I’ve posted previously about why page load speed is so important so I won’t retread those steps here. Suffice to say… it’s a VERY important consideration for optimizing your blog for search. Today I’m going to focus on using Google’s free tool to measure it. I’ll cover how to use Google PageSpeed Insights, and offer some tips on how to make tweaks to your blog to help boost your PSI scores.
What is Google PageSpeed Insights?
Google PageSpeed insights is a free tool that shows you the speed at which the posts and pages of your blog load on mobile and desktop devices. It does this by providing you with a speed score.
The score falls between 0 and 100, with categorizations of slow, moderate or fast:
- 0 to 49 (slow): Red
- 50 to 89 (average): Orange
- 90 to 100 (fast): Green
The speed at which your posts and pages load is important because of user experience. If a page loads slowly, it’s likely that the experience will be bad for anyone visiting it and may lead to frustration and a bounce away from your blog. Conversely, if a page loads quickly visitors are likely to remain longer.
Page speed is an important indicator for search engines eager to deliver results for sites likely to satisfy a searcher needs. Pages that load slowly are unlikely to be given higher placement in search results since they are more likely to result in an unsatisfactory visitor experience.
If you owned a search engine, would you list a site in your results if you knew from the get-go it would not satisfy a search need?
Neither would I!
Using the PSI Tool
It’s a pretty simple deal to be honest. The only thing you need to do is:
- Visit PageSpeed Insights
- Add the URL of the page you want to test into the search bar and click the Analyze button.
- Wait for the results!
The test takes a minute or two to run, after which the tool will present you with your 2 sets of scores: one for mobile devices and one for desktops. It also provides analysis of various aspects of your page for both test sets, along with suggestions to make time saving improvements for a faster page load.
Google adopts a “mobile first” approach these days, meaning your pages must be optimized for mobile visitors.
Google PageSpeed Insight Improvement Suggestions
Most often savings can be made by:
- Using a fast hosting service… I use SiteGround, which among other benefits delivers lightening fast performance. Read my SiteGround review to find out more.
- Optimizing images to reduce their size while maintaining image quality. This makes downloading them quicker.
- Deferring offscreen images with lazy-loading so they don’t load until they’re required.
- Minifying CSS by combining your style sheets, removing unnecessary spaces and line breaks and compressing them.
- Removing unused CSS such as comments.
- Avoiding multiple HTTP page redirects, such as 301 and 302.
- Using optimized video formats for animated content instead of animated GIFs.
- Avoiding large content loads by using pagination.
If you’re a WordPress user, you can make most of these improvements by installing plugins. The following plugins deliver huge improvements in page speed load times:
Faster Hosting Server
If your hosting server is slow, you should migrate to a new hosting company. Most often a faster host will fix many of your page speed problems. You could do a lot worse than SiteGround, whose servers offer awesome speeds at a very competitive price.
Furthermore, as a SiteGround customer you can take advantage of SiteGround’s SG Optimizer plugin which handles almost all required page speed optimizations for you: check out the exceptional improvements I enjoyed after carrying out a page load speed test for SideGains.
You can find out more about other elements of Google PageSpeed insights here:
- Ensure Text Remains Visible During Webfont Load.
- What is First Contentful Paint in the Google PSI Tool?
- Google’s PageSpeed Insights is a tool to help you understand how quickly your pages load.
- Running a PageSpeed Insights test results in a score between 0 to 100 assigned to the tested page for both mobile and desktop devices.
- PageSpeed scores are categorized as either Slow, Moderate or Fast.
- The faster your pages load the higher your score and the better experience your page will provide for visitors.
- Using the Google PageSpeed Insights tool is very easy but interpreting it’s improvement suggestions can be confusing if you don’t consider yourself technically minded.
- Plugins can help you to improve your page load speed.
- A fast hosting server can improve you page load speeds immeasurably.
That’s all for now!
Got any questions about how to use Google PageSpeed Insights? Leave a comment below!