Google Tools for Page Speed
Imagine… You are trying to open a website. But it takes its own sweet time to load all the contents of the page. What do you do? Leave the page and hop on to a better one! Right?
This is where the speed of a page comes in and plays the lead role! Speed is an essential aspect of a website that cannot be sidelined. Even if you have the best website design and the most intriguing content, the speed of the website will decide the traffic retention. It highly drives the website ranking on google as well as your SEO.
Let’s understand and know more about what PAGE SPEED does and what tools are involved to execute the same.
The following passage will cover everything you will need to know about page speed, its tools and above and beyond, how it affects your Google Ranking and SEO.
Google Tools for Page Speed
Google pays keen attention to the speed of websites. While there are several tools related to page speed, Page Speed Insights tool by Google is without doubt the most efficient tool that helps with website speed. With the recent upgrades in the software, Google PageSpeed Insight is a bit complex to understand even though it works much more efficiently as compared to the other tools available.
Introduced in 2010, the Google PageSpeed is a collection of tools that help with the optimization of website speed to increase its performance. The major focus of the tool is to analyze the content of the website to see what can be optimized.
Link for Page Speed Insight Tool
When you open the tool, the page shows a section to enter the URL of the webpage you would like to analyze. Once you enter the URL, the tool will analyze and render the diagnostics that will suggest performance related upgrades for the website.
Scores and Versions
The PageSpeed Insight tool was initially built to analyze websites that were accessed on desktops. PageSpeed Tool gave a diagnostic of the work area on these websites. With time, Google made PageSpeed more versatile so as to support websites accessed on mobile phones as well.
The scores for the same website accessed by a desktop and a mobile phone differ. Different versions of websites, different scores!
Now, what does this mean?
When the PageSpeed Insight tool is used on a mobile phone, the diagnostics will be determined on the basis of the speed of the mobile. Depending on the connection speed, such as 3G, 4G and 5G, the score will be associated with the connection speed. For a 3G connection the score will be lesser than that for a 4G connection and furthermore, lesser than that for a 5G connection.
So, the fundamental implication of the Speed depends on the portable connection used in your device. Higher the connection speed, the better will be the score.
When you take a desktop device, the score will be comparatively higher due to the use of fiber optics being used. This will fetch higher scores in general.
What does the speed depend on?
A webpage has a lot of data on it in the form of text, images, forms, weblinks and many more. These factors affect the performance of the website and inherently the speed of the website. To list a few, these factors affect the speed of a website:
- Website performance
- Server being used to load the website
- Web page and the content being put on it
- Internet connection and service provider
- Device and its individual speed
SEO – How speed affects the SEO of your website?
SEO is critical for any website. Compared to a website that loads faster, a slower loading website has lower traffic retention. Lower speed, lower traffic retention and inherently, lower ranking.
Therefore, when any SEO strategy for a website is devised, the first factor that is keenly checked and fixed is the speed of the website. And so, we can conveniently say that Page speed affects the SEO and the ranking of a website.
As Google considers the bounce rate of a website essential in its ranking, user experience is inclusive of the retention of traffic on a webpage.
Vital Factors of PageSpeed Insight Tool
The PageSpeed Insight Tool takes into account various factors depending on which the speed of the webpage is analyzed. All these factors are sectioned into categories for better understanding.
1. Field Data and Lab Data
Field data is the real-world metric values that are the most critical. It is the data Google extracts from the users through the browsers used by them by aggregating. If the data is not enough, Google prompts for the same.
Origin Summary is an aggregated speed of a website. It shows the comparison of a particular website to other websites the user has been accessing. The Chrome User Experience Report gives an idea of this comparison.
Lab Data is the data collected from a more controlled environment. Compared to field data, lab data is insignificant yet useful. Unlike field data, lab data is collected from a single connection, rather than aggregating the data from more than one user.
As field data may not always be available, lab data performs the task of analyzing websites in its place.
First Contentful Paint is the moment when the website content is actually visible to the user.
First Meaningful Paint is the moment when the user perceives and comprehends the content of the website. This may be an image or text rather than colored backgrounds.
Speed Index, comparatively a more complex metric value, measures the speed with which the content of the website is displayed. Measured in seconds, the faster the content shows up on the website, the better score of the speed marker.
First CPU Idle is the instant where the website has enough information loaded and handle the very first user input. For example, if the content on the website is not completely loaded and is slow, the user may scroll down losing critical information and complex and valuable data may be lost as nothing will happen.
Time to Interact is the next step where the website has now fully loaded its data in the device’s memory and now is ready to be accessed.
Max Potential First Input Delay is the time taken by the browser to respond to a user input or action on the webpage/browser. This particular metric value is not significant in the speed analysis of a website or the page speed score.
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When the page speed tool analyses a particular URL, the Opportunities and Diagnostics section displays the information about the changes that can be made to improve the website. It gives an idea of the issues that are affecting the load time and inherently the speed of the website.
Being critical to page speed, this section pinpoints the issues, what has caused the issues (any specific image or content), its current metric values and recommendations on how to fix these issues.
The Passed Audits section is a list of the content on the website that has passed the audit performed by the page speed tool. It shows the elements on the website that fit the Google parameters for an ideal page speed score. The longer the list, the better the website performance.
3. Speed Score Calculation using Page Speed Insights
Under Opportunities and Diagnostics, ‘These metrics don’t directly affect the Performance Score.’ section lists elements of the website that do not have effect on the speed of the webpage. The calculation of the score in the under the Lab Data section is based on the seconds used for the page to load.
Following this, the metric system being used in the Lab Data section has different significance in calculating the speed score. Starting from 0 and reaching up to a maximum of 100, these metrics are called performance metrics. Here, we list them in the order of their significance:
- Time to Interact
- Speed Indexing
- First Contentful Paint
- First CPU Idle
- First Meaningful Paint
- Estimated Input Latency
Google provides a SheetFile tool to calculate the weight of these different metrics. The different weights determine how the metrics affect the speed score of the website. For example, First Contentful Paint will have more impact on the score than First Meaningful Paint. This is because if there is no content displayed on the screen the user retention will be lesser than if the screen displays content.
Furthermore, the speed scores are divided into three groups: Slow (0-49), Average (50-89) and Good (90-100).
Tips to Improve Scores on Page Speed Insights
There are certain key elements on a website that can be optimized to gain a better speed score. Let’s list them one-by-one and analyze why and how they can be optimized.
Sometimes, a website can take more time loading the images as compared to loading the text. This is because the image size and resolution may take more time to download. The issues with loading images on a website can be differentiated into two categories: screen size vs actual size image and dark size image.
The screen size is calculated in pixels and is the size of the image that is displayed on the screen. So, the bigger the image, the more pixels involved and therefore more time needed to load it. Bigger images have more time to load as the HTML has a specific pixel styled for a particular section. When you try to load an image that is more than the specified limit, the browser has to invest more time to load the image.
Resizing the image is one of the ways to fix this issue. Resizing means an image of a higher resolution is altered to reduce its resolution and size to make it load faster.
Renaming an image can make a lot of difference for the SEO and ranking of a webpage. Before you upload the image, you can rename the image with a more optimized name in line with your SEO model.
Another way to improve the load time of an image is by deferring the image. Deferring means the image is loaded while the user scrolls down the webpage. It will take a brief moment but eventually the images will be displayed thus facilitating the browser to load the more important part of the website.
Images that are being loaded from the hard disk take more time to load. The more the images, the more time it will take for the web page to load.
Server Response Time
Server plays an essential part in loading of a webpage. The slower the server, the slower the load time for a website.
To check the hosting server, you can test the Server Response Time by searching for the Time To First Byte. The Passe Audits section will display whether the server is optimal or not.
To improve the server response time, the first thing you should do is check resources that will manage the traffic on the website. Next the setting of the server should be customized according to the need and usage. Every configuration for a web server is different from the other.
The database has an important role to play. The speed of accurate data retrieval highly affects the speed score of the webpage. The faster the data can be retrieved, the faster the webpage will be loaded.
HTML and CSS Structure for the Web Page
The stacking of your website pages will depend on how the web pages are being loaded. The programs read the pages stacked in HTML or CSS and load the data accordingly. Any error in reading the pages will affect the speed of the website. This may be more common with CSS structures as HTML structures work more stably.
Similar maybe the case for mobile phones. While loading websites in your mobile phones, the CSS structure might require a certain level of expertise to identify and fix the stacking issues.
Moreover, the data that is being stored in the stacks may affect the page speed and in turn the score affecting the SEO and Ranking.
Minification and Script Compression
Minification is a process where the unnecessary information is removed from a file to make it optimized for the website. Using minification, the characters that are no longer relevant to the browser are removed so as to facilitate smoother functioning of the device. Examples of these unnecessary characters are bookmarks, comments, line breakers, spaces to name a few.
Similarly, compression is a process of reducing the number of files in the code by emitting repetitive information and restoring the same as a single reference. Known as Gzip Compression, more commonly compression takes place on the server where the server sends a compressed version of files to the browser which, later, retrieves the content and restores the file.
More or less all the browsers that are supported by Kentico are ideally able to download the correct files. Any compressed app found by the user browser, should disperse data. In case the browser is not able to process this data, an uninstalled service is prompted automatically.
Lightweight Themes and Plugins
Plugins add extra weight to the website due to which the speed is slowed down. The more plugins are added to a website, the slower it will run.
One such plugin that a website carries is its theme. More or less all the website themes available have their own extensive libraries as well as 3rd party builders that slows down the website to a certain extent. Switching to a lightweight theme helps to solve this issue to a great extent.
What are lightweight themes? Themes that do no have a lot of pictures, graphics, animations, slides or any activity that might make the theme bulkier and thus make the website slower.
Checking Bulk Speed with Page Speed
Though checking one page at time may seem tedious, PageSpeed checks the bulk speed of each and every page of the website and diagnoses that can be improved for a better performance and speed score.
To check the bulk speed of a website, follow the step mentioned below:
- Set up technical SEO
- Open Campaign
- Go to Site Audit
- Select Performance
- Select Page Speed
Tools for SEO That Improve Website Speed
Apart from PageSpeed Insights, there are other tools available that can work well for SEO and ranking improvement. Let us look at some of them.
Pingdom Speed Test is one of the most efficient tools that can calculate the speed of the website. When you enter the URL of a website and run the test, Pingdom will render a result mentioning the Performance Grade, Load time, Page size, Issues and other such suggestions to improve the performance. You can select a server closest to your location and run a test on local SEO.
Some of these locations are:
- Europe-The United Kingdom-London
- North America-USA-Washington DC
- North America-USA-San Francisco
- South America-Brazil-Sao Paulo
Rendering a detailed report, GT Metrix is a free tool that analyzes the website using Google PageSpeed utilities. For more premium versions with more options, users have to sign up and create an account thus getting access to additional options for analysis. The very first option you will have to choose is the location where you want to test the URL. This is essential to identify your URL with a location where it is hosted.
Some of the locations where GTMetrix can run tests are:
- Dallas, USA
- Hong Kong, China
- London, UK
- Mumbai, India
- Sydney, Australia
- Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Vancouver, Canada
The results rendered by GT Metrix have values for PageSpeed Score, Load Time, Page Size, YSlow Score and the number of requests received by the website.
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Q. How important is it to use the Page Speed tool?
A. Using Page Speed helps to improve the load time and in turn the performance of the website thus retaining more and more traffic.
Q. How are SEO and Ranking related to page speed?
A. The more the Page speed, the better the SEO and Ranking results.
Q. How to use Page Speed for website speed optimization?
A. Enter the URL mentioned in the tool. Page Speed will analyze and diagnose the website and render a list of issues where improvements can be made to increase the performance of the website.
SEO and ranking of a website highly depend on its performance and speed score. Tools such as Page Speed Insights give a more accurate picture of what elements of a website need improvement and what changes should be made to increase the speed and performance of the website.
On one hand where the speed score is not enough, other factors such as the data on the website which affect the load time which is measured in seconds. The lesser the load time (less than 5 seconds and a score of over 50) will be the ideal values for a high performing website.
Optimized data, images, server connections and themes are equally important and keeping them simple will help with the website page speed.
Share your Page Speed Insights Scores and ranking. How did using the tool help you to improve the performance of your website?