PageSpeed ​​Insights: improve your web speed test

The Google search engine SERPs are responsible for originating 94% of total traffic and 96% of mobile traffic ( HubSpot ). Hence, for companies and marketing professionals, the configuration of web pages that conquer the Google algorithm and be positioned as well as possible is of great importance.

PageSpeed ​​is a platform that helps us improve this positioning , at least that is what the theory says, but what is the truth behind it?

What is Google PagellSpeed ​​and what tools make it up?

Google PageSpeed is a compact but powerful set of tools that Google places at our disposal to analyze or optimize the performance and loading speed of our web pages . This group of solutions was publicly announced at the Google I / O conference in 2010 of Capital Smart City.

After some changes on the amount of tools that compose it, today the two main ones are:

  1. PageSpeed ​​Insights , used in the cloud.
  2. PageSpeed ​​Module , executed on-premise.

What is Google PageSpeed ​​Insights?

PageSpeed ​​Insights

PageSpeed ​​Insights

Google PageSpeed ​​Insights is the online tool responsible for analyzing the performance of web pages . In this analysis, the system yields two general types of results:

  1. On the one hand, there are those related to loading speed and performance itself.
  2. On the other hand, there are a series of recommendations that the platform makes so that we know where and how to optimize the website.

To perform both the analysis and the suggestions, the tool is based on what is known as best practices or PageSpeed ​​Insights rules . These cover both the front-end level (loading images, JavaScript or CSS files, among others) and server configuration. 

Specifically, the rules are:

  • Avoid redirects to landing pages.
  • Enable compression.
  • Improve the response time of the servers.
  • Take advantage of browser caching.
  • Minify resources.
  • Optimize images
  • Optimize CSS delivery.
  • Prioritize visible content.
  • Remove the JavaScript that blocks the rendering of the content.

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Lighthouse: the difference between the old PageSpeed ​​Insights and the current one 

In 2017, Google published its Blue World City tool , an extension for Google Chrome whose functionality is to analyze a web page based on its structure, loading speed and rendering.

Soon, LightHouse became part of PageSpeed ​​Insights . With this integration, a before and after was marked in the capabilities of this last platform.

In the old PageSpeed ​​we obtained some valuable metrics on the level of web optimization and the average load time ( FCP – FID ), as well as some tips to improve these variables. In this version, the scores and ratings obtained from the analyzes varied on the following scale:

PageSpeed ​​Insights previous version

Old PageSpeed ​​Insights

In the current PageSpeed ​​Insights (integrated with LightHouse), the analysis variables increased, thus providing much deeper knowledge about our website. Now we not only have the average score and load metrics on mobile devices with Chrome (estimated average rating), but we also have all the rendering metrics provided by LightHouse.

This new data is very important for us to understand how long it takes a visitor to consume the content on our website and how it does it.

In this new version of PageSpeed, the rating scale on the level of optimization is as follows:

New PageSpeed ​​Insights

Current PageSpeed ​​Insights

In this context, the main difference between old and new PageSpeed is that, even if we reach a score of 100, we will always continue to have a list of elements to consider to continue optimizing our website.

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Results fields of the current Google PageSpeed ​​Insights

In general, the factors that PageSpeed ​​Insights provides when analyzing a web page are classified into three categories:

  1. Opportunities : suggestions that can help our website load faster.
  2. Diagnostics : more detailed information about the performance of our application.
  3. Approved audits : list of elements that correctly comply with the PageSpeed ​​Insights rules mentioned above.

We will not list all the subcategories that each element contains, since they can be many, but some examples are:

  • “Eliminate resources that block rendering” in Opportunities .
  • “User Timing measurements and marks – 7 user times”, in Diagnostics .
  • “Avoid excessive size of DOM – 200 elements”, in approved audits .

The interesting thing is that, for each of all the possible points, Google accompanies you with some descriptions that help you better understand the problem to improve.

PageSpeed ​​Mobile and PageSpeed ​​Computer

Mobile PageSpeed

PageSpeed ​​Insights analyzes websites both from the perspective of mobile devices and computers . And it does so with the objective that we can know how optimized our website is at the mobile first level and if it is able to provide a good user experience for those who visit it from their smartphones.

To achieve this, the platform performs a series of queries to the page simulating a mobile device and taking into account the parameters of this type of navigation.

PageSpeed ​​Insights API

The PageSpeed ​​Insights API fulfills both the functions we have already detailed (performance analysis and improvement recommendations) and a very interesting one that allows programmers to learn how to convert a standard web page into a progressive web application (PWA) .

The PWA are a higher level of web pages that behave as if they were mobile applications, thus taking advantage of the native apps but without the need to be downloaded or installed, since they can be accessed through any browser, like Chrome

In addition, the PageSpeed ​​Insights API provides data from both LightHouse and the Chrome User Experience Report  (CrUX) .

  • What is Google PageSpeed ​​Module?

PageSpeed ​​Module is the other component of Google PageSpeed , in addition to Insights. This consists of an open source library that can be deployed on Apache or Nginx servers , and whose functionalities are to automatically rewrite and optimize our web resources.

To achieve this automation, PageSpeed ​​Module applies a series of filters designed in line with the PageSpeed ​​Insights rules , which are called PageSpeed ​​Filters . These are executed in predefined order, but can be enabled and disabled in the server configuration file.

Old Google PageSpeed ​​components

In its beginnings, in addition to Insights and Module, Google PageSpeed ​​also had two other components:

  • PageSpeed ​​Chrome Extension
  • PageSpeed ​​Service
  • PageSpeed ​​Chrome Extension

Google PageSpeed ​​Chrome Extension was an extension for the Chrome web browser. This allowed us to get a PageSpeed ​​analysis right on every page we visited. However, Google discontinued the tool, focusing all its efforts on PageSpeed ​​Insights for web page analysis.

  • PageSpeed ​​Service

Google PageSpeed ​​Service was a commercial tool that automatically optimized and accelerated our pages. To achieve this, we only had to register for the service and point the DNS entry of our website to Google.

PageSpeed ​​Service began operation in 2011 . Despite having very good results for several years, Google decided to focus on open source PageSpeed ​​products. Therefore, in May 2015 the future discontinuity of the service was announced and in August of that same year the final cessation of its service was made .

Is it possible (or necessary) to achieve a perfect score in PageSpeed ​​Insights?

Following PageSpeed’s directions is usually a good idea , up to a point. You should be clear that the analysis variables of this tool are very strict and that they are not always in line with what a truly optimized web page is. 

Therefore, you should not become obsessed with its indicators, as this will result in great frustration and, ironically, an over-optimization of your resources that ultimately end up damaging your website.

An example of this is when PageSpeed ​​Insights suggests that you optimize CSS delivery . In an ideal world, your CSS would be minified and compressed to the fullest, and separated to show the essential styles (the critical assets) in the header and the rest in the footer. However, in the real world this is not possible, because you are surely using WordPress.

What’s wrong with using WordPress?

There’s nothing wrong. On the contrary, it is excellent !, but achieving 100 PageSpeed ​​points in WordPress can be a very complicated task considering that, when installing plugins, you will have everything: CSS files on your page that cannot be minified or styles that are inefficient , among others.

There are other times when, even if our page is “perfect” and can reach a score of 100, it is not possible to do so due to external factors. For example, if we have a low budget server, it can give errors that have no solution, such as the slow response time of the server or time to first byte (TTFB) . In that case, we can always contact our server provider to see if it is possible to improve the TTFB or consider hiring a slightly better service.

Web speed test tools

To measure the loading speed and other optimization factors of web pages there are many other tools. Each with different characteristics, functions, variables and models of results.

As marketing professionals or web page developers, we can have a preference for any web speed testing platform , as it seems to us that it provides more reliable results or better optimization suggestions.

Some of the most popular speed test tools are :

  • My Site Test
  • GTmetrix
  • Pingdom

Google My Site Test to measure the speed of mobile websites

Test My Site is another Google tool for measuring online loading speed . It differs from PageSpeed ​​in that the latter is responsible for analyzing individual pages. For example:

  • Cases-de-exito

In parallel, Test My Site is responsible for analyzing the entire website as a whole: . On the other hand, Test My Site only takes into account mobile navigation variables, not by computer. However, one of its most interesting aspects is that it allows us to compare our website with the competitor’s web pages.

GTmetrix for web speed test

GTmetrix is a commercial tool for web speed tests . Although in principle it can be used for free, it also has its paid version, which is more powerful and complete ( GTmetrix PRO ).

The functions of GTmetrix are very versatile. This platform is characterized by a panel of visual and intuitive results, which allows, among others, to select periods of time to analyze the historical record of the performance of our website. In addition, it is possible to configure alerts to know when our website begins to lower its performance.

Pingdom Website Speed ​​Test

Pingdom Website Speed ​​Test is another commercial tool to measure the speed of web pages and that has its free version and several payment plans. It also provides highly visual, configurable and detailed results. For example, Pingdom Website Speed ​​Test allows us to know, among others:

  • File sizes
  • Your loading times
  • The elements that slow down the website.
  • DNS searches.
  • The impact on performance of all changes applied.

Our recommendation for your SEO positioning

Web speed and performance levels measurement tools offer very valuable strategic data about our on-page SEO . However, SEO positioning depends to a greater extent on many other tremendously important factors, which range from the quality of your content to your link building strategies .  

It is necessary, without a doubt, that you optimize the technical aspects of your website , but do not worry so much about the indicators. A few points or a few points will not allow you to get more readers, more subscribers or more sales.

There are websites with very low PageSpeed ​​indexes and, even so, they appear in the first SERP results. While there are other websites with scores of almost 100, and that of almost 100 is also their position in Google results.

However, I know that the temptation to achieve 100 points is great, and right now you will be worried about not being able to do it. So if you have any questions about the configuration of your site, leave me a comment below and I will be happy to resolve it.