SEO

Is it essential for SEO? – Google PageSpeed Insights and Core Web Vitals

adminBy 09/05/2022No Comments

The major query is: How crucial is it for effective SEO to aim for a PageSpeed Insights test score of 100/100? In this article, it will be discussed.

An effective online tool for measuring site speed is Google PageSpeed Insights. On a scale of one to 100, it scores the website and offers suggestions for future optimization. Core Web Vitals, another Google service, offers specific information on the website’s actual speed and user experience. By implementing the suggestions from these tools, you may improve your SEO and move the page up in the SERP results.

How crucial is it for successful SEO campaigns to aim for a PageSpeed Insights test score of 100/100? What else has to be configured in Drupal sites in particular? In this article, it will be discussed.

Google PageSpeed Insights: What Is It?

Although Google doesn’t publicly disclose its algorithms, one thing is certain: both desktop & mobile devices consider loading speed as a ranking criteria.

When a website administrator wishes to examine how well a site performs on desktop and mobile devices and identify variables that influence the speed, effectiveness, and general appeal of a site, Google PageSpeed Insights might be useful. In essence, it enables measuring page load times and tracking site speed rankings.

Simply enter a website’s URL and click “analyze” to test it:

Before selecting “analyze,” you should select one of the options the application offers to see data about speed on desktop and mobile devices. Don’t forget to examine your website’s loading speed on mobile devices since mobile-first search results have made them far more important than they once were.

The outcome displays an overall score that sums up how well the page performed and further information about the variables affecting it. Running the open-source, automated Lighthouse tool yields the score.

The majority of the information you receive focuses on website performance issues. And a lot of website managers and maintainers fall into this trap. You instinctively hurry to improve the metrics so that the score is closer to 100 when you see numerous charts with extremely informative green, yellow, and red colors, along with a score on top of it.

Is the result really important?

The issue is, your site doesn’t necessarily need to receive a perfect score of 100 on PageSpeed Insights to rank at the top of the results page. Such a strategy may even be harmful to the website because it may necessitate the removal of numerous beneficial UX components. Checking if the charts generated by the analysis are green is more crucial; if they are yellow or even red, you should focus on making improvements.

We undertook an experiment to prove that having the highest score does not definitely place the site among the top-ranking pages. We looked up popular Drupal SEO modules on Google and used PageSpeed Insight to test each of the top 10 pages.

Unsurprisingly, the top-ranked page received a score of 42/100, and its charts included some areas in yellow and red. The infographics on page two, which had a score of 32/100, contain a lot of red hue. With less red and more yellow, the page in 10th place received an interesting 84/100.

Why does that matter? Is the PageSpeed Insights test ineffective for getting a top SERP (Search Engine Results Page) placement?

Naturally, it isn’t. However, the recommendations made rather than the eye-catching data are what make the analysis the most beneficial.

Why? Because user experience is one of the vantage points from which PageSpeed Insights analyses the page. Furthermore, the score doesn’t fully capture it.

Tips for Using Google PageSpeed Insights

Without a question, one of the most important aspects that affects consumers’ pleasure with a website is how quickly it loads. People will simply leave the page if they become irritated before it has finished loading. Instead of concentrating on the top score, you should strive to boost the site’s real speed (which can be assessed using a variety of technologies) as well as its perceived (how quickly visitors believe the site to be). The advice provided by PageSpeed Insights is useful in this situation.

You may access both field and lab data on the website.

Field data aids in identifying bottlenecks in the real world by evaluating how a particular site performed over the last thirty days to others in the Chrome User Experience Report. Sometimes, this information might not be available. Core Web Vitals was made accessible via Google to track the actual user experience. This service provides particular information about the site’s actual speed and usability. This tool will be covered in more detail in the text.

In a controlled situation, test information provides an estimate of the site’s performance on various metrics during a simulated page load.

Some of Google PageSpeed Insights' most popular recommendations (with tips specific for Drupal sites)

Serve images in advanced formats.

JPEG and PNG, two widely used picture formats, offer less compression than PEG 2000, JPEG XR, and WebP. It can be practical to use a module to take full advantage of WebP image files that instantly creates a WebP copy of the submitted photos.

Get rid of resources that prevent rendering

This indicates that some JavaScript and CSS scripts cause the page to load slowly. PageSpeed Insights advises employing modules for asynchronous loading, such as the Advanced CSS/JS Aggregation, or inlining crucial JavaScript and CSS to optimize.

Use the correct image size

Images that are the right size not only speed up page loading but also conserve cellular data. Use the native Responsive Image Styles for Drupal websites whenever possible (available in Drupal 8 and above).

Defer off-screen pictures

The term “Lazy Loading” refers to the practice of only loading images when they are absolutely required. It substantially increases perceived performance and is possible with the aid of a number of stack-specific modules or plugins (there are options for Drupal).

Remove any extra JavaScript.

Whether JavaScript is render-blocking or asynchronous, it’s a good idea to remove unnecessary scripts because they cause the page to load slowly. Consider using only the necessary libraries for Drupal on the relevant page or perhaps a specific page component.

Use an effective caching policy when serving static content.

Browsers save copies of online pages as a result of caching. The website loads more quickly when the same visitor visits it again. You may wish to set the “Browser and proxy cache maximum age” for Drupal.

Google's Core Web Vitals

The 4 metrics called Core Web Vitals describe various facets of the user experience. They are as follows:

First Contentful Paint (FCP)

shows the length of time it takes for just any part of the page to render after the browser sends its original request. By just transmitting the resources required to render what is visible to users in the viewport, you can raise this score. Examples of excellent techniques in this scenario also include already mentioned lazy loading and inline styles.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

Measures perceived loading speed, or the interval between a request and the time a site’s primary content is available. Controlling font performance and utilizing a native image tag with srcset or a picture element can raise this score. In general, it’s a good idea to make sure that all of the stuff in the viewport is displayed with as few serial dependencies as possible, including images, text, and other content.

First Input Delay (FID)

Measures the engagement or responsiveness of the load. Processing complex scripts or generating heavy styles will lower this score. Therefore, limiting the amount of JavaScript that is used on a given page makes sense. Additionally, device performance affects FID. Don’t forget to check your website on different devices.

Cumulative Layout Shift, (CLS)

A metric for visual steadiness. In other words, we can talk about an unexpected layout shift when the by now website content abruptly changes. Users find this to be a very miserable time. Resources that load asynchronously or dynamic injected content may be to blame for this mess. There are other suggestions for improving CLS, such as allocating space on the website for photographs and advertisements.

Summary

Google encourages sites that are quick and offer a better user experience. We need a lot of measures to optimize websites, and PageSpeed Insights is a useful tool for gathering data on web page speed. Additionally, it offers suggestions for additional optimization.

However, the overall PageSpeed Insights score is not that important, and achieving a perfect score of 100/100 does not guarantee that the site will appear at the top of Google’s search results. Focusing on the advice or opportunities that the service provides is what counts most. Google Core Web Vitals is another excellent resource. It’s a requirement for modern website maintainers and aims to measure the actual user experience.

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