What is Google Pagespeed and Best ways To Improve

Updated on January 13, 2023 | By

As many people may think, Google Pagespeed Insights inst a direct ranking factor. It’s meant to be a tool to aid website owners in seeing what(if anything) they needed to adjust to make their sites to be more mobile-friendly, according to Google.

It is from the early Google update in 2018 when it announced that its algorithms would begin to consider the ‘page speed’ of sites as a ranking factor for mobile. It has been a factor for desktops since 2010.

As of 2022, the Google Pagespeed tool runs on Lighthouse, which is an open-source app that analyzes web apps and web pages, collecting modern performance metrics and insights on developer best practices.

With the new Core Web Vitals update, a direct ranking factor alongside other Page Experience requirements, website owners will need to complement Pagespeed with other tools to measure their Core Web Vitals data.

Top 3 ways to increase Pagespeed to 100

Pagespeed has most of its scoring on TBT (Total Blocking Time) with a weight of 30% over the scoring. The remaining are:

  • LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) – 15% weight
  • CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) – 10% weight
  • TTI (Time to Interactive) – 10% weight
  • SI (Speed Index) – 10% weight
  • FCP (First Contentful Paint) – 10% weight

You can find your detailed score, by running a Pagespeed test and clicking on “See calculator”. The Lighthouse Scoring Calculator will open and show your respective scoring in each category.

As Pagespeed weighs more towards TBT, you should strive towards having a good Javascript loading experience. The full tips to improve Pagespeed score are:

1. Reduce or improve Javascript and CSS loading

Javascript affects lots of the scoring requirements from Pagespeed. It’s primordial to pay attention to Javascript code when you have Pagespeed as your goal. CSS comes very close in terms of loading time as it loads render-blocking. Optimizing both will net you a good overall load time.

TBT (Total Blocking Time) which measures the total amount of time that a page is blocked from responding to user input, such as mouse clicks, is majority caused by Javascript code and accounts for 30% of the total scoring.

How find out if you can delay or remove unused Javascript

You need to check if your page is dependent on Javascript. Follow the steps below to test and analyze it without Javascript on Chrome:

  1. Open Chrome DevTools, press Control+Shift+P or Command+Shift+P (Mac) to open the Command Menu, and start typing javascript,
  2. Select Disable JavaScript, and then press Enter to run the command. JavaScript is now disabled.
image 12
Youtube.com mobile with javascript disabled. It’s a dynamic website and uses placeholder techniques to reserve space for elements

An example of a Google static website is web.dev, with a low amount of render-blocking javascript and scores 75/99 on Pagespeed.

If you have a low amount of essential javascript or a static website, your website is eligible for +90 on Pagespeed and good Core Web Vitals.

2. Improve image loading with CDN and apply lazy loading(including background images)

LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) is responsible for 25% of Pagespeed scoring. Making sure your images are loading fast and only when needed is also primordial for Pagespeed scoring.

Make sure to have all background images lazyload when necessary. Preload the LCP image on the page only to improve the LCP. Use preloading of responsive images too.

3. Choose a good server

Having a fast hosting solution will benefit you with all assets loading fast and a fast TTFB(Time to First Byte). If you have good hosting, you may not need to upgrade to a CDN service for your website assets, and therefore not increase spending costs.

4. Hire a speed optimization expert

Hire a speed optimization expert(or have a web-perf team) to consult and help you implement changes to improve your performance, and then your Pagespeed insights score. Web performance is a growing topic and has an immense impact on the web today, including as a search engine ranking factor.

Pagespeed vs Core Web Vitals

The Page Experience update will make Core Web Vitals alongside all other search signals for page experience, a ranking factor.

The other search signals are Mobile-friendly, Safe-browsing, HTTPS, and have No intrusive interstitials.

It won’t be required anymore to have AMP enabled to be featured on Top Stories, the Core Web Vitals are now the standard for user experience and speed.

Google recently added to Search Console the Page Experience update which evaluates page experience metrics for individual URLs on your site and will use them as a ranking signal for a URL in Google Search results on mobile devices. Currently, it is evaluated only for mobile browsers.

If you want to improve your WordPress Core Web Vitals, check our article on it.

Pagespeed vs Lighthouse: What are the differences

Pagespeed Insights is Google’s tool for checking both desktop and mobile device Lighthouse metrics, with field(real users data), and lab data(test data). It recently updated and added Lighthouse developer best practices, SEO, and Accessibility metrics for both desktop and mobile.

Pagespeed uses Lighthouse, with different mobile and network/device conditions. Lighthouse is an open-source app that analyzes web apps and web pages, collecting performance metrics and insights into developer best practices.

Google recently updated the Pagespeed interface and now the Core Web Vitals metrics have more prominence than score. Google recommends using PSI when you want to measure and optimize your Core Web Vitals and using Lighthouse(web.dev/measure) when optimizing a broader set of quality signals about a page.

Lighthouse-CI is the version that automates running Lighthouse for every Github commit, viewing the changes, and preventing regressions.

Get your WordPress Core Web Vitals Optimized!

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