I will say the majority of time the engineers at Google are really smart and I understand the rational behind Core Web Vitals. Fast web pages are better for everyone, but the way Google measures Core Web Vitals has a major flaw, see if you can spot it in the quote below taken from the Google Support.
The report is based on three metrics as measured by actual user data: LCP, FID, and CLS. Once a URL has a threshold amount of data for any metric, the URL group’s status is its most poorly performing metric. So, for example, if a URL group has poor CLS but good FID, the URL status is “poor.”
Did you see the big flaw? Read it again? Still didn’t see it?
Here I will pull it out and bold the flaw Google has made in measuring Core Web Vitals.
as measured by actual user data
Now you might say that is not a flaw that makes perfect sense, by measuring the actual user data Google can see how long the web pages actually load for real people. Except it assumes that your readers have a decent Internet connection. What if, for example, you run a website whose main readers are not privileged enough to have a high speed connection? Your website, by virtue of having readers that are on slow connections, is then pushed down in the rankings. It won’t matter what you do to improve your website if the end users Internet connection is below what Google is expecting for average Internet speed.
For some interesting reading you might want to check out this release from the CIRA. It shows the rural median internet speed in Canada is 9.74 in 2021. Compared to in urban centres the median speed is 51.09. If your website is primarily focused on issues and needs of say the agricultural community, the speed the majority of your users have is roughly a 5th of what Google is seeing for urban users, but Google calculated the Core Web Vitals speed based on the majority of users on the Internet. The majority of Internet users live in urban centres.
Certainly Google would be smart enough to realize this right? It does not appear so. Core Web Vitals does not take into account the users Internet speed to determine rankings that I have been able to find. Of course it might be hidden behind some of Google’s almighty algorithms, but to us poor web managers it is not available. The fix to this problem is not very difficult. Google is already collecting the data to fix it, simply find the speed of the majority of users for sites and base a websites Core Web Vitals on ACTUAL USER DATA, based on the actual speed of the users that visit the site. Unfortunately I can’t see Google making such a move.
I guess Google is not always as smart as they need to be.