How to Use Google PageSpeed Insights Correctly: A Technical Guide

PageSpeed Insights is a Google web tool that analyzes web page performance and optimization. It provides valuable insights and recommendations to help website developers improve their websites’ speed and user experience. With this tool, we can better understand how a website performs on different devices and networks. In this post, we’re going to look at how to use it correctly, as well as giving you some technical tips along the way. Alright, let’s jump in!


The Importance of Page Speed Optimization

Web page loading speed is critically important for several reasons:

  • User Experience: Fast-loading websites enhance user satisfaction and engagement while slow-loading sites frustrate users and increase bounce rates.
  • Search Engine Rankings: PageSpeed is a crucial ranking factor, as search engines prioritize sites with faster loading times, leading to higher visibility and organic traffic.
  • Mobile Experience: With mobile devices on the rise, fast loading times are essential for delivering optimal UX on smartphones and tablets.
  • Conversion Rates: Faster websites lead to higher user engagement, lower bounce rates, and improved conversion rates while slow-loading pages can lose sales and leads.
  • Competitive Advantage: A faster-loading website provides a competitive edge by offering a superior user experience, increasing user preference.


Google PageSpeed Insights Tool Overview

Web Page Analysis: Use PageSpeed Insights by entering your web page’s URL. It assesses performance on mobile and desktop devices.

Performance Score: Get a score from 0 to 100, indicating optimization and loading speed. It considers factors like server response time, resource blocking, file sizes, and image optimization.

Suggestions and Recommendations: Receive detailed guidance on optimizing your page. It identifies issues affecting the speed and suggests solutions like image optimization, code minification, caching, and eliminating resource blocking.

Lab and Field Data: The report includes lab and field data. Lab data simulate ideal conditions, offering insights for performance improvements.

User Experience and Opportunities: Assess UX with metrics like First Contentful Paint and Time to Interactive. Identify areas for improvement.

Mobile and Desktop Analysis: Evaluate performance separately for mobile and desktop. Get mobile-specific recommendations like responsive design and optimizations.


Google PageSpeed Insights Tool

Interpreting PageSpeed Insights Scores

Here’s a general interpretation of PageSpeed Insights scores:

Score Range 90-100: Your web page is highly optimized and performs exceptionally well.

Score Range 50-89: Your web page has room for improvement but performs reasonably well.

Score Range 0-49: Your web page has significant performance issues and needs optimization.


PageSpeed Insights analyzes key metrics:

PageSpeed Insights analyzes key metrics to evaluate web page performance and optimization. These metrics include:

  • First Contentful Paint (FCP): Measures how quickly users see meaningful content on the screen. Faster FCP improves the UX.
  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): Measures the time for the largest content element to be fully visible. Optimized LCP ensures fast main content loading.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Measures visual stability as the page loads. A low CLS score means fewer unexpected content shifts for a user-friendly experience.
  • Time to Interactive (TTI): Measures how long it takes for a page to become interactive. Fast TTI allows users to interact comfortably with the page.
  • Total Blocking Time (TBT): Measures the time the main thread is blocked by long tasks, causing interactivity delays. Reducing TBT improves the user experience.
  • Speed Index: Represents how quickly page contents are populated. A lower speed index indicates faster loading and a better user experience.


Strategies for Improving PageSpeed

  • Optimize image files to reduce size without compromising quality.
  • Minify CSS and JavaScript by removing unnecessary characters to improve file sizes and parsing speed.
  • Enable browser caching to store static resources locally, reducing server requests and improving page loading times.
  • Eliminate render-blocking resources by deferring non-critical CSS and JavaScript loading or using asynchronous techniques.
  • Prioritize above-the-fold content by delivering it quickly, even if other parts of the page are still loading, using lazy loading or asynchronous loading.
  • Reduce server response time through server configuration, database optimization, and code improvements.
  • Implement these strategies based on recommendations from PageSpeed Insights for improved scores and overall performance.
  • Compress files using Gzip or other compression methods to reduce transfer size.
  • Use a content delivery network (CDN) to serve static resources from servers closer to the user’s location.
  • Minimize the use of external scripts and plugins to reduce http requests.
  • Optimize the order of loading loaded CSS and JavaScript files to ensure critical resources first.
  • Reduce redirects and optimize their use to minimize latency.


Optimize your site using PageSpeed Insights’ recommendations:

To use PageSpeed Insights recommendations effectively, follow these steps:

  • Run PageSpeed Insights: Enter the URL of the web page you want to analyze into the PageSpeed Insights tool. It will generate a performance report for both the mobile and desktop versions of your page.
  • Review Performance Score and Metrics: Pay attention to the performance score and individual metrics provided by PageSpeed Insights.
  • Analyze Suggestions and Recommendations: PageSpeed Insights will provide specific suggestions and recommendations to optimize your web page. Those are optimizing images, minifying CSS and JavaScript, enabling caching, eliminating render-blocking resources, or addressing other performance-related issues.
  • Prioritize Recommendations: Focus on the recommendations that have the most significant impact on your page’s performance. Consider starting with high-priority issues that affect loading speed and UX.
  • Implement Optimization Techniques: Use PageSpeed Insights recommendations to change your web page. This may involve compressing and optimizing images, minifying CSS and JavaScript files, configuring browser caching, deferring or asynchronously loading scripts, or addressing other specific issues.
  • Test and Validate Changes: After implementing the suggested optimizations, re-run PageSpeed Insights to assess the impact of the changes. Validate if the recommendations have been effectively addressed and if the performance score and metrics have improved.
  • Continuous Monitoring and Optimization: PageSpeed Insight is a valuable tool for ongoing optimization. Regularly analyze your page’s performance using PageSpeed Insights and make further adjustments as needed.


page speed insights

Leveraging the Advanced Features of PageSpeed Insights

  • Analyzing Mobile Performance: PageSpeed Insights optimizes your web page for mobile devices by identifying mobile-specific performance issues, ensuring a smooth UX.
  • Assessing User Experience: PageSpeed Insights measures loading, interactivity, and visual stability with Core Web Vitals metrics like LCP, FID, and CLS, providing insights into the UX.
  • Comparing Performance with Competitors: PageSpeed Insights lets you compare your web page’s performance with competitors, offering valuable insights into load speed and optimization.
  • Monitoring Performance Over Time: By saving reports or using the API, track changes in performance metrics, identify trends and measure the impact of optimizations on ongoing improvements.


Best Practices for PageSpeed Insights Optimization

Here are some best practices for optimizing your website’s PageSpeed:

  • Optimize and compress images: Resize and compress images without compromising quality. Use JPEG and PNG formats and lazy loading techniques.
  • Minify CSS and JavaScript: Remove unnecessary characters like white spaces, comments, and line breaks to reduce file sizes. Tools and plugins can help with minification.
  • Leverage browser caching: Enable caching to store static resources like CSS, JavaScript, and images in the user’s browser. This reduces server requests and improves page loading times for returning visitors.
  • Eliminate render-blocking resources: Optimize CSS and JavaScript resources loading to prevent page blocking. Use asynchronous or delayed loading techniques.
  • Enable GZIP compression: Reduce file sizes during transmission by enabling GZIP compression for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files on your server.
  • Prioritize above-the-fold content: Ensure that content above the fold loads quickly to provide a better user experience. Optimize the critical rendering path to deliver essential content first.
  • Reduce server response time: Optimize server configuration, database queries, and backend code to improve response time. Implement caching mechanisms, use CDNs, and optimize database queries.
  • Use Content Delivery Networks (CDNs): Distribute static content across multiple servers using CDNs. This reduces latency by delivering content from servers closest to users.
  • Implement AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages): Consider using AMP, a framework for fast mobile web experiences. It optimizes HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and prioritizes above-the-fold content.
  • Monitor and test your website’s performance regularly: Continuously monitor your website’s performance using tools like PageSpeed Insights, Webpage Test, or Lighthouse. Analyze reports, identify bottlenecks, and implement optimizations based on test insights.


Common Pitfalls to Avoid, and Tips for Troubleshooting

To optimize page speed, here are some common pitfalls to avoid and troubleshooting tips:

  • Plugins and Scripts: Limit plugins and third-party scripts. Remove unnecessary ones and consider combining multiple scripts into a single file for faster loading.
  • Bloated Code: Optimize CSS and JavaScript code by minifying and compressing them. Follow best practices for efficient rendering and execution.
  • Browser and Device Compatibility: Test your website across different browsers and devices to ensure compatibility. Use responsive design techniques and cross-browser testing tools.
  • Inadequate Hosting or Server Resources: Upgrade your hosting plan or migrate to a provider with better performance and scalability. Optimize server configurations and utilize caching mechanisms and CDNs.
  • Large or Un- optimized Images: Resize and compress images while maintaining quality. Use image formats and implement lazy loading to improve page speed.
  • Lack of Content Caching: Enable browser and server-side caching to deliver static resources more efficiently, reducing repeated requests.
  • Poor Database Optimization: Optimize database queries, use caching mechanisms, and ensure indexing for faster loading times.
  • Monitoring and Regular Maintenance: Monitor your website’s performance and promptly address any issues. Set up monitoring tools and optimize code, plugins, and content.
  • External Factors: Be aware of factors like internet connection speed and user location that affect page speed. Optimize what you can control on your website.


SEO Insights:

Both tools can assess a page’s adherence to SEO best practices. They analyze factors like the presence of a < meta name=”viewport”>  tag, mobile-friendliness, structured data markup, and other SEO considerations. Following these insights can positively impact your website’s search engine visibility and organic traffic.

While PageSpeed Insights is primarily an online tool where you enter a URL and receive a performance score and recommendations, Lighthouse provides more flexibility and control. Lighthouse can be run from Chrome DevTools, the command line, or as a Node.js module. It allows for local development environment testing, which can be useful during website development and optimization.


Key Similarities Between Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights

SimilaritiesLighthousePageSpeed Insights
Performance MetricsProvides FCP, LCP, TTI, CLS, and more.Provides FCP, LCP, TTI, CLS, and more.
Optimization SuggestionsRecommends removing render-blocking resources, reducing server response times, optimizing images, etc.Recommends removing render-blocking resources, reducing server response times, optimizing images, etc.
Web Development Best PracticesEvaluates HTTPS usage, HTTP status codes, and more.Evaluates HTTPS usage, HTTP status codes, and more.
SEO InsightsAssesses meta tag presence, HTTP status codes, and more.Assesses meta tag presence, HTTP status codes, and more.
Flexibility and ControlCan be run via Chrome DevTools, the command line, or as a Node.js module.Accessed online via URL input.
Local DevelopmentCan assess performance in local development environments.Requires publicly accessible URLs.

Prioritizing page speed is crucial for a successful website. It boosts user satisfaction, engagement, conversions, and search engine rankings. Use PageSpeed Insights to identify areas for improvement. Optimize images, minimize code, enable caching, eliminate render-blocking resources, prioritize above-the-fold content, and reduce server response time. Implement these strategies for a faster, user-friendly website. Monitor and improve performance regularly using PageSpeed Insights.

If you’re looking to automatically monitor the your website for speed, check out Dotcom-Monitor’s Web Page Monitoring platform and sign up for a free trial today! 

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