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PageSpeed is one of the critical factors that Google and other search engines use to rank your website. Want to be on the first page of results? You need a fast website.
Enter PageSpeed Insight Checker. Google started offering this tool a few years ago to show you what was wrong with your website’s speed. The checker is a part of Google’s free website tools. Over the years, Google has changed up a lot about this tool particularly when it comes to analyzing websites for mobile responsiveness.
Google PageSpeed Insights analyzes your entire website for different web practices that makes sites faster and mobile-friendly. These are more than just analyzing load times. Google looks at the number of scripts, image sizes, Java calls, errors, and other problems that are slowing down your site.
The tool identifies what pieces need to be fixed to get a higher PageSpeed score, but most sites never score over a 95. If you analyze some of the top websites today, you may be surprised that Google ranks them only 80/100.
So how do you get a 100/100? There are some things that you can do to speed up your website and try not to focus so hard on getting the perfect speed score. The important part is that your site is loading fast.
However, there are some errors that you should ignore in your PageSpeed test. Here is a deeper look into how you can use this PageSpeed checker to analyze your website.
This handy tool was developed by Google to measure and improve the speed of all websites online. You can receive a score from 0 to 100 based on the performance of your site. Of course, 0 probably means that your website is not even functioning.
The score of 100 is highly coveted and rarely achieved due to the necessary concessions needed to make it as fast as possible. For some, that means re-designing their entire website.
There are typically a few fixes that you can identify from your PageSpeed Insights report that will help you speed up your website immensely.
You may be thinking that speed is just the end-all be-all of Google’s test. However, that is not the case. Here is exactly how Google’s PageSpeed checker looks at your website:
Google initially measures the elapsed time from the moment a user requests a new page to the moment that the above-the-fold content is loaded by the browser. Above the fold is a term used to describe content on a webpage that is visible before having to scroll down. This typically includes your header and important CTA buttons.
This is the other test that Google conducts while loading your website. This measures the time elapsed from the moment a user requests a new page to the moment when the page is fully loaded by the browser.
The PageSpeed is a guideline that web developers and webmasters can use to measure how well they are following best web performance practices. These recommendations help speed up your page. There are some things that cause your website to slow down automatically. Google identifies these first in your report.
High resolution images sound great, right? They actually may be slowing down your website, especially if you do not use an optimization tool. You should compress all images using tools like TinyPNG before loading onto your website. If you are using WordPress, you can find some built-in image optimization tools for just this reason.
You should also check the file size of each image and make sure that it meets the minimal dimensions without diminishing quality. For example, if you need a banner that is 150 x 150, then you should not allow the server or website to shrink it with a script. Instead, make sure the graphics match the required image dimensions.
Since images are downloaded with every website that we visit, you may not notice a slowdown in your PageSpeed but a visitor who has never been to your website will have to download any image on the site. If they do not have a fast connection, this can lead to slow loading.
This is probably the worst part about modifying your website for PageSpeed checker. Usually, this does not really make a different in your page speed, but for best practices, Google considers it necessary for your site to be considered “fast.” To fix this problem, you would have to move every file for your website to a CDN, or a content delivery network.
If you want to enable compression, then just go to your server’s settings. This is one process that is easy if you are familiar with web servers. Otherwise, you may need the help of your technical support team to enable GZIP compression.
If your site is not responsive, then it is definitely time to re-design. Mobile experiences are important to most visitors on your site. Even in some markets where mobile is still less than desktop traffic, the mobile numbers are quickly increasing. The mobile experience should show the most responsive version of the site that it can and make sure that it loads quickly.
While these are the most important steps to improve your PageSpeed, you may be operating on an old server and need to upgrade your resources. There are a lot of ways that you can re-launch a website, but when you do, you have to consider the following:
Always use a CDN if possible.
Fix any render-blocking issues from the very first development sprint.
Optimize the size of images and compress them.
If you really want to rank up in Google Search, you have to meet best web practices to do so. PageSpeed Insights Score is one of the factors that determines what your rank should be in search engines. For those companies who care about their website and where they rank, it is imperative that you provide visitors with the best possible experience when they visit your website.
All pages on your website have to be optimized for mobile as well. This is another way that Google checks your site for issues using PageSpeed Insights Score. If you have a site that is not responsive, then other sites can compete and beat you within your own SERPs.
One thing to keep in mind is that the average attention span nowadays is less than 3 seconds. If your website cannot load within that amount of time, most visitors will abandon and go back to whatever they were doing before. It is a sad fact that today’s web traffic just does not want to wait for your brilliant content to load. In that case, they are already off to another website while yours is still trying to load the header.
If you are seeing a lot of red on the PageSpeed Insights Score, then you probably know that you have more than one issue facing your website’s loading times. Since it is really not that hard to build a responsive website these days, you should be able to at least get above an 88/100 for your website. This is a high score that possibly has some issues like render-blocking Java in the header.
However, if you do get a lower score, you may just have to make some simple fixes. For some that is just eliminating high resolution image sizes on the website and using an optimizer. For others, you may need to change your server if you receive a server load time error.
You can run a quick audit using the PageSpeed checker as your baseline. This is your first benchmark. As you make note of the changes requested by Google, you can start to implement these and come back to the PageSpeed checker to see what the latest result is.
What happened after you optimized images? Take a screenshot to note to yourself what the speed improvement was after taking those actions.
You may also need to switch web hosts. While it is rare today that a popular web host can go down enough to cause considerable web page load problems, you may be on an overloaded server, or your website just needs its own space to grow and load everything. In that case, you can choose a super fast web host and new server to host your site.
In addition, you can use tools like W3 Total Cache if on WordPress or another caching plugin if not, to cache your website. This drastically improves your site’s load times and may not be included on your PageSpeed Checker report.
Themes can cause a lot of slowdown issues even though they look beautiful and have a lot of incredible animations. It is up to you how you want to build your website, but typically you should check PageSpeed insights on a demo before purchasing a theme.
Sometimes theme developers are a little bit clunky with different plugins and visualizer plugins. If you find that you have a lot of CSS errors in your PageSpeed report, you probably need to change your WordPress theme to fix the issue.
In some cases, you can talk to the developer about speed issues to see if he can apply a patch that you can download to update your website.