First of all let me say it. Yes, page loading speed is really important for any website that wants to perform well in 2020 onwards. Speed is so important that Google have said it’s now a major ranking factor. Over time, Google has taken action to improve the loading speed of websites by providing a set of tools for developers and webmasters. For example, one of these tools is Google Lighthouse
Let’s look at how the Page Speed Insights Tool from Google actually works. Also, does it really affect your SEO?
When the Page Speed Insights Tool first became available it really was not a helpful tool. It gave inaccurate page speeds and its scores were, it would be fair to say, not consistent. Thankfully however, Google’s recent update to the tool has made it a fantastic tool for developers
The Page Speed Insights Tool has had an increase in popularity with SEO. It provides you with an easy-to-follow list of suggested improvements
Well, one really important reason is that it’s from Google, and if you are like me and want your site to perform well, it might be a good idea to listen to what Google requires. By using the Page Speed Insights online tool provided by Google we can use it to identify web performance issues and technical SEO issues. The tool also analyzes the site from a User Experience (UX) and accessibility viewpoint which are also major ranking factors
If you would like to test your own site here is the link
Start using the tool by entering your URL. You will be presented with your website’s performance report. The score is an average of multiple factors as this is not the only tool provided by Google. Google will give two scores: Mobile and Desktop
Mobile usage has become increasingly more popular. More than 60% of search engine users search on mobile devices. Google has moved to a mobile-first index, so it makes sense for Google to test mobile versions for speed first
Google knows that many mobile users around the world only get a 3G signal and, although they have a slower connection speed, they still want content really fast. Along with the fact that in many places, data is expensive so if your site is very resource-heavy they may not even get to view your content
Mobile devices usually have slower connections. Even with 5G becoming available, make sure you focus on improving your site speed for mobile devices so the user isn’t using up their data to see your content
Page speed isn’t a score, like Page Speed Insights suggests. It’s a web page’s loading time and it is measured in seconds.
When Google Page Speed Insights was first introduced it didn’t give you information about how fast your website was actually loading. The new version tells you everything you need to know about actual loading speeds
Page speed is a direct ranking factor, since Google’s Algorithm Speed Update. However, it’s important to think about bounce rate while maintaining high speeds
You might have a really fast and responsive site but if the user finds it hard to navigate or they don’t feel engaged with your content then your bounce rate is going to suffer. Google has long said that the user comes first
The scores are in 3 categories: Slow (0-49), Average (50-89) and Good (90-100). An average is then generated as a final score for your website. Generally, you would want your site to score at least 90 for both desktop and mobile
Server Response Time
The server is something you can improve yourself by reducing the amount of trips the browser has to make to the server. You can do this by moving away from using resource-hungry plugins or running large amounts of bloated code. You likely won’t have control over the hardware side of things, so having elegant code and cutting down on plugins is really important
If images are left unoptimised they can have a dramatic effect on your website's speed. Any web design company that doesn’t offer image optimisation as standard is probably best left well alone
Having icons and logos in SVG format helps a lot with file size and page speed while also resulting in perfect quality imagery. Next generation image formats and Google fonts are recommended by Google, so don’t be afraid of using them
What is Google AMP?
AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a Google-backed project for skilled web developers to use. The web developer will have to be elegant with their code which means they can’t rely on plugins. To create an AMP site that’s visually pleasing and offers a great user experience takes a great deal of creativity and a working knowledge of all the programming languages (web stack)
Improving your site speed is crucially important for SEO and the longevity of your site. Google has some great tools out there for us to use, from Page Speed Insights to Google Analytics. These provide the best ways of making improvements, resulting in websites that offer a great user experience and rank really well in the natural listings of a Google search