Table of contents of the article:
The main question is: how important is it for successful SEO to try to score 100/100 on the PageSpeed test
Last November Google announced that "page experience ranking signals for Google Search will be launched in May 2021. That will combine Core Web Vitals and previous UX related signals".
Google rarely tells the SEO community which part of its algorithm it considers a ranking factor, but when it does, as with the most recent BERT algorithm update announcement, we need to pay attention and make sure to align our SEO strategy to include Google best practices.
What is Google PageSpeed
While Google doesn't disclose its algorithms, at least one thing is clear: loading speed is used as a ranking factor for both on devices desktop that on mobile devices .
To test a website, simply enter its URL and press the "Analyze" button:
The tool provides speed data on mobile and desktop devices and you should choose one of the options before hitting the “Analyze” button. In recent years, with mobile-first search results, loading speed on mobile devices has become much more critical than on desktop, so don't forget to check them.
The result shows an overall score that summarizes the performance of the page and further details on the factors that influence it. The score is calculated by running an automated tool open source named Lighthouse .
Most of the information you get relates to technical website performance issues. And it's a trap that so many website owners and managers fall into. When you see several very informative green, yellow and red color charts and an actual score on it, you intuitively rush to improve the metrics to bring the score closer to 100.
Does the score really matter?
The fact is, to get a top spot on the Google results page, your site doesn't necessarily have to score 100 out of 100 on PageSpeed.
To show that the highest score does not guarantee the site a place among the highest ranking pages, we conducted an experiment. We searched on Google forms popular WordPress and tested every page from the top-10 with PageSpeed
Unsurprisingly, the front page scored 42/100 and its graphs showed some yellow and red sections. Page number two scored 32/100 with a lot of red color in the infographic. Interestingly, the page in 10th place scored 84/100 with less red and some yellow.
What does it mean? The PageSpeed test
Sure, it isn't. But the most valuable part of the analysis is not the impressive numbers, but the tips provided.
Why? As one of the views that PageSpeed
How to use Google PageSpeed suggestions
The loading time of the site is, without a doubt, among the most significant factors influencing user satisfaction. If people get annoyed faster than the page finishes loading, they simply bounce off. This means you should work to increase the site's throughput (can be measured with different tools) and yours perceived performance (how fast the site looks to users) instead of thinking about the highest score. This is where PageSpeed tips
When you analyze the site, you will find field and laboratory data.
Field data shows how a particular site is performing compared to others in the Chrome Real-World User Experience Report for the past 30 days and helps find real-world bottlenecks. In some cases, this data may non be available . To track the real user experience, Google released Core Web Vitals . This service provides specific details on the speed and real-life experience of the site. We talk about this tool later in the text.
The lab data estimates the site's performance on different metrics when loading a simulated page in a controlled environment.
The combination of field data and lab data provides a better idea of the site's web performance than the overall score. With this in mind, you can proceed to suggestions for further improvements. These recommendations are called Relationship Opportunities.
More information is provided in the Diagnostics section.
Other typical weaknesses that still worked well for the indicated page can be found in the Audits Passed section.
Some of the more typical Google PageSpeed tips
Insights (with specific suggestions for WordPress sites)
1. Serve the image in the next generation formats
Commonly used image formats such as JPEG or PNG provide worse compression than formats such as PEG 2000, JPEG XR, and WebP. Using a form to take advantage of WebP image formats that automatically creates a WebP copy of the uploaded images can be convenient.
2. Eliminate rendering-blocking resources
3. Correct image size
Properly sized images not only improve loading time but also save cellular data. For WordPress websites, it's a good idea to use native responsive image styles (available in WordPress 8 and later).
4. Send off-screen images
The postponement of off-screen images or the slow loading it means that images are loaded only when they are needed. It greatly improves perceived performance and can be achieved with the help of various stack specific modules or plugins (there are options for WordPress).
6. Serve static resources with an efficient cache policy
The caching process means that browsers save copies of web pages. When the same user revisits the site, it loads faster. For WordPress, you may want to set the “Maximum age of browser cache and proxy”.