Core Web Vitals: Less Than 15% of Medical Websites Meet Benchmarks
Key requirements for appearing on Google's first page
A recent survey conducted showed that only a small fraction of medical websites were able to pass a Core Web Vitals assessment within PageSpeed Insights. The study displayed less than 15% of medical websites were properly optimized to pass the assessment by Core Web Vitals. Screaming Frog analyzed 2,500 keywords and 20,000 URLs to find that 13% of desktop and 12% of mobile results scaled the evaluation.
Context Benchmarks for Core Web Vitals:
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): Measures the loading time of the main content of a page. Usually, this occurs within 2.5 seconds of arriving on the page.
First Input Delay (FID): Measures the speed users can interact with the web page elements after landing. The time frame is within 100 milliseconds.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Measures unforeseen layout shifts. All pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.
Most medical websites performed better in terms of meeting the benchmarks for individual Core Web Vitals.
From an assessment of the First Input Delay, 89% of mobile URLs and 99% of desktop URLs meet the 100-millisecond benchmark. These figures are a good sign for researchers as it infers they can instantly interact with most of the pages they land on.
Here's a rundown of how sites measure up with the other two web vitals:
- LCP: 44% of desktop and 43% of mobile URLs pass the assessment
- CLS: 47% of desktop and 46% of mobile URLs pass the assessment
The values above imply that most of the pages searchers land on take over 2.5 seconds to load and have unexpected layout shifts. Long waiting time is not a good user experience.
Core Web Vitals exist to preserve a high-quality user experience across the web. Hence LCP and CLS are the primary focus areas medical website owners should focus on, according to the data from Screaming Frog's report.
Core Web Vitals are not ranking factors; however, it is projected to be an influencing factor. This led Screaming Frog to examine the current relationship between search rankings and Core Web Vitals.
Here's what the study found.
Core Web Vitals and Search Rankings
The study shows that the URLs under position 1 have a 10% higher chance of passing the Core Web Vitals assessment than URLs under position 9.
The URLs under position 1 have a 20% pass rate on desktop and 20% on mobile.
There is a 2% decrease in the pass rate for each position from position 1 to 5.
The URLs in positions 5 to 9 have a relatively lower pass rate of 11% on desktop and 10% on mobile.
Do these figures imply Core Web Vitals influence ranking, although they're not official ranking factors?
Screaming Frog says that's unlikely but not wholly untrue.
Core Web Vitals is not a part of Google's ranking factors, although, by 2022, it may be integrated into the system.
If your medical website doesn't pass the Core Web Vitals assessment, you're not alone.
In fact, you're in good company with most web owners in that aspect.
Regardless, it should be a medical SEO priority to scale through the CWV assessment ahead of the possible ranking factor update
Ultimately, don't get discouraged if your medical website doesn't meet the requirement by the time the updates are rolled out. This does not mean you won't be ranked entirely. Core web vitals are just three out of a plethora of factors that Google uses to determine ranking.