Run and interpret Google PageSpeed Insights on your website

Google PageSpeed Insights is a web dev tool provided by Google that analyzes the content of a website and generates suggestions for improving speed. It provides a score for the page’s performance on both mobile and desktop devices and offers recommendations for improvements.

Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool scores range from 0 to 100 points. A higher score indicates better performance. However, it’s important to understand what these scores really mean and how to interpret them for your website.

You can start off by running the Google PageSpeed Insights tool on your website.

1. Go to Google PageSpeed Insights
2. Enter your website’s URL in the provided field
3. Click the Analyze button to start the evaluation process

4. Wait for the tool to run and pull up results for Mobile and Desktop

Now you can start interpreting your results, however here is some context to keep in mind:

Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool uses Lighthouse to analyze the websites. Lighthouse checks how fast a website loads, how it looks on mobile phones, and whether it follows best practices for a good user experience.

It generates your PageSpeed Score based on the lab data gathered, which can include metrics such as First Contentful Paint (FCP), Speed Index, Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), Time to Interactive (TTI), Total Blocking Time (TBT), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).

While these technical terms might sound intimidating, in simpler terms, these metrics measure when the first visual or meaningful content is painted (i.e., appears to your website visitor), how quickly a page can load and become interactive, how visual stability is maintained, and how soon a page becomes fully interactive.

However, it’s important to remember that these metrics and the resulting PageSpeed Score don’t always perfectly reflect your users’ real-world experience. Factors such as the user’s device type, browser, and network conditions can greatly influence the actual loading experience.

This means scores can be misleading if not interpreted correctly, here are some misconceptions about your PageSpeed scores:

1. 100 is the ultimate goal: While striving for a perfect 100 score might seem logical, it’s often not necessary or even feasible. Google has made it clear that a score of 85 or above indicates that the page is performing well. Sometimes, the effort to achieve the perfect score can outweigh the benefits.

2. Higher score equally high rankings: It’s a common belief that a higher PageSpeed score will automatically lead to a higher ranking in Google’s search results. While page speed can help your website rank, it’s just one among many factors that Google considers. Great content and strong SEO practices can often have a more substantial impact on your ranking.

3. Low score equals slow site: A low PageSpeed score doesn’t always mean that your website is slow. Remember, PageSpeed Insights evaluates your page based on a set of pre-defined technical rules and conditions. Real-world factors can greatly impact the actual load time of your website.

In reality, the best speed test for your website can be the real-world eye test. As in, load it up on your browser and allow it to load. Does it load fast? Then, that means it has a fast load!

However, you can always employ strategies and tools to enhance your website speed, review the fix a slow website guide for further information.