Web Vitals Case Study: Best 210 Websites Analyzed

For this case study, we analyzed 210 very popular websites for Google’s web vitals and now we share the results with you. And the results are very, very interesting.

According to Google, web vitals are the most important thing in page ranking. If you want your website to be ranked high in Google search, then your website needs to have the high score possible.

So, we decided to do this case study to see how the top and heavy traffic websites are optimized and do it really matters to have a well-optimized website for success.


Table Of Content

What Is Google’s Web Vitals

Web vitals is Google’s way to measure website performance, give it a score, and depending on that score, will handle websites accordingly. Low-score websites have less chance to be ranked high.

Google uses different metrics, methods, and tools for this. One of the most popular tools is Google Insights which measures website speed and how fast it loads for mobile and desktop.

core web vitals

Google checks and measures many different parameters but there are three important ones:

  1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – Measures loading performance by how fast the largest image or text is displayed.
  2. First Input Delay (FID) – This parameter Measures the interactive speed of a website.
  3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – This measures visual stability. How elements behave during website loading.

But Google has another tool called Lighthouse. It has a Chrome extension and everybody can use it. And that’s what we used for this performance test.

How Lighthouse 6 Works

Lighthouse is a website audit tool that works very simply. You install the Chrome extension, then go to any webpage, and click the Lighthouse icon and in seconds it will give you the full report of the website.

But Lighthouse 6 is a very powerful tool. It checks and gives you the results of four main metrics which are important for web vitals.

This is what metrics Lighthouse checks websites for:

  1. Performance – It checks the speed of a website. Exactly what Google Insights does.
  2. Accessibility – This checks if a website is usable. Do UI components work, can users navigate and understand the content, do images missing alt attribute, etc.
  3. Best Practices – Checks the security, trust, and safety of websites. Usage of HTTPS, document structure, vulnerability issues, etc.
  4. SEO – And this metric checks if a website is optimized for search engines. This is a small SEO tool from Google.

And the scoring system is very simple. The website gets a score from 0 to 100. The higher score is better.

Lighthouse 6

And Google splits the score in three sections:

  1. Poor – Score of 0-49
  2. Needs Improvement – Score of 50-89
  3. Good – Score of 90-100

Also, it shows what are the issues and gives you a detailed description of the issues so you can improve them.

How We Did This Case Study

Our approach to this case study was very simple. We wanted to know how optimized the popular websites are and do a bad or good optimization has an impact on website traffic and performance.

So, we picked and analyzed 210 popular websites. We include some of our favorite websites. Also, we used Similarweb and found popular websites with high traffic and high Google ranking. Most of the websites get millions of visits each month.

Also Read: Best Website Analyzer

Websites for this case study are built with different technologies. Of these 210 websites, 39% uses WordPress. Other websites use Drupal, PHP, ASP.NET, JavaScript, etc.

CMS and frameworks

We wanted our test to be diverse so we picked different types of websites. Most of the websites are blogs or news portals but there are other types of websites such as portfolios, corporate, eCommerce, landing pages, etc.

Then we analyzed every website with Lighthouse for all four metrics. We calculated average and overall score, worst and best score, score for each metric, etc.

And now we present the results for our web vitals case study.


Website Audit Results

Now let’s see what this deep performance case study showed us. Results are divided by section to clearly see where the most problems were and how these 210 websites are optimized for each metric.

Note that Lighthouse measures performance for mobile because today websites have to perform well on mobile devices. Also, optimization for desktop is much easier.

Performance Results

The first optimization results we analyzed were website performance, how fast a website loads. The speed of a website is crucial for success.

If a website loads slowly, especially on mobile devices, it has less chance to rank high on search results. For Google, it’s one of the most important things when it comes to ranking.

And results for performance were shocking. Although these are top websites, 140 of them had a score below 50, which is a bad score. The average score for speed was 42.

website load speed test

The reason behind it could be the high traffic and request. Because all of these websites use good hosting and are very optimized. But rich content, animation, and different scripts have an impact on performance.

Only 14 websites had scored above 90 of which 9 websites are built with WordPress and are blogs.

In general, WordPress websites performed better than other but it also had some issues. Of 140 slow-speed websites, 42 were using WordPress.

WordPress performance test

This web vitals test showed us that despite the popularity and high ranking, websites are still not well-optimized for mobile performance.

As it seems it doesn’t have a big impact on ranking because these websites get millions of visits per month. However, most users still use desktops more than mobile devices.

But this doesn’t mean that speed is not important. Study shows that slow websites have high bounce rate So for a successful business you need to have a fast loading website.

Performance Quick Summary
  • Poor – 66.66%
  • Needs Improvement – 26.66%
  • Good – 6.68%
  • Lowest Score – 4
  • Highest Score – 99
  • Average Score – 42

Accessibility Results

Next is accessibility which is how accessible and useable a website is. It may be not as important for ranking as speed, but a high score is needed for a better user experience.

Analyzed websites didn’t have too many problems in this section. Half of the websites had a good score. Only one website had a score below 50 and it was not a WordPress website.

Although 106 websites had a score between 50 and 89, most of them had scored above 75. This means that they have minor issues and are not hard to improve.

accessibility results

WordPress websites performed well in this category. Of 103 websites with a good accessibility score, 41 of them are using WordPress.

This test showed that half of the websites have a good score and half of them need a small improvement and are close to a good score.

Accessibility Quick Summary
  • Poor – 0.48%
  • Needs Improvement – 50.48%
  • Good – 49.04%
  • Lowest Score – 33
  • Highest Score – 100
  • Average Score – 86

Best Practices Results

Google’s Best Practices metrics are important for web vitals. It checks how secure a website is, how well-organized documents are, is there an issue with the script, does a site uses HTTPS, and more.

Our test showed us that websites are pretty well secured and have no major vulnerabilities. Only 2 websites had a score under 50 but one of them was 0. Perhaps there was an issue with the report.

Also Read: Top Security Plugins

158 websites were in the Needs Improvement category and almost 80% of them had a score between 80 and 89.

best practics test results

WordPress websites also performed well in this category. The lowest score that WordPress websites had was 73 and ten WordPress websites had a score of 100.

All in all, there were no major problems. All 210 websites were using HTTPS, were well documented and had no vulnerability. Most of them had issues with font-display and unload listeners.

There were only two cases of bad experiences and major issues regarding JavaScript and images.

Although Best Practices may not have a straight impact on ranking, issues must be resolved. Every website needs to have an SSL Certificate, good document structure, and clean scripts.

Best Practices Quick Summary
  • Poor – 0.95%
  • Needs Improvement – 75.24%
  • Good – 23.81%
  • Lowest Score – 0
  • Highest Score – 100
  • Average Score – 82

SEO Results

And the last web vitals we tested with Lighthouse is SEO. Everybody knows that SEO is the major ranking factor and if you want to see your pages on Google’s SERP, you need a good SEO.

And SEO is not only about keywords anymore. There are a lot of other aspects to consider. And Lighthouse ensures that pages are optimized for search engines.

Also Read: Best SEO Tool

It checks alt attributes for images, crawlable links, font sizes, descriptive texts for links, sizes of targets, and much more.

But the test results were amazing. Actually, SEO metrics had the best performance score from all four metrics. There was no single website with a poor score.

SEO web vitals

Not only that but 60% of websites had an excellent score between 90 and 100. Looks like popular websites are very well-optimized for search engines.

Of these 128 websites with a high SEO score, 55 of them were WordPress websites. Looks like they use SEO plugins very well.

But we weren’t surprised by the results because if you have a high-ranking website with millions of visitors, it means that your website is optimized for SEO.

The worst score that a website had on the SEO test was 57 and only twenty-three websites from 210 had a score below 80.

SEO Quick Summary
  • Poor – 0%
  • Needs Improvement – 39.05%
  • Good – 60.95%
  • Lowest Score – 57
  • Highest Score – 100
  • Average Score – 90

Summary Of Our Case Study

We are really satisfied with our web vitals case study and we learned a few things about different aspects of website performance.

The first thing we learned is that although speed is very important and Google encourages us to have fast websites, one of the most popular websites doesn’t load that fast. At least on mobile devices.

So we can say that it may not have that much of an impact on SEO. But it is one of the reasons for the high bounce rate percentage.

Another thing is that every website whether it’s big or small needs to have HTTPS, clean and well-organized code, and must be secure.

And lastly, SEO is very, very important for ranking. Actually, it is the most important thing if you want to rank higher in the SERP.

Now, to wrap up our website performance test, here are the full table for the results.

PoorOKGoodLowest ScoreHighest ScoreAverage Score
Performance66.66%26.66%6.68%49942
Accessibility0.48%50.48%49.04%3310086
Best Practices0.95%75.24%23.81%010082
SEO0%39.05%60.95%5710090

Also, here is an overall score for all four metrics:

  • Poor – 17.02%
  • Needs Improvement – 47.86%
  • Good – 35.12%

Now you can clearly see what are the major issues and what needs to be improved to rank higher and attract more traffic to your website.

Conclusion

This case study for Google’s web vitals was very important and helpful for us and we hope you will find it useful. It shows what is important for website optimization, how important speed is for SEO, and what impact does it have on ranking.

What we’ve learned by analyzing one of the best websites is that good optimization for SEO is crucial for success. Also, speed is very important although data showed that most of the websites struggle in this topic.

But speed is very important for user experience and low bounce rate. Also, Accessibility and Best Practices improve the user experience that will increase returning visitor’s number.

So, try to optimize website load speed for mobile devices, make sure that your website is optimized for SEO, and is secured.