A website’s performance is one major factor in landing Google’s search. Responsiveness is a major consideration when the search engine places you on its first pages.
But, the question here is… how does Google actually measure your website’s performance?
To use this functionality, follow these instructions:
Note that, in the screenshot above, you’ll already see the categories listed, which are Performance, Progressive Web App, Best Practices, Accessibility, and SEO.
If we dig a little deeper and check out this Lighthouse Performance scoring guide, you’ll see that the heaviest criteria is dedicate to Largest Contentful Paint and Total Blocking Time.
Let’s explain each.
According to web.dev, “Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is an important, user-centric metric for measuring perceived load speed because it marks the point in the page load timeline when the page’s main content has likely loaded—a fast LCP helps reassure the user that the page is useful”.
To achieve great user experience, your website should have the large contentful paint occur within the first 2.5 seconds as a page starts to load.
On the other hand, Total Blocking Time is “the sum of all periods between the First Contentful Paint (the time where the first text or image is painted on the page), and Time to Interactive (when the page becomes completely usable).
What does this mean for us?
This basically tells us that Google prioritizes showing users the MAIN CONTENT, as well as the average speed to which your website becomes FULLY INTERACTIVE. So, even if your page appears very fast, you should ensure that it is also interactive.
Your site’s content may load in less than a second, however, if your Time to Interactive is a whopping 8 seconds, you’ll be in trouble.
What’s causing this, you may ask?
Most websites nowadays run a lot of 3rd party scripts from tools – especially marketing tools.
Modern sales pages run all kinds of tools in the background. Some of the most common are the following:
Google Analytics – For your website’s metrics
HotJar – For heatmaps
Intercom – For chat functionality
Facebook – For Likes and Shares
…The list could potentially go on. If you’re running an eCommerce business , you can add in a payment processing site, too.
All of these come in small, lightweight packages called snippets. But when you combine all these lightweight packages, you’ll often end up with a heavy load.
What’s causing this slowdown?
Check your images. Are you resizing them? More often than not, images can be so large that users often use them unresized. Imagine transferring a 50 MB high-resolution image when your recipient’s wireless connection is really bad.
The best thing to do is to resize your images and reduce their quality for web consumption. Just make sure that they don’t experience a significant drop in quality when you do so.
If your website embedding a lot of videos, then your plan to stay and be relevant.
The same videos may be slowing down your site’s performance. And if your site’s slow, you can say goodbye to your aspirations of getting a high-ranking page on Google.
How do we address this? One thing you can do is you can get a frontend developer to lazy-load your videos. Also known as on-demand loading, lazy-loading is the process by which sections are loaded only when they are required by the user. If you’re interested to dive into the nitty-gritty of the process, web.dev has a great guide on lazy-loading.
You don’t want to be a hoarder, right?
One of the reasons why your website is slow is that you have so many tools in your disposal that you probably don’t need.
Often, because these tools are so easy to implement, often relying on their “no-coding nature”, website owners are easily lulled into including more snippets and third-party scripts to “improve” their websites.
Consult with your developers and ask whether or not a script you want to implement in your website works well with your existing tools. Don’t leave yourself in the position of wondering how you ended up with a slow website and tons of tools that no longer “spark joy”.
Also, make sure that you do an audit of your website every now and again. This will help you keep track of the things that optimize your site and of the things that also make it slow.
If you think you need help with auditing and speeding up your website, you can give us a call or email us, and we’ll help you get your website “up to speed” (no pun intended), with the latest tools, tactics, and techniques for search engine optimization.
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