What is Google PageSpeed Insights?
What is Google PageSpeed Insights?
Google PageSpeed Insights (PSI) is a tool from Google that evaluates the loading speed and behavior of a page on mobile and desktop devices and, depending on the results, provides concrete suggestions for improvement. PageSpeed Insights provide a good first overview of a specific URL and the associated loading time.
PSI reports on the performance of a page on both mobile and desktop devices and provides suggestions on how that page may be improved.
It provides both lab and field data about a page. Lab data is useful for debugging performance issues, as it is collected in a controlled environment. However, it may not capture real-world bottlenecks. Field data is useful for capturing true, real-world user experience - but has a more limited set of metrics.
What do Google PageSpeed Insights measure?
PageSpeed Insights combines the field data, i.e. the data gathered by Google’s Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX), with the lab data about a page that is collected by Lighthouse. You can switch between the results for mobile and desktop views.
As soon as Google has carried out the evaluation, the PageSpeed score is displayed on a scale from 0 to 100. This should help provide a rough assessment of your page’s performance. This performance value is a weighted average of different metrics. This means that more heavily weighted metrics have a greater impact on the overall rating.
How to Use Google PageSpeed Insights?
1. To perform the Google page speed test, enter the desired URL on the PageSpeed Insights website.
2. Press Analyze and let PSI do its analysis.
3. While the report is generated, the tool does two things:
First, it gathers ‘field data’ of the web page in the CrUX, i.e., the Chrome User Experience report.
Then it measures the page performance using the Lighthouse API. It computes the loading rate in a controlled and simulated environment: mid-tier devices and mobile networks. Hence, this is referred to as ‘Lab Data.’
4. After checking the report, eliminate variables that hinder the speed and pull down the rankings.
The score provided by the Google page speed test is not an official ranking factor because it’s just a tool that helps you with web page issues. It is meant to be a prominent metric of performance. It’s just a tool to help users find issues whose scores are based on the part of Google’s ranking algorithms, i.e., Core Web Vitals.
PSI scores indicate whether your pages meet Google’s performance and speed standards or not. The higher the score, the better the keyword rankings will be. If you do not find the solutions for the webpage’s slow speed, any SEO strategy will not work to improve the performance of web pages.
The Importance Of Google PageSpeed Insights
Since 2021, the Google PageSpeed score will be closely related to your SEO performance because of the Core Web Vitals included in the new Page Experience ranking factor.
Google PageSpeed matters because it can affect SEO from two different perspectives: mobile speed and user experience.
Both mobile performance and user experience are related to specific ranking factors:
In July 2018, Google rolled out the Speed Update, and mobile page speed became a direct ranking factor, both for Google Search and Ads.
In June 2021, the Page Experience signal will roll out as an SEO ranking factor. This new ranking factor measures the user experience of a page. It includes several signals: mobile-friendliness, HTTPS security, intrusive interstitial guidelines, safe-browsing, and the already mentioned Core Web Vitals metrics.
On the one hand, mobile page speed has been a ranking factor for more than two years. Hopefully, you’re already taking care of your site’s mobile performance. If you’re still in doubt, we’ve got you covered in the last section of this article with some performance optimization tips.
On the other hand, the three Core Web Vitals focus on how users interact with your page and account for 70% of the overall PageSpeed score weight. Meaning, they’re quite relevant in determining the PageSpeed Insights score.
Even though the Google PageSpeed score as a whole is not a ranking factor, you need to take care of the Core Web Vitals metrics. As we said, they’re part of the new Page Experience ranking signal and will affect your organic visibility.
How To Improve Your Google PageSpeed Insights Score
We see many site owners and developers who become obsessed over achieving a perfect PageSpeed Insights score. Unfortunately, those folks tend to overlook the more important aspect of the test’s results: the recommendations.
While you should certainly strive to improve your website’s loading times as much as possible, getting a 100/100 in Google PageSpeed Insights isn’t actually that important. For starters, it’s not even the be-all-end-all test for performance.
What really matters is the actual speed of your website. To put it into perspective, we’ve seen sites with average loading times of under 500 milliseconds (which is extremely fast!) that don’t have a 100/100 score on PageSpeed Insights.
The other factor that should influence your approach to speed optimization is the perceived performance of your site. Your visitors don’t care what your Google PageSpeed Insights score is. They just want to be able to view your content as quickly as possible.
The real purpose of testing your site’s performance with Google PageSpeed Insights isn’t to achieve a high score. Instead, it’s to find problem spots on your site, so that you can optimize them and decrease both your actual and perceived loading times.
Without a doubt, Google PageSpeed Insights is a useful tool for developers, webmasters, and site owners. I hope this article will enlighten you on how it works and how you can use it to your advantage.
But for some, it can be easy to get confused by the technical terms and misinterpret the results. If you are in one of these situations, call upon the expertise of an SEO agency!
Armed with the necessary skills and experience, they can do the heavy lifting to help you improve your website’s performance and provide a better user experience.
I hope that through this guide, you now know more about the Google PageSpeed Insights tool.