Page Speed optimization is a key performance procedure that should be carefully done by every website owner. It is regarded as one of the most important factors in both customer experience and search engine optimization and ranking. Speeding up a website using Google’s own Page Speed Insights tool is one of the most powerful approaches and in this article, we give advice on how this can be done in simple steps.
What is Page Speed Insights?
Google’s developed PageSpeed Insights reports are one of the key indicators of how a website operates according to the search engine. By definition it part of the PageSpeed Tools suite that is developed by the company and available to web developers in the form of an online tool.
Access to this service is available to everyone, by looking at the metrics it provides the website administrators can receive valuable feedback on how their sites operate and how to improve visitors experience. The tool provides two types of information — lab and field data, each is useful in analyzing the results and improvement of the current status.
The two types of data are explained as the following:
- Lab Data — This is useful information that is primarily useful for debugging inappropriate operations. This analyzes problems that occur on a general scale and can give details on concrete issues about the site.
- Field Data Metrics — This is an useful measurement of real-world live data that can give information on the metrics as observed by the visitors.
Page Speed Insights creates an overall score that is an estimated summary of how the given website performs. This is done by using another service called Lighthouse which collects and analyzes the data. The score is provided from 0 to 100 in numeric values. A score of above 90 is considered a good record, while 50-90 is rated as in need of improvements, below 50 is regarded as poor performance.
How to understand the Page Speed Insights Metrics?
When an URL is placed in the tool, the service will automatically enumerate that score based on these two types of field data. Google will poll the Chrome User Experience Report data set that is stored on their servers and collected by the Chrome web browser. As part of the analysis, it will also check other metrics such as First Contentful Paint (FCP), First Input Delay (FID), Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
The three listed thresholds of good/needs improvement/poor are based on the overall summed-up data from the above-listed sources. The website owners can understand the results by looking over at the graphic markers that are shown on the results page. A green check mark will indicate a good score, orange will label a site that needs improvements, and red shows poor results.
The Lighthouse module lists three separate types of audits:
- Opportunities — These are specific suggestions that showcases how much faster the site would operate if the given improvements are made.
- Diagnostics — They give a current look into how the page observes the best web development practices as understood by Google. Specific improvement and tips on how to go around the enhancements can be found here.
- Passed Audits — Shows the types of audits that have gone through. As the number of audits increases, so are the chances of improvement of the overall score.
At the moment the Lighthouse service uses a simulation of the Moto G4 mobile device to load the given page. This is chosen by the service as a mid-tier example of how a regular visitor may access the website. To lead to an improvement of the service, the service may switch to other emulated devices at any time.
Website owners can distinguish two main types of slow-down values, ones that shows how above-the-fold content is loaded and the opposing full page load speed. The Google PageSpeed Insights can give essential information on this as it utilizes both the mobile device and a desktop loading emulation. Page speed improvement is tracked according to the site loading of different types of devices.
By design, this is a diagnostics tool, and detailed advice on how to improve the performance and results will depend largely on the site type and other factors such as the web host environment.
A slow website speed can lead to a high number of users dropping out of the site, a metric that is also known as the bounce rate. This is particularly dangerous for business sites, including online shops and important portals. A slow-loading site can hinder buying and selling and can lead to a very bad track record. This is also true for conversions, reaching organic growth, and meeting important site goals.
Speed Optimization Tips
The solutions and options to improve a given site speed will depend on the current analysis and status of the site. Largely the optimizations which are commonly needed for most pages will be regarding unused resources reduction and functional improvements. This includes the following elements:
- Images Optimization — Images are by far the most requested resources and are widely regarded as very important assets for every site. Badly-optimized, slow-loading, and improperly tagged images can severely hinder the Google report and ranking. Using a proper compression with not much of quality loss will lead to the best possible results and improvement of site loading.
- Use of Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) — Data will be much faster to load if the users resort to the use of content delivery networks. These are large servers that are found around the world and provide selected users data (mainly images and multimedia assets). This greatly increases loading speed by creating a local copy of the requested file to a geographically-closer location. A considerable page speed improvement will be achieved if they are enabled.
Other improvement techniques that can be used by the website owners include the use of various Web caching technologies — they are usually implemented by the web server of the host or enabled through a plugin activated through the dynamic content management systems.
Due to the fact that the Google PageSpeed Insights operates by testing the site through emulated devices, including a mobile one, one of the best tips e can give you is the use of the Google AMP Project. This is short for Accelerated Mobile Pages and is a presentation of the page in a mobile-friendly format, that is controlled by special formatting. Google indexes these pages fairly quickly if they confront the standards. They are known for loading fast and being outlined with a special “bolt” graphics image next to them in a search engine query.
Enabling compression will lead to an improvement of the web speed, the speed enhancement will likely depend on the chosen algorithm. This is usually done by the web hosting service’s control panel or via a special plugin designed to enable this feature.
The Google PageSpeed Insights do offer a sensible and detailed analysis into how a given website operates, however it is very difficult to give detailed instructions on how to optimize websites, as the results and mechanisms will depend on the current status of the chosen site. Particular improvement will be evident when all issues have been amended.
This article however gives some of the most common tips that are used for speed optimization, faster content delivery, and bug-free loading of the individual pages. One of the most important aspects regarding a well-functioning site involves the creation of mobile-friendly content and one that confronts to the best development practices as seen by Google and the other search engines.
Most of the advice can be followed by the website owners, while some of the tips may require specific configuration of the servers and technologies that are powering the site. You can check with your hosting provider to see if they provide automated solutions for site optimizations or specific guides on how this can be achieved. We at Howtohosting.guide will continue to provide useful advice to improve page loading speed.