Most website owners are familiar with Google’s PageSpeed Insights. This is a free online tool that allows users to test the performance of websites, especially page loading times and website speed.
You simply enter an URL into the tool and it will have the URL analyzed. Once that’s completed, PageSpeed Insights (PSI) will provide a score ranging from 0 to 100.
Many web owners stress about getting a perfect 100/100 score on PageSpeed Insights. However, that’s not really what this tool is all about.
You’re not actually competing with others on who has the highest score. It’s about taking Google’s recommendations about how to optimize your website’s performance and overall speed.
Getting a perfect score on PSI doesn’t guarantee the top spot on the search engine results pages.
Following Google’s suggestions on how to improve your website helps boost your SEO ranking alongside many more benefits.
But to understand what PSI can do for you, you must first understand how Google uses PSI in its assessment of websites. So let’s find out, shall we?
Is PageSpeed Insights compliance a ranking factor?
Technically speaking, yes, it is. PSI analyzes your website performance and compares it to the data collected in the Chrome User Experience Report for at least the past 30 days.
Consequently, Google aims to improve the user experience for online consumers, and we all know that page loading time greatly affects that experience.
People have really high expectations when it comes to website speed and page loading time.
Even a single second delay in page loading time can result in a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, an 11% decrease in page views and a 7% decrease in conversion rates. This is just because it took your pages one second longer to load than what consumers are willing to tolerate.
As Google wants to improve the user experience for online consumers, it doesn’t want to present them with sluggish websites.
If your web pages have speed issues, Google will notify you and tell you how to fix those issues.
Remember, page loading time is just one of the ranking factors. Therefore, by improving it, you’ll be on your way to the top of the SERPs, but there’s still a lot to do in terms of SEO before you actually get there.
Google’s PSI also analyzes your website performance on both mobile and desktop devices. As you might imagine, if your mobile performance is lacking, Google will lower your rankings due to their algorithms focusing on mobile-first indexing.
What happens when you do what Google suggests?
Every PSI report has a “show how to fix” feature that will list all Google’s recommendations on how to fix any lingering issues about your website’s performance and page loading time. Your PSI score will improve if you follow these recommendations and address the issues properly.
As mentioned before, the score itself doesn’t mean much. But the benefits to your website’s performance and, thus, to your business are crucial.
Here are a few things you can expect for fixing the issues flagged by PageSpeed Insights:
- A boost in your SEO rankings
- Improved organic traffic
- A boost in qualified leads
- Lower bounce rate
- Improved conversion rate
- Greater user satisfaction
- Improved sales
- More time spent on page
All of these factors are essential for the success of your business and for improved user experience on your website.
With that being said, here are some of the most common issues Google points out to website owners:
1. Image optimisation
We all love to see stunning visuals on the websites we browse. High-quality visuals, especially images, greatly contribute to customer satisfaction and overall experience.
However, high-quality images, if not properly optimized, can slow your website down significantly and increase the page loading time.
Here are a few things you can do to optimize images on your website:
- Resize your images
- Change the image format to JPEG, PNG or GIF
- Leverage image compression
2. Code modification
Google commonly identifies excessively long code as the main reason behind slow page loading time.
By minifying the code, you’re getting rid of the surplus, making the code itself load much faster. This excess code is usually left behind by developers who use it for convenience. It’s making the code more readable to developers who are working on it.
The developers leave excess code behind in case they might work on it again or help someone else understand what’s going on, should that someone decide to tamper with the code.
3. Browser caching
Many web owners tend to tweak their websites and add features that will improve the user experience.
Numerous features, add-ons, plug-ins and other elements do, in fact, improve user experience, but they also slow down your website at the same time.
Fortunately, there’s a way around this problem and it’s called browser caching. It means that you basically tell your website to instruct browsers to store static files and assets. That way, every time a user visits your website, their browser doesn’t have to download any fixed assets.
Fixed assets are only downloaded the first time that the user visits the website. This will improve page performance and speed, regardless of how many elements are on the page itself.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights is used to determine whether a website or an individual web page is worthy of being matched with a search query. The assessment is based on many factors, especially page loading time.
No matter how great your content may be, Google won’t recommend it if the user experience you provide on your website doesn’t match the current standards.
Tomas is a digital marketing specialist and a freelance blogger. His work is focusing on new web tech trends and digital voice distribution across different channels.