify Page Experience is good for our business – but not yours.

Finally — a real test of before-and-after CWV changes. And how it made no difference. We know clients who spent $20,000 to comply with this bogus criteria. (Why didn’t they give that money to us? They’d have achieved the same benefits. Zero ranking improvement.) What did $20,000 buy them? Nothing. Read the article linked below:

The effect of CWV on ranking. Nothing.

Offsite Link


“… the average time it takes to fully load a webpage is 10 seconds on desktop and 27 seconds on mobile.”


Is 27-seconds good enough? No, it’s horrible.

Google’s been being scary and bullying about speed for years with no teeth.

We make our living selling speed improvement.

Our page-speed goal is a 2000-millisecond load time. That’s right. Under 2 seconds.

Articles like this one (below) help feed the fear that sites are lacking:


“Core Web Vitals are not set in stone – which means they may change from year to year depending on what users expect out of a good web page experience.” — Search Engine Journal

WebPageTest is the industry standard for measuring site performance. The results are collected from real browsers running common operating systems.

Speed is about user experience (UX) not SEO. It’s about being polite to users. We don’t check speed with test scores. The only metric we use is milliseconds of load time as determined by

Web Core Metrics is a Google vanity project. Hand-waving.

Insubstantial vanity metrics meant to impress or convince.

I don’t really understand the purpose of the core metrics. A lot of sites are slow despite passing it. I think it’s better for me to stop stressing over Google updates and focus on creating good content that solves user intent.

Kenny Le

Here are the 3 main metrics Google uses for a Core Web Vitals score:

  1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures loading performance. To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
  2. First Input Delay (FID): measures interactivity. To provide a good user experience, pages should have a FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
  3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures visual stability. To provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.

So if your website loads in under 2 seconds on, will it pass these silly Core Web Vitals parameters: absolutely.
Nothing changed. Needless anxiety.

We quote Google: “We’ll begin using page experience as part of our ranking systems beginning in mid-June 2021. However, page experience won’t play its full role as part of those systems until the end of August.” – source


“Given this, sites generally should not expect drastic changes.” Google is referring to page ranking — not UX. Or maybe not even UX. Who knows?

Here’s what we have to say about speed and SEO:



We haven’t found any advantage in using Next-Gen faddish image formats.

Next-Gen Image formats include:

  • JPEG 2000
  • WebP

They’re costly hand-waving at best. Getting 10-percent smaller image files does not increase speed by 10 percent. Images load in the browser in parallel. Well-optimized lossy JPEG images are still the best practice.



We’re not advocates of CDNs or server caching for speed repairs.

We solve speed problems using origin optimization. That means figuring out what needs to change about the basic strategy of a site. We don’t throw money at speed problems. We sell future speed strategy — not only repairs.

The way to proceed is to “think incrementally.” Rent a rowboat before you buy a yacht – just in case you get seasick.

Pick your slowest site affected most by bad speed. Let’s start there.


Let’s start with one site and a performance goal measurable in milliseconds.

If Google Web Core Vitals are significant
– and something your site needs,
we won’t laugh at you or mock.
This is the place to get help for your anxiety

We’re convinced chasing Google Core Web Vitals is motivated by fear.
It’s desperation for page ranking or SEO.
You choose the measurement method you trust.

We don’t trust Google. But you know that.

Speed (page load time) is measured in milliseconds and page weight in kilobytes.

Speed is a user-experience fundamental.

Without good speed, you can’t have good UX.

Don’t get distracted from what really matters:
relevant readable content.

Good UX is human perception – not machine measurements or a score.

Chasing scores and green colors frequently make no difference in load time or page weight. No change in user experience.

Everyone hates a slow website.


Q: What is the page experience update and how important is it compared to other ranking signals?

A: The page experience update introduces a new signal that our search algorithms will use alongside hundreds of other signals to determine the best content to show in response to a query. Our systems will continue to prioritize pages with the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar. A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content.

This is similar to changes we’ve had in the past, such as our mobile-friendly (2015) update or our speed (2018) update. As with those signals, page experience will be more important in “tie-breaker” types of situations. If there are multiple pages of similar quality and content, those with better page experience might perform better than those without. – reference

Think about what Google just told you. The new Web Core Vitals signals get mixed with hundred of other signals. Insignificant difference.

Google keeps repeating, “relevant content is most important.” What is relevant content? It’s stuff people want. If you don’t have something people want, no amount of speed tweaking will ever make any difference.

“A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content.”

Google also said, Web Core Vitals will have the same impact as  the “mobile-friendly” update and the “speed” update. Neither of those past changes made any significant difference in page ranking. But how would anyone know? It’s not provable. No data. Voodoo. Scare tactics. Weird panic in the streets over nothing.

We’re convinced chasing Google Core Web Vitals is motivated by fear.
It’s desperation for page ranking or SEO.
You choose the measurement method you trust.

Web Core Vitals are a tie-breaker ranking? A joke?

When are two pages ever identical in every way.

You are not alone if  you’re struggling to improve Core Web Vitals scores and coming up short.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that achieving high Core Web Vitals performance is difficult.  The reason is because publishers and SEO are trying to fix something that technically is not broken. … tech SEOs and the developer community is stuck having to “fix” what isn’t broken in order to make it abide to Google’s idea of what the web should look like.


Steve Teare
performance engineer
September 2023


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