With internet users becoming increasingly impatient, the time it takes for your website to load can significantly impact user experience, conversion rates, and even SEO. The original Google Page Speed is one of the tools developed by Google to help web developers optimize the performance of their websites. That said, with drag and drop website builders, designers and creatives became increasingly involved with the evolving web – and to be quite honest, a large number of people do not understand complex and technical guidance.
We produced the above page speed report to weigh the most important factors that can help you impress Google and your visitors in the area of load speed, however below you can also find a more detailed explanation of how the original Google tool will weigh your website.
Want the fastest possible WordPress hosting?
You are in the right place: See our WordPress Hosting Plans.
How to Use the Google PageSpeed Insights Tool
Using PageSpeed Insights is pretty straightforward.
- Begin by visiting the Google Page Speed Insights website.
- Enter any URL you wish to analyze (yours or a competitor’s) in the provided field.
- Click on the “Analyze” button. Wait for a short duration—usually a few seconds to a minute—for the tool to evaluate the webpage based on its complexity and your internet connection speed.
- Once done, the tool displays scores for both mobile and desktop versions of the webpage, using a scale from 0 to 100. Accompanying this score is a list of suggestions to enhance the page’s performance.
Implementing these optimizations on your website can significantly boost your score. To validate improvements, rerun the analysis post-implementation.
While using the tool is simple, understanding the metrics and implementing the recommendations is the real challenge.
Understanding the PageSpeed Insights Report
Interpreting the PageSpeed Insights Report can seem daunting due to the technical terminology. However, understanding it is crucial to making the most of the suggestions.
Core Web Vitals Assessment
The top section, labeled Core Web Vitals assessment, indicates whether the webpage has “Passed” or “Failed” the Core Web Vitals—a set of metrics Google emphasizes, especially for mobile ranking:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): Reflects loading performance, marking the time until the largest page content appears to users.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Evaluates visual stability by measuring content movement during load.
- First Input Delay (FID): Captures interactivity by determining the response time for the website’s initial user action. Note: FID is being phased out in March 2024, making way for Interaction to Next Paint (INP).
Diagnose Performance Issues
The section following, named Diagnose performance issues, offers a “Performance score.” This score represents your page’s performance in various categories:
- Performance: A holistic score showcasing overall page efficiency and speed.
- Accessibility: An assessment of user-friendliness attributes such as easy navigation, image alt texts, and color contrasts catering to visually challenged users.
- Best Practices: This represents the adherence to web development best practices—incorporation of contemporary web tech, optimized code, and secured connections.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization): Reviews the SEO readiness of your page, focusing on elements like metadata, structured data, and mobile adaptability.
Below the previously mentioned sections, there’s a segment titled Opportunities. Here, Google provides actionable recommendations to elevate your site’s performance—optimizing images, code simplification, or diminishing server response times, among other suggestions.
Adhering to these recommendations not only improves your website’s speed but also enhances user experience and can potentially boost search engine rankings.
What Is a Good PageSpeed Insights Score?
Aiming for perfection, the theoretical pinnacle score is 100/100. According to Google’s standards:
- A score of 90 or above is commendable.
- A score ranging from 50 to 89 suggests there’s room for improvement.
- A score below 50 is deemed subpar.
If your score lingers below 90, it might signal an unfavorable user experience, potentially leading to adverse SEO repercussions.
The Importance of Render-Blocking Resources
Dealing with Render-Blocking Resources
Eliminating these Blockers
- Inline Critical CSS: Instead of loading your entire stylesheet, consider inlining the crucial CSS directly into your HTML. This ensures the page displays content as soon as possible.
defer attributes. This tells the browser to continue building the DOM while downloading the script in the background.
- Optimize CSS Delivery: Split CSS into two parts – what’s needed for the initial display and what can be loaded later.
Efficient Request Management
Web pages load resources such as scripts, styles, and images. More requests generally mean slower load times. Here’s how you can manage them efficiently:
Keeping Request Counts Low and Transfer Sizes Small
- Use Sprites for Images: Image sprites combine multiple images into one. Only the needed section of the larger image is shown, reducing multiple image requests.
- Limiting External Fonts: Each font variant (bold, italic, etc.) is a separate request. Be judicious in font usage.
Minifying and Optimizing Code
Unnecessary characters in your code (like whitespace or comments) add to the page’s size.
- Remove Unused CSS: Tools like PurifyCSS can help identify and remove styles not used on your website.
- Minimize Main-Thread Work: Main-thread work refers to tasks the browser must perform to render a page. Reduce long tasks, and break them into smaller, asynchronous tasks when possible.
Enhancing Server and Image Performance
Your server’s response time and the way you manage images play a pivotal role in page speed.
Reduce Server Response Times (TTFB)
- Optimize Hosting: Consider a more robust hosting solution or a dedicated server if your site has grown.
- Leverage Caching: Implement server-side caching solutions. Cache the HTML output of your website to reduce server processing time for each request.
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN): CDNs distribute your content across a global network, serving users from the nearest node.
- Properly Size Images: Use responsive images that adapt to the user’s device and screen size.
- Defer Offscreen Images: Use lazy loading, ensuring only images within the user’s view load initially.
- Efficiently Encode Images: Compression tools like TinyPNG can reduce image sizes without noticeable quality loss.
- Serve Images in Next-Gen Formats: Consider using WebP or AVIF formats. They provide better compression and quality compared to traditional JPEG or PNG. With Sitetrail WordPress hosting, we automatically resize your images to WebP – so no need for expensive plugins like imagify and other equivalents: it is all done for you.
Additional measures to improve your Google Page Speed Score and Core Web Vitals:
Most of our users never think about these things because the Sitetrail hosting configuration and speed optimization takes care of it. But here are more measures that truly matter:
- Avoid Chaining Critical Requests: This optimization technique emphasizes avoiding having multiple files and assets load in a sequence where one is dependent on the other. This can cause significant delays if any of the resources don’t load. Resolving this involves setting priorities so critical resources load first. For proper implementation, the attributes “async” and “defer” can be used in the website code.
- Preload Key Requests: Preloading informs the browser to prioritize and download critical assets first, ensuring essential files load promptly. This is especially relevant for assets like fonts, which may be required early during the page load process.
- Defer Offscreen Images: Defer the loading of images that aren’t immediately visible on the user’s screen. This tactic, often known as lazy loading, ensures that only the images needed are loaded immediately. The rest load as the user scrolls and they come into view. This strategy is especially effective for mobile devices where network resources might be limited.
- Reduce Document Object Model (DOM) Size: The DOM represents the structure of a webpage. If it’s too large, it can slow down the loading times and degrade user experience. Reducing the DOM size involves refining the HTML code to remove unnecessary elements and attributes, avoiding certain page builders that generate excessive code, and selecting themes and plugins that are cleanly coded. Tools like Chrome DevTools can assist in analyzing and making improvements to the DOM.
- Fix Multiple Page Redirects: Redirect chains, where one redirected URL leads to another, can considerably slow down page load speed. It’s essential to minimize these, ensuring that if a redirect is necessary, it moves straight from the original URL to the final destination. Tools like Semrush can help identify and resolve these redirect chains.
Optimizing your website’s speed is an ongoing journey. Regularly testing with tools like Google PageSpeed Insights and acting on its recommendations can provide users with a faster, more efficient browsing experience, which in turn can result in better conversion rates and SEO performance. Always prioritize user experience and stay updated with best practices in web optimization.