Google PageSpeed Insights Reports: A Technical Guide

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Your website speed is more important than you think. It not only lowers your UX score but also earns negative points on search engine rankings. Plus, it could frustrate potential leads to the point of clicking away from your website.

Websites may become slow for various reasons, from poorly written codes to large and un-optimized images and motion graphics. All of these expand the website and stretch the conversion time.

It is essential to improve your website’s loading speed to prevent Google from penalizing it. There’s no need to worry as search engines do not come hard on and do help you correct your mistakes. With the Google PageSpeed Insights tool, you can analyze your website and find out actionable items that will help you decrease the loading time.

If you are wondering how to increase website loading speed, we are here to help. Read the post to learn about the Google PageSpeed Insights and how it can help you improve your SERP performance.

Why Is Page Speed Important?

Page speed is a crucial factor in website ranking on search engines. Google takes two factors into consideration while analyzing a website for its loading speed:

  1. Time taken for the browser to fully render the page
  2. Time taken to display the content above the fold

While there are some elements you cannot control as far as optimizing your page speed is concerned, like the internet connection of the visitor or the speed of your hosting provider, you can still control images and videos on your web pages and JavaScript.

What Is Google PageSpeed Insights?

Google’s PageSpeed Insights is a free tool that helps website owners analyze the performance. It considers the content on a particular website and scores the loading speed on both desktop and mobile.

Not only does the tool report negative elements on your website but also suggests the most ideal changes that could improve the overall loading speed. It gives a technical understanding of how Google views your page with respect to analyzing the speed.

Now that you have the basic understanding of the Google PageSpeed Insights, let’s start discussing it in detail.

How Page Speed Affects The User Experience?

Page speed is an important element in building your website’s user experience, especially on mobile devices. According to data shared on Speed Matters, website loading time is the foremost in the hierarchy of UX, factoring 75%. A slight delay of a second can increase the bounce rate by up to 32%.

Consequently, working on page speed optimization is indispensable and should be one of your technical SEO strategies. And this is where Google PageSpeed Insights comes in handy to provide a clear picture of where to begin.

However, before we proceed, you should know that while the page speed factors in UX, the PageSpeed Insights score doesn’t. It is just a number that denotes the estimated performance of your website. Thus, optimizing the same should be a priority.

The score you get is an indication of whether your website meets Google’s performance standards or not. In fact, the metrics that the tool uses to calculate the score include Core Web Vitals, which itself is a direct factor in the search engine’s algorithm.

How To Use Google PageSpeed Insights?

While a majority of websites have a slow loading speed due to the large space it requires on the hosting, it is not the same with every website out there. There are many factors that play a part here, and optimizing all of these is the only way to achieve a 100% performance score.

Let’s start with a detailed guide on how to use Google PageSpeed Insights.

  1. Visit PageSpeeds (don’t worry, it’s free)
  2. Enter your website and click ‘Analyze’

The score will tell you the issues that the real users are facing on your website, including

  • LCP (Largest Contentful Paint)
  • FID (First Input Delay)
  • FCP (First Contentful Paint)
  • TTFB (Time To First Byte)

Scroll down, and you will see the performance score of your website, followed by the section that lists ‘Opportunities’ and “Diagnostics.’ These two sections provide the recommendations that will help you achieve a perfect 100 and increase your chances of ranking.

Understanding the Core Web Vitals Assessment

As mentioned above, Google PageSpeed Insights first shows the issues on the Core Web Vitals. Each of the metrics you see in this section is measured in either seconds or milliseconds. However, the CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) shows a calculated formula. The idea behind the CLS number is - if it’s below 0.1, it is a good score, but if you see a number above 0.25, you should know that it’s a poor score and you have to work on it.

The data to populate this field data section is collected in the last 28 days. This, along with the fact that the data is aggregated from CrUX, indicates that the website will never perform the same all through the 28-day span and for all the visitors. So, the distribution bar below each of the metrics helps to understand the trend between good to poor, divided into color coding of green, yellow, and red.

Understanding Google PageSpeed Insights Lab Data

Google PageSpeed Insights includes data from Lighthouse API, too, and the same populates the Lab Data section. This synthetic data measures Core Web Vitals factors, along with three other metrics. These are:

  1. Time to Interaction: Total time your website needs to become fully interactive.
  2. Speed Index: Total time it takes for content to appear during page loading.
  3. Total Blocking Time: This is the sum of time between FCP and complete interactivity.

Now, let’s give you an insight into the weightage that each of the six metrics on the total score that the Lab Data displays

  • Total Blocking Time = 30%
  • LCP = 25%
  • CLS = 15%
  • FCP = 10%
  • Speed Index = 10%
  • Time to Interact = 10%

How to Fix Page Speed with Google PageSpeed Insights?

Below the Lab Data, you will find two sections under the names

  • Opportunities
  • Diagnostics

The report you see under Opportunities also mentions the estimated time saving beside it. Both these sections have issues listed in dropdown format. Once you expand, each of them has the recommendations detailed, including any coding diagnostic needed.

Once you have worked on these suggestions, you will see that the score has increased. The new score is generated from the passed audits and new changes you have made, which you will be able to monitor in the ‘Passed Audit’ section.

Finishing Up

Google PageSpeed Insights is one of the easier tools to use and optimize website performance and UX. While some recommendations here are easy for anyone to implement, certain changes from the diagnostics require technical knowledge.

The score you see here does not replicate your ranking score. However, a higher score does increase your chances of making it higher on the SERP due to the Core Web Vitals and an uncompromised UX, which boosts certain algorithm factors directly.

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