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Analysing the results of Google PageSpeed Insights

The impact of Google PageSpeed Insights on positioning

Does Google PageSpeed Insights result have a real influence on positioning?

1. The pace of loading a website

The pace of loading a website is one of the most important aspects, which has a positive effect on UX. Users want to display information immediately and every single second of delay increases bounce rate - the rate of rejections, which in other words are short-lasting visits on a website, which are limited to entering only one subpage. It is just annoying when a website loads slowly.Website loading time is also a dimension that has more and more impact on natural positioning. Therefore, we should take even greater care to make our website load as fast as possible. There are many tools available on the internet, which allow for gaining information about website loading time or things which we can do to improve it. One of them is Google PageSpeed Insights. However, it is good to consider if information provided by Google PageSpeed Insights is indisputable instruction or useful suggestion, on which we should look at in further optimisation of our website. Moreover we should check how much this result corresponds to real time of loading the website.

2. Google PageSpeed Insights Tools

PageSpeed Insights gives our website from 0 to 100 points, assessing separately desktop and mobile versions. Apart from general score we will also see information about the time during which the first element on the website is displayed (FCP), how fast the page reacts on user’s operations (FID), after what time the biggest element of our website is loaded (LCP) and if the content of our website does not relocate after its upload (CLS). It must be noted that it is a simulation, not a real reflection of the state of our website. The same refers to introduced directions, which suggest what exactly we can do to improve the speed of our web design. We can tell from experience that undoubtedly we should take them into account, but such directions should be treated as proposals of possible activities, not as strict instructions, which will decide about success or failure. Presented recommendations most often refer in a very specific way to the use of browser’s cache, minification of HTML, CSS and JavaScript, format and compression of images or establishing which content should be rendered first. They may also suggest acceleration of server response. All of the mentioned guidelines are essential and we should bear them in mind, but we cannot apply them 100% in each case, for instance because of using external libraries and widgets.

3. Flaws of Google PageSpeed Insights

Despite that PageSpeed Insights gives a range of useful information, we do not always have to apply absolutely all of the suggestions, so that our website has short real loading time. It is worth noticing that we do not always know the localisation of the testing server, so we cannot tell what is the distance between it and our server and if this distance is substantial enough to delay our score. Secondly, the average speed of internet connection, almost in every country (apart from Paraguay and Iraq) is considerably faster than the one presented by PageSpeed Insights. What’s more, the actual time of loading a website may be much shorter than this introduced in PageSpeed results. We can check the authentic website load time in a few ways, for example on Google Analytics, Pingdom Tools and the console, which we can access from the level of a web browser. Apparent differences are caused, among others, by the fact that PageSpeed Insights result is dependent on filling particular instructions and often does not take into account that the whole content on the website is already visible, but in the background some expanded functionality is loading, which does not interfere with using the website.

4. Does the website load time influence natural positioning?

According to the data given by Google, website load time may be relevant to natural positioning. However, it is worth remembering that Google PageSpeed Insights tool do not give the real score of website loading time, so we should not base all of our actions exclusively on the data which we see there. A good example is that of large services, which besides relatively low score in Google PageSpeed Insights, load very fast and at the same time have really high scores in Google search engine. Of course we must remember that natural positioning is affected by many other dimensions and actions connected with positioning.