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PageSpeed Insights: How It Works and How to Improve PageSpeed Score?

Google’s PageSpeed Insights (PSI) tool is at the forefront of website performance analysis. Therefore, understanding its metrics, suggestions, and implications can help website developers, SEO professionals, and webmasters optimize their websites effectively.

This article is intended to help you understand the intricacies of PageSpeed Insights (PSI).

What is PageSpeed Insights?

PageSpeed Insights or PSI, is a free tool offered by Google that assesses the performance of a webpage on both mobile and desktop devices. It not only provides a performance score but also offers actionable recommendations to enhance website speed and user experience. Hence, the importance of this tool lies in Google’s emphasis on page speed as a ranking factor in its search algorithm.1.

How does PageSpeed Insights Work?

PageSpeed Insights uses Lighthouse, an open-source, automated tool for web page quality assessment. It examines various factors like performance, accessibility, SEO, and more. For performance specifically, Lighthouse analyzes:

  1. First Contentful Paint (FCP): The time it takes for the first piece of content on a webpage to appear on the screen.
  2. Speed Index: This measures how quickly the webpage content is visually displayed.
  3. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This is the time it takes for the largest content element of the page to be visible.
  4. Time to Interactive (TTI): This is how long it takes a page to become interactive.
  5. Total Blocking Time (TBT): This is the “lag” or delay in page responsiveness.
  6. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This measures visual stability to ensure content doesn’t unexpectedly move around.

Interpreting the Scores

The scores generated by PageSpeed Insights (PSI) are categorized as:

  • 0-49 (Slow): This indicates performance issues that need immediate attention.
  • 50-89 (Average): Shows that some optimizations can be made.
  • 90-100 (Fast): This shows that the page is performing well.

Tips for Improving Your PageSpeed Insights Score

  1. Optimize Images: Use next-gen formats like WebP. Tools like Squoosh or TinyPNG can help compress without sacrificing quality.
  2. Minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML: Tools like UglifyJS and CSSNano can reduce file sizes.
  3. Leverage Browser Caching: Store frequently-used files in the user’s browser to avoid re-fetching.
  4. Reduce Server Response Time: Consider using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) or optimizing your server settings.
  5. Avoid Landing Page Redirects: Ensure direct access to the main page to decrease load time.
  6. Prioritize Visible Content: Optimize the content above the fold for a faster perceived load time.

Do you need help to improve your website speed? Reach out to us. We can help!

Real-world Data with CrUX

PageSpeed Insights (PSI) integrates the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX), which offers real-world performance data. Unlike lab data which simulates user conditions, CrUX provides insights based on actual user experiences.2. This can help in recognizing discrepancies between lab predictions and real-world outcomes.

Why is PageSpeed Important?

  • SEO: Google factors in page speed for its rankings, especially on mobile searches.3.
  • User Experience: Faster pages reduce bounce rates and improve user engagement.
  • Conversion Rate: Studies have shown that faster load times can enhance conversion rates.

In Summary

PageSpeed Insights is an invaluable tool for any website owner. Beyond just providing page speed score, it provides actionable insights to determine user experience and website performance.

Clicking on any reference links below will open in new tabs.

  1. Using Page Speed in Mobile Search Ranking
  2. Chrome User Experience Report
  3. Google’s Mobile-First Indexing

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