Are you feeling the loss of traffic on your website from having a slow website? Do you want to up your score on Google PageSpeed Insights? Don’t worry because we’ve got the page speed improvement guide for you.
The digital age changed the way we wait for internet-based things to load. We’re often getting the webpages we open at quick speeds. Thus, people can’t go more than 8 seconds without any external stimulation.
If your page speed takes as long as 8 seconds or even longer to load, your website is as good as dead. If you want to revive it, keep reading. Below is a guide to improving page speed and how to score 100% on Google PageSpeed Insights.
1. What Is Page Speed and What Factors Affect It?
You’ve gathered all the information you need to boost local SEO marketing. You’ve created a good-looking website and great content. How come your website isn’t faring as well as you’d hoped?
A possible explanation for that is that your page speed isn’t up to par. Now, you’re wondering, what is page speed?
Page speed is a measurement of how fast your page content loads. Internet users expect your page to load within a certain timeframe. Often, that time frame is between at least instantaneous and under 3 seconds at most.
Isn’t It the Same as Site Speed?
While they sound like the same thing, site speed is different from page speed. On page speed, you’re looking at the time it takes all the resources in an individual page to load. Site speed is the average speed of various sample pages on a website to load.
What Factors Affect Page Speed?
Take a look at the elements you have on your homepage, for example. Is it a heavy image page? If so, then it’s a possible cause for the slow loading. Pages with unoptimized images often take a while to load.
If you want to improve your page speed without removing any images, optimize your images. Make them more lightweight. You can also distribute them through a content delivery network (CDN).
You also have to check that your page HTML doesn’t have unused code scripts. They can cause an increase in page loading time. Remove all unused code, be it CSS, JS, or other scripts in the page HTML.
Finally, rendering scripts too late or too early also affect page loading time. Don’t design your pages to be consumable only after the entire content loads. Users can enjoy the page when they see the above the fold content load first.
2. Why Does Your Page Speed Matter?
As a website owner, did you know that 47% of consumers expect a page to load in 2 seconds or faster? When your website doesn’t meet the audience’s expectations, they can click away. They’ll look for other websites to get their products, services, or information from.
When you make sure that your page speed is on the faster side, you’re not only pleasing your audience. You’re also pleasing Google.
Why does page speed matter to Google?
Google uses page speed as a ranking factor. It means that your page speed also affects your SEO. In a way, Google sees it as a helpful point to the users.
However, Google doesn’t look at page speed as a big ranking factor. You can have the fastest website on the internet, and that’s great. However, without good content, you won’t be getting too high up the ranking.
If you have to decide between your PageSpeed Insights and content, pick content. As we always say, content is king. Having a fast page speed is a good bonus, but it isn’t a major SEO booster.
3. Measuring Page Speed With Google PageSpeed Insights
If you want a page speed test, use Google’s Page Speed Insights (PSI). It’s a great tool to test not only page speed but also your website performance. All you need to do is to go to the site and enter the URL of the page of which you want to test the speed.
Click Analyze and you’ll see a bunch of scores of the website you’ve tested.
Below, you’ll see the Google PageSpeed Insights score of your webpage. A score of 90-100 is the ideal score. If your score is in the red, you still have to work on a lot of things to improve the performance of your page.
Also, while scoring 100/100 on Google PageSpeed Insights is ideal, it’s not that important. You don’t need to get the perfect PSI score to rank higher. What you need to focus on is to get your website to load within one or two seconds.
Diagnosing the Speed of Mobile Pages
As we mentioned, there is also a mobile tab to let you diagnose the speed of your website on mobile. By 2025, 72.5% of internet users around the world will use only smartphones to access the web. If you want your page to remain relevant, you need to make sure that it’s accessible on mobile.
By that, we mean that it’s not enough to have a mobile-friendly website. Your website also needs to load fast on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. However, you’ll notice that your page on mobile will always have a lower score on Google PSI.
There’s no exact explanation for this. A theory is that Lighthouse analyzes the page through an emulated mobile network. Lighthouse is a tool where Google gets its data.
Mobile connections often are slower than desktop connections. It’s possible that Lighthouse also emulates the speed difference in mobile and PC.
4. Using Google PageSpeed Insights to Improve Your Website
The great thing about Google Insights is that it also tries to explain why the mobile or desktop site is slower. The finished report on PSI will tell you what’s hindering the performance of your webpage. Below the score, you’ll see some recommendations for page speed optimization.
Field Data and Lab Data
First, let’s talk about what’s right under the score: Field Data and Lab Data. Under Field Data, you’ll see a couple of charts underneath a summary of the page speed performance. They are the First Contentful Paint (FCP) and First Input Delay (FID).
Next, your Lab Data will tell you specific data for a simulated page load. What do the paint numbers mean under Lab Data? These paints are the elements that your visitors see when they visit the page.
If you’ve already tried analyzing one of your page URLs on Google PSI, you’ll notice a few things. You may see that your Field Data and Lab Data don’t match. This is normal, and you don’t need to worry about getting them to match.
The difference between the two is that Lab Data comes from a fixed environment. Meanwhile, Field Data relies on real-time loading speeds collected and analyzed over time. Rather alone, you want to look at them in combination to get an idea of the page’s actual loading times.
Opportunities and Diagnostics
Next, you’ll see the Opportunities and Diagnostics sections. These are full of suggestions for improving the performance of your website or page. Use the clues that Google is giving you to improve your site.
If you feel that you’re out of your depth here, it may be more suitable for you to hire an expert. A professional agent or company can get the job done faster. Don’t forget to look up the essential questions to ask when hiring a marketing company.
5. Important PageSpeed Metrics to Improve
Notice that there are six items under Lab Data that affect your performance score in PSI. If you want to gain a higher score, you need to know which metric weighs the most when it comes to computing page speed.
Below, we’ll take a closer look at a few metrics and see how you can improve them.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
LCP measures the time it takes for the largest above the fold content component to load. That doesn’t include items that appear only when a user taps the screen or scrolls down. Your LCP needs to occur within 2.5 seconds for a good first impression and score.
If you want to improve the LCP, optimize your images for site speed. It’s one of the top practices for great website design. Check out our other tips for web design here.
First Contentful Paint (FCP)
FCP checks the time it takes a browser to visualize the first piece of Document Object Model (DOM) content on a page. For example, your company logo or the loading animation will trigger the FCP. If you want a good score, make sure your FCP occurs under 2 seconds.
To improve, try upgrading your hosting plan to improve website performance.
Total Blocking Time (TBT)
TBT is how long it takes Long Tasks to blog the main thread and affects page usability. In other words, it’s how long unresponsive your page is before it becomes interactive. A longer TBT is a bad sign. You can fix it by preloading critical assets or splitting code.
6. Other Lab Metrics to Improve
Let’s discuss the other metrics under the Lab Data that you need to improve on and how you’ll improve them.
Time to Interactive (TTI)
TTI is like TBT in that it measures the time it takes for a page to become interactive after a user arrives on it. However, TTI focuses on the “when,” while TBT focuses on “how seriously” page interactivity was. TBT also focuses on the effects of long tasks on the page.
Speed index measures how fast content gets displayed during page load. It’s a broader and more abstract element compared to the others. If you want to improve the Speed Index, doing the techniques to fix other metrics will also boost it.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
CLS measures content that shifts without user input or warning. It can occur when an ad inserts itself over a button the user was trying to click, which can be annoying.
The fix is to optimize your web fonts and to avoid inserting ads/content above other content.
7. What Other Page Speed Checker Can I Use as a Google PSI Alternative?
Do you want to double-check your page speed with other platforms? You can go to GTmetrix and WebPageTest to double- or even triple-check your page speed. GTmetrix uses scores from PageSpeed Insights and YSlow.
Don’t worry if your page speed scores don’t match when you test it on the different platforms. These numbers can be quite arbitrary.
We know that you want to avoid reduced conversion rates and traffic loss from a slow-loading page. However, again, don’t focus too much on the scores from each tool. Most of your visitors won’t be looking at your page load speed score or counting the milliseconds it takes to load.
The important thing is that you ensure the perceived page speed.
Score Higher on Google PageSpeed Insights
That ends our Page Speed 101 guide.
Now, you know a little more about Google PSI and why your page speed matters. Do you want to see more helpful guides on improving your website? Check out our other blog posts for more on boosting your website.
Do you have questions about Google PageSpeed Insights? Do you want to see how we can help you improve your PSI score? Reach out to us today!