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SEO Tools with Google Core Web Vitals Analysis

Last updated Nov 19, 2021

Free and Paid Options for Analyzing Website Page Speed and User Experience

Google has used website page speed as a search ranking factor for several years now, and is increasingly focused on user experience metrics related to page speed and visual stability.

Google’s Core Web Vitals (CWV) and pagespeed metrics are a big part of this push. Website owners and managers need to understand these metrics and fix problem areas to boost their rankings in both Google Mobile and Google Desktop search.

This post introduces several SEO tools that are a big help in this area. Some are free analysis tools, and others are paid SEO tools that add extra value on top of the raw URL-level analysis.

Read on to learn more about tools designed to help you understand and improve your website’s user experience and Core Web Vitals metrics.

Table of Contents (+/-)
    google page experience report
    Google Search Console and other free and paid SEO tools help website owners find and fix problems with page speed and Google’s Core Web Vitals metrics.

    User Experience, Page Experience, and Core Web Vitals

    Quick Overview of Key Concepts

    For any of your website visitors, their individual user experience is a broad concept that can be impacted by many factors. Some of these are quite subjective in nature, while others are easier to measure and quantify.

    For example:

    • Does your site or specific content match the information or transactional needs of the user? Does the user leave the page or site feeling that they ‘got what they needed’?
    • Are the site’s pages ‘easy’ to use and consume?
    • Are the pages designed well in terms of visual layout, color schemes, font selections and sizes, etc.?
    • Do the pages load quickly on the device used (e.g., desktop/laptop, tablet or smartphone)?
    • Do images and videos display quickly and correctly?
    • Are all pages visually stable as the user scrolls through them? Is there unexpected visible ‘jerkiness’ to any pages?
    • For ecommerce sites, do the shopping and transaction processes work as expected?

    This post is focused primarily on the more readily quantifiable aspects of overall user experience, such as page speed-related metrics.

    For much more on the broader topic of building a user-friendly and search-friendly website, be sure to also check out Google’s Webmaster Guidelines here.

    Page Experience

    For Google, the term Page Experience is about measuring ‘how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page beyond its pure information value.’ (source: Google)

    Learn more about Google’s definition and measurement of page experience here.

    Core Web Vitals

    Now part of the overall page experience assessment, Core Web Vitals are ‘the subset of Web Vitals that apply to all web pages, should be measured by all site owners, and will be surfaced across all Google tools. Each of the Core Web Vitals represents a distinct facet of the user experience, is measurable in the field, and reflects the real-world experience of a critical user-centric outcome.’ (source: Google)

    Google provides more discussion of Core Web Vitals here. Note that CWV metrics and target values will likely change over time. This is all still evolving, per Google experts.

    The rest of this article introduces several free and paid tools that help website owners and webmasters measure and interpret these increasingly important user experience and SEO factors.

    Free Tools for Page Speed and Core Web Vitals

    What Free SEO Tools Are Available for User Experience Analysis?

    Not surprisingly, Google provides their own free tools to help webmasters analyze these factors and start to correct any issues found. Most important for webmasters and average everyday website owners are Google Search Console (GSC) and PageSpeed Insights (PSI).

    Here are the highlights of GSC and PSI, followed by other free and paid tools that are also very helpful in this area.

    If you’re already familiar with GSC and PSI, you can skip that part and jump straight into the paid tools intro here.

    Google Search Console – Page Experience

    Many website pros know GSC as the free set of webmaster tools from Google. It’s a really important platform for understanding how Google sees your website and includes your pages (URLs) in search results.

    GSC also now has a set of ‘Experience’ reports that cover Page Experience, Core Web Vitals, and Mobile Usability. They’re in the GSC menu as shown below.

    google search console user experience report menu
    The ‘Experience’ reports menu in Google Search Console

    As of mid-November 2021, the Page Experience report is specific to URLs served to mobile devices and browsers. It combines several factors including Core Web Vitals, Mobile Usability, and HTTPS usage.

    google page experience report
    Google Page Experience report for mobile

    Here’s a screenshot that summarizes the Page Experience evaluation on a per-URL basis.

    google good page experience criteria
    Google Search: good page experience criteria

    Pages without enough field data in the Core Web Vitals assessment will not appear in the Page Experience report. For many smaller sites with less traffic, this may leave the Page Experience report completely blank, at least until Google accumulates enough data over a 90-day period.

    gsc page experience usage data notice

    For complete details, read the latest Google updates on Page Experience here.

    Also see this Google support page on Page Experience, which includes several helpful videos.

    Google Search Console – Core Web Vitals

    Google’s geeky term for page-level experience is Core Web Vitals — a trio of user experience metrics related to page speed and visual stability. They are applicable to all website pages, hence the term ‘core’ for these essential metrics.

    Core Web Vitals currently consists of:

    • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – a measure of page loading performance (page speed).
    • First Input Delay (FID) – a measure of interactivity timing.
    • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – a measure of visual stability.
    google core web vitals lcp fid cls
    Google’s three Core Web Vitals – LCP, FID, and CLS

    For all three CWV metrics, lower numbers are better. Google continues to refine these measures over time, so we should expect occasional tweaks and adjustments to the set of Core Web Vitals as the area of website user experience measurement evolves.

    Google Search Console and PageSpeed Insights (more on PSI below) are the most important and accessible Google tools for CWV analysis by general webmasters and website owners. There are a few others that are more developer-centric.

    Learn about other Google tools with CWV capabilities here.

    google tools with core web vitals support
    Google includes Core Web Vitals data in several tools now.

    The Web Vitals Extension for the Chrome browser is also very interesting and helpful.

    Also see this Google FAQ on CWV and Page Experience.

    Google PageSpeed Insights

    PageSpeed Insights (PSI) is really useful for detailed page speed analysis that goes beyond the summary metrics found in Google Search Console.

    It is not the same as the Page Experience report discussed above within GSC.

    Here’s an example report from PSI for a desktop user. This data is from a simulated website visit, vs from a sampling of real-world website browser data.

    google pagespeed insights report
    An example report from Google PageSpeed Insights

    The overall Performance Score is at the top, followed by several key metrics.

    You’ll see Core Web Vitals data here as well, including Largest Contentful Paint, Total Blocking Time (TBT instead of FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift.

    The expandable ‘Opportunities’ and ‘Diagnostics’ sections in the lower half of the report provide specific details about potential improvement areas. Some of these may be rather easy to address; others will be more complicated.

    For many website owners, sharing this report with a technical webmaster or web dev expert will be a good step toward identifying and fixing the largest problem areas.

    PageSpeed Insights Notes

    URL-by-URL Analysis

    The main drawback of PageSpeed Insights is that it’s a manual URL-by-URL process to run several pages through PSI analysis.

    In contrast, Google Search Console provides more of a ‘bulk analysis’ review of page experience metrics. The 3rd-party (non-Google) SEO software suites also provide bulk page analysis and individual page-level analysis.

    Chrome User Experience Report

    If your site has enough traffic, you’ll also see page load time details based on actual Chrome browser users around the world. This is called ‘field data’, vs the simulated ‘lab data’ in the screenshot above.

    For smaller sites and pages without enough field data sampling, you will see this:

    pagespeed insights chrome UX report no data
    Chrome UX report with insufficient real-world user data

    Mobile Device Scores

    For PSI reports like the one in the first screenshot above, you can toggle between desktop and mobile scores.

    In my experience, the mobile scores are often far worse than the desktop scores. This is due in part to the way PSI simulates a ‘throttled’ lower-speed 3G or 4G mobile data network.

    In those cases, there will be a lengthy list of things to fix in order to score higher in PSI. You’ll need to decide which of these things to tackle, and which items you can safely ignore.

    Here’s an example:

    mobile page speed improvement opportunities
    PSI list of mobile page speed improvement areas

    For this page, the main items to address for mobile performance — the ‘low-hanging fruit’ — may be the JavaScript reduction, render-blocking resources, and First Contentful Paint (FCP) items.

    In many cases, improving mobile PSI scores will improve the desktop scores as well.

    Overall, PageSpeed Insights is very helpful by itself, and as a complementary tool to Google Search Console. They’re both free, so be sure to take full advantage of them!

    GTmetrix

    Another free service I like for page speed analysis and Core Web Vitals data is GTmetrix. Like PSI discussed above, GTmetrix is a manual page-level analysis, at least at the free level.

    Here’s an example summary report for a single page:

    gtmetrix page speed analysis summary
    GTmetrix partial summary with page speed, web vitals, speed visualization, and top issues to correct.

    There’s also a summary of total page size (in KB or MB) and total page requests, broken down by content types, such as HTML, JS, CSS, image, video, font, and other.

    The issues noted for corrective action here will often overlap what you will find in PageSpeed Insights, so using GTmetrix is a good way to support and complement PSI analysis.

    The Waterfall view in GTmetrix can also be very useful for spotting specific page elements that are slowing down page content visibility and load timings.

    GTmetrix is also a good way to check your image sizes to make sure they’re not too big.

    Be sure to also register a free GTmetrix account so you can save prior speed tests, etc., for your website. There’s a pro-level subscription option as well.

    Next Up — A Selection of Paid SEO Tools

    Now let’s take a quick look at some of the premium (paid) SEO software tools and see what they can do for us in the area of page speed and Core Web Vitals analysis.

    Hint: Bulk URL analysis of page speed factors is one of the big benefits!

    Premium SEO Tools Simplify Page Speed Analysis

    Many of the premium SEO tools available today have rightly jumped on the bandwagon for pagespeed analysis and assessment of Core Web Vitals.

    One advantage of using them is that they can perform PSI and CWV checks ‘in bulk’ as part of an overall SEO technical website audit. This is in contrast to running tools like PSI or GTmetrix on a manual, URL-by-URL basis.

    Here’s a look at some of the better paid tools in this area.

    SEO PowerSuite

    seo powersuite applications
    The SEO PowerSuite application family

    I use and recommend SEO PowerSuite’s family of desktop applications, so I might as well start here.

    With SEO PowerSuite, you’ll find integrated PageSpeed Insights and Core Web Vitals metrics in the WebSite Auditor application, and also in Rank Tracker.

    WebSite Auditor

    WebSite Auditor provides these page speed and user experience metrics for all pages in bulk fashion, or for individual pages, as part of its detailed technical audit module. See screenshots below.

    seo powersuite pagespeed and core web vitals
    SEO PowerSuite’s WebSite Auditor includes Core Web Vitals and PageSpeed Insights metrics, as shown above in a page-level analysis.

    In the screenshot above, the web vitals assessment is at the top of the main window, followed by the PageSpeed Insights overall performance score and various page speed / timing metrics.

    The ‘Performance audit’ section provides specific details about potential improvement areas for further action.

    The screenshot below highlights pages that have poor performance scores after running the technical audit. This is part of SEO PowerSuite’s ability to run pagespeed tests in bulk, vs page-by-page.

    Also note the color-coded page speed issues that can be further inspected via the left-side column.

    seo powersuite core web vitals pagespeed bulk analysis
    SEO PowerSuite supports page speed analysis in bulk, with issues broken down into specific color-coded areas for further review.

    All of the table data is filterable, sortable, and exportable for handoffs to website developers or other team members.

    You’ll most likely run this on your own website or client websites. However, you can run WebSite Auditor on competitor sites as well!

    Learn more about Core Web Vitals and page speed analytics in SEO PowerSuite.

    Rank Tracker

    SEO PowerSuite’s Rank Tracker application includes page speed and Core Web Vitals data as part of its detailed SERP Analysis module.

    In this case, we’re looking at PSI and web vitals metrics for top competing URLs in the Google SERP, so it becomes part of an overall SEO competitor analysis.

    Here’s an example for a keyphrase with lots of popular websites dominating the top of the Google SERP. This screenshot is the left half of the entire SERP analysis module in Rank Tracker.

    seo powersuite core web vitals analysis
    Performance Score and Core Web Vitals in SEO PowerSuite’s SERP Analysis module

    In this case, only three of the top 15 ranking pages have passed the Core Web Vitals test! Possible values for the CWV result in this report are ‘Passed’, ‘Not passed’, and ‘Not Enough Field Data’.

    Remember: Core Web Vitals metrics depend on having enough real-world field data from Chrome browser users. So, some or even all of your website pages may not have CWV data available. This is true for any of the tools discussed in this post.

    Tip: If you know you rank well already for a specific keyphrase, pop it into Rank Tracker’s SERP Analysis tool to see how all your main SEO competition compares in the areas of web vitals and page speed!

    Related: For more on SERP analysis in general, also see my post on SEO tools with SERP analysis features.

    PageSpeed Insights API Key

    To enable this level of analysis in SEO PowerSuite, all you need to do is obtain your own free API key for PageSpeed Insights and then add it into the SEO PowerSuite application settings.

    It’s easy to get a PageSpeed Insights API key. Go here to get started. Note that you may need to log into your Google account for this.

    This will unlock automated, bulk page speed and web vitals analysis in SEO PowerSuite, so it’s worth the few extra steps required.

    SEO PowerSuite is one of the more affordable SEO software toolkits available, so it’s great to see them incorporating page speed and web vitals data now as well.

    I use and recommend SEO PowerSuite as an affiliate partner. You can try it out yourself via the banner below.

    seo powersuite free download version

    SEMrush

    SEMrush has integrated their Core Web Vitals analysis into their Site Audit tools. Like many other 3rd-party web vitals analysis tools, the SEMrush CWV analysis is powered by Google’s open-source Lighthouse tool.

    See SEMrush’s detailed Core Web Vitals measurement article here. This is a very good overview that also includes a helpful video.

    Here’s an example CWV summary in the SEMrush Site Audit.

    semrush core web vitals analysis summary
    The SEMrush Site Audit tool now includes Core Web Vitals analysis

    This is the basic CWV analysis process using SEMrush:

    semrush core web vitals process
    How to check Core Web Vitals with SEMrush

    Note that SEMrush may limit how many pages you can check for web vitals scores in each individual site audit. See this SEMrush post for more details.

    Ahrefs

    ahrefs seo tools logo

    Ahrefs now supports Core Web Vitals and other page speed metrics in the Ahrefs Site Audit tool.

    As in SEO PowerSuite, you’ll first need to claim your own API key for PageSpeed Insights and then enter that key into the Ahrefs Site Audit settings area.

    Ahrefs describes how to do that here.

    Once you have this in place, you’ll be able to add new CWV and other speed-related data columns to your audit reports. These metrics come via PageSpeed Insights and include data from Chrome User Experience (CrUX) field data, if available for your pages, and also Google Lighthouse.

    For much more detail on Core Web Vitals and the role of page speed in SEO, see this excellent Ahrefs blog post.

    Moz

    moz logo

    Moz added Core Web Vitals via a beta program in April 2021. It’s part of the new Moz Performance Metrics Suite.

    You can access these new beta metrics with a free trial of Moz Pro here.

    With Moz Performance Metrics tools, you can run bulk checks of your most important pages, compare desktop vs mobile performance, and filter and export data for further analysis as needed.

    You get to select the URLs analyzed, so there’s no need to wait for a full site audit to get the latest CWV and other performance metrics for your priority pages.

    Here’s how that would look for a specific URL analyzed:

    moz core web vitals and page speed metrics
    Example Moz Performance Metrics for a specific page

    The ‘Details’ dropdown shows suggested fixes, if needed, for that specific page and metric.

    The Moz Performance Metrics beta features will surely become a full part of Moz Pro’s Site Crawl module soon. It’s worth checking out, especially for existing Moz Pro users.

    Learn more about the new Moz Performance Metrics here.

    Ubersuggest

    ubersuggest logo

    Ubersuggest, which is one of my affordable SEO tools picks, also now includes speed data within their SEO Analyzer reporting.

    ubersuggest site speed core web vitals

    The Ubersuggest Site Speed reports now include Core Web Vitals data, as shown above.

    Metrics include Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) for load time, First Input Delay (FID) for interactivity, and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) for visual stability.

    You can easily toggle between desktop and mobile analysis here as well.

    The CWV data is pulled from their own integration with Google’s PageSpeed Insights, so you won’t need your own PSI API key here.

    Learn more about how Ubersuggest Site Speed incorporates Core Web Vitals data.

    Learn more about the Ubersuggest SEO Analyzer and site audits.

    SEO Tools for Core Web Vitals Analysis — Final Thoughts

    Free and Paid Tools Help Make Speed Analysis Easier

    This article covered a number of free and paid tools that will help you analyze page speed and Core Web Vitals issues on your own website(s), as well as any client sites you may support.

    This isn’t an exhaustive list of available tools, but it does offer a good cross-section of what’s available today at different price points and SEO budget levels.

    Google Search Console and PageSpeed Insights are a great way to get started for free. Coming from Google, they offer direct insights into how Google views your website performance and user experience measurables.

    Take a look at GTmetrix as well, for individual page-level speed analysis.

    Start Free – Add More Tools as Needed

    Beyond these tools, look for PageSpeed Insights and Core Web Vitals integration in some of the better paid SEO tools, such as the ones profiled above.

    These premium website audit tools offer advantages such as bulk URL analysis powered by PSI API keys, regular updates as part of scheduled site audits, and easier analysis and prioritization of the speed and user experience deficiencies to work on first.

    They can also make it much easier to collect, summarize, and report on page speed and user experience issues for internal management or SEO clients.

    With some time and attention spent in the areas of user experience and page speed optimizations, along with smart prioritization regarding site improvements, you’ll be in a good position to boost your SEO performance and site visitor satisfaction relative to the competition.

    Related Topics

    Also see the posts highlighted below for related information.

    Questions or Comments?

    Feel free to add your own insights in the comments below with any thoughts, feedback, or related questions. Thanks also for any social shares on this post via the buttons below!

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