10 Core Web Vital Tools to Improve Your Site’s Performance

Ever since Google announced the core web vitals as an important part of the overall ranking system in May 2021, there’s been absolute chaos in the SEO industry. Only a few people know ways to optimize their websites for the CWV.

While Google’s PageSpeed, Lighthouse, and Search Console are great core web vital tools, there are other tools that provide different and even better ways to optimize your website.

I have collected a list of 10 tools that help you measure core web vitals for your website and also provide tips on improving it.

Let’s take a look at them all then…

Table of contents  show 

What are Core Web Vitals (CWV)?

Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics developed by Google to measure overall page speed and user experience for your website. The metrics include:

  • LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) — LCP measures how a web page loads
  • FID (First Input Delay) — FID measures the interactivity of a web page
  • CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) — CLS measures the visual stability of a web page
What are Core Web Vitals

These metrics measure how quickly your web page loads, how long it takes for you to be able to interact with it once it loads, and how often the content on your page moves/jumps around as you try to interact with it.

Important Core Web Vital Tools

Core Web Vital tools are designed to help you improve your website’s performance so that you can provide visitors with the best experience possible. There are 2 types of CWV tools:

  • Field tools: Measures real-world performance data (e.g. Google Search Console, CrUX)
  • Lab tools: Measures simulated data by using hypothetical user agent (e.g. Google Lighthouse)

Generally, lab tools are used by developers who create the website, and field tools by SEOs who optimize the website for search engines.

Some great tools for measuring Core Web Vitals include:

1. Google PageSpeed Insights

  • Free to use
  • Both field and lab tool

Google PageSpeed Insights or Google PSI is the most important tool to measure the site’s performance on desktop as well as mobile devices. It provides a detailed web page performance report on both the lab and field data.

PageSpeed Insights doesn’t show the report, it also highlights all the possible errors and provides helpful steps to improve your website’s results.

Below, you can see what the Google PageSpeed Insights performance report looks like:

Google PageSpeed Insights Report

Google PSI provides information about the submitted URL, but not long ago it has started to provide the overall report of the origin URL. It collects the last 28-day real-world samples from the Chrome UX Report for the field report and the data from Lighthouse to provide a performance summary.

2. Lighthouse by Google

  • Free to use
  • Lab tool

Lighthouse is another excellent CWV lab tool by Google that audits your website and provides various suggestions to improve the user experience.

The best thing, Lighthouse is already there in your Google Chrome browser under Chrome DevTools. To use the tool:

  • Open up the website you want to test
  • Right-click somewhere on the page and select Inspect
  • Click >> next to Elements and Console
  • Select the Lighthouse option
  • Select the categories and a device you want to test for
  • Click on the Generate report button and you’re done
Lighthouse Tool

If you want even a detailed explanation of how to use the tool, Google’s official documentation might be helpful.

It’s recommended to use the Lighthouse tool in an incognito window to avoid the saved cache affecting the overall results.

Lighthouse Test Report
Lighthouse Report

Released in Nov 2021, the latest version of Lighthouse (v 9.0) measures the factors like performance, accessibility, progressive web app, SEO, publisher ads speed and quality, and various other best practices.

3. Google Search Console

  • Free to use
  • Field tool

Google Search Console (GSC) provides the simplest Core Web Vitals field tool to measure and keep track of your website’s performance. However, you need to have your website added as a verified property in your GSC account in order to use the tool.

Google Search Console CWV

GSC shows separate reports for mobile and desktop. All the indexed URLs of the site are shown in the following 3 categories:

  • Poor: URLs that don’t at all pass the CWV requirements
  • Needs improvement: URLs that need some minor improvements
  • Good: URLs that are good and require no optimization
Google Search Console CWV Mobile

For newer websites that you have just added in the Google Search Console, these data are not shown as Google wouldn’t have enough real-world samples collected.

4. web.dev/measure

  • Free to use
  • Lab tool

web.dev/measure is nothing but Lighthouse that doesn’t require the Google Chrome browser, it can be run in any browser. Like Lighthouse, web.dev/measure measures the overall quality of a web page in a lab environment.

Below, you can see what the final report of the tool looks like:

Web Dev Measure Report

If you’re confused about when to use Google PSI and web. dev/measure:

  • Use Google PSI if you want to optimize your Core Web Vitals, and
  • Use web.dev/measure if you want to optimize a broader set of quality signals

Not just the performance report, but the web.dev/measure tool also provides a list of guidelines to improve the user experience.

5. Chrome UX Report (CrUX)

  • Free to use
  • Field tool

The Chrome UX Report (CrUX) tool is an open-source database that allows you to see the field performance (real-world performance) of websites.

However you don’t need to look at the dataset directly, the data from CrUX reports are already provided through the above-mentioned tool Google PageSpeed Insights.

Some important metrics that the tool provides are First Paint, FCP, DOMContentLoaded, FID, LCP, CLS, TTFB, onload, etc. Apart from Google PSI, these public data are also made available via the Public Google BigQuery project and CrUX Dashboard on Data Studio.

As a regular user, you don’t need to look at these raw data.

6. Chrome DevTools

  • Free to use
  • Lab tool

If you need an even more detailed report of what Lighthouse is able to provide, Chrome DevTools come into play. In fact, Chrome DevTools (Lighthouse comes under it) is the larger set of web development tools provided by Google.

Again, it sits right there in your Chrome browser and allows you to measure important metrics like TBT (Total Blocking Time).

Chrome DevTools Performance Report

Above, you can see what the tool looks like while in action.

Other Core Web Vital Tools

All the above-mentioned tools are the fundamental or better to say the core tools for measuring Core Web Vitals. All these tools are provided by Google but there are some other useful tools that help you further optimize your website.

7. GTmetrix

  • Free and paid options
  • Lab tool

GTmetrx has been around for years, earlier, they only measured the loading speed of a web page. But now, it also measures Core Web Vitals by using the Lighthouse tool.

GTmetrix Main Report

The best thing, GTmetrix provides a very useful Waterfall Chart that helps you visualize the loading of all the elements of the web page in a better way.

GTmetrix Waterfall Report

GTmetrix is free to use but if you need some extra features like more monitored slots and hourly monitoring, they also have affordable paid plans.

However, for most people, the free plan is just enough.

8. WebPageTest

  • Free to use
  • Lab and field tool

WebPageTest is a very underrated tool for measuring Core Web Vitals. It has some advanced configuration options for setting up the desired test environment — you can tweak things like connection type, browser dimension, video capture, number of tests run, etc.

WebPageTest Waterfall Report
WebPageTest Waterfall Report

WebPageTest incorporates 5 main tools which are: Site Performance, Core Web Vitals, Lighthouse, Visual Comparison, and Traceroute that help you dig deeper into the user experience optimization.

9. Layout Shift GIF Generator

  • Free to use
  • Lab tool

Layout Shift GIF Generator is the simplest of these all and still a very useful tool to analyze the Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) of a web page.

Layout Shift GIF Generator Report

It provides an interesting GIF image showing how the shift occurs when the website loads, as you can see above.

10. Page Experience by Experte

  • Free to use
  • Lab tool

Most of the above-mentioned tools provide performance report details only for the submitted URL, but Page Experience by Experte lets you check up to 500 pages of a website. Just put in your site’s homepage URL and it does all the work.

Experte Page Experience Report

The tool automatically discovers all the pages on your website and tests them against Core Web Vitals (LCP, FID, and CLS).

Final words

This guide was designed to showcase all the amazing Core Web Vital tools and how you can use them to your benefit.

I hope you’ve gotten a better understanding of how these tools help you see the performance report for your site, identify the ways in which it’s lacking, and make improvements to the overall user experience.

If you have a related query, feel free to let us know in the comments below.

Also, kindly share the information with fellow SEOs and web developers who you think might be interested in reading it.

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