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Google Makes Updates to PageSpeed Insights Tool

Google has updated the PageSpeed Insights tool use now use data from the Chrome User Experience Report. By using metrics from “real-world Chrome users”, we are given a better insight on how to optimise our pages for both Desktop and Mobile.

Site Speed

PageSpeed Insights provides information about how well a page adheres to a set of best practices. Site speed is the average page speed for a sample of page views on a website. Site speed is therefore contingent on the individual page view speeds on a site.

Page speed is broadly made up of two elements:

  • Time to first byte – time taken for a browser to receive the first byte from a webserver
  • Page load time – time taken to fully display a page’s content

Fixing page speed issues are likely to involve adjustments to the server, site code or backend site structure. Fixing these is generally left best to experienced developers, but it is useful for marketers to understand how to identify problems.

Slow site speed is bad for a variety of reasons:

  • Affects SEO performance
  • Bad UX
  • Increase bounce rate
  • Reduce conversion rate
  • Reduce average time on page
  • Affects crawl efficiency of your site

PageSpeed Insights Tool

Google have developed a free tool for webmasters to use to analyse their site and understand its current performance from Google’s perspective. The tool analyses the content of a web page and provides separate scores for both Mobile and Desktop, as well as recommended fixes.

As for the recommended fixes, don’t take them all too seriously. We found a number of issues it recommended to fix were actually Google and social media plugins crawling your page.

In the past, these recommendations were presented without the context of how fast the page performed in the real world, which made it hard to understand when it was appropriate to apply these optimisations.

Now, Google’s PageSpeed Insights will use data from the Chrome User Experience Report to make better recommendations for developers. The optimisation score has also been tuned to be more aligned with real-world data.

The PSI report now has several different elements:

  • The Speed score categorises a page as being Fast, Average or Slow. This is determined by looking at the median value of two metrics: First Contentful Paint (FCP) and DOM Content Loaded (DCL). If both metrics are in the top one-third of their category, the page is considered fast.
  • The Optimisation score categorises a page as being Good, Medium or Low by estimating its performance headroom. The calculation assumes that a developer wants to keep the same appearance and functionality of the page.
  • The Page Stats section describes the round trips required to load the page’s render-blocking resources, the total bytes used by the page, and how it compares to the median number of round trips and bytes used in the dataset. It can indicate if the page might be faster if the developer modifies the appearance and functionality of the page.
  • Optimisation Suggestions is a list of best practices that could be applied to this page. If the page is fast, these suggestions are hidden by default, as the page is already in the top third of all pages in the data set.