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Google PageSpeed Insight Update

If Your PageSpeed Score is in the Red, Don’t Panic.

Google recently released an update to its PageSpeed Insights tool in November 2018. Known as Version 5, this latest update expanded the number of testing metrics and now uses the Lighthouse tool for testing. These scores and metrics are important tools which are intended to give website developers insight on ways to improve a page’s performance. There are 2 sections, one for mobile and one for desktop.  The mobile section shows metrics using a 3G connection (more on this below) while the desktop section shows how a site would score on a desktop/laptop computer with a landline connection.

The overall “speed score”, which is a number (1-100) given to indicate the number of performance issues the website may have.  It is not a direct indicator of your site’s actual load times.  Even if this number is low, the website could still come up quickly in your browser depending on your internet connection speed.  Below this “speed score” are more detailed, technical metrics showing the site’s various load times, as well as suggestions to improve the performance of the site.  The most important load time to pay attention to is “First Contentful Paint”, as this is how long it takes before a user begins to see things populate in their web browser.

The United States Uses 4G and Faster

Google uses 3G cell service for mobile testing with PageSpeed Insights. While a majority of the world outside of the United States uses 3G connection for cell service according to OpenSignal, most U.S. cellular internet service providers generally supply faster 4G mobile coverage.

This creates an apples to oranges comparison. Although not inaccurate, these metrics can make it appear as if your pages are performing far worse than they actually are since they are tested at a 3G service level. So, if your pages seem lacking according to this tool, do not be alarmed. Chances are high that your pages are performing better than what these Version 5 PageSpeed Insight metrics tell you.  Make sure to check your site’s score on the desktop section of PageSpeed Insights.  If your score there is low, it could be a better indicator that your site has performance problems.

For contractor type businesses in the U.S., the vast majority of your web page visitors will be in your area and will likely arrive to your site via 4G cell service that experience fast load times. If your website is managed by a professional, experienced company, then your page speed and website load times should already be pretty fast.   

Many factors play into your site’s load times and there are always give-and-takes.  For example, you might love the way that large, high-resolution image looks on your homepage, but it will surely cause your site to load somewhat slower and may result in a lower “speed score”.  What’s more, some “speed score” lowering elements are loaded from external websites and may be outside the control of the website being scanned(eg. Google Maps) It is up to each company and their web team to come up with a balance between features and page load times.

Will A Bad PageSpeed Score Negatively Affect My Rankings?

No, your page speed score does not affect your rankings.  The score is meant as a metric for web professionals to use to improve the performance of your site.  It is not a direct measure or indication of how fast your site actually is.  The important metric is the actual loading time of each page in seconds, but your rankings will only be affected if your load time is seriously, abysmally slow. 

Google incorporated web page speed as part of it algorithm not to penalize websites that are performing at 4 or even 5 second load times, but to penalize websites that are being abandoned before the website even renders creating a negative user experience. Since most users in the states benefit from 4G cellular service only websites that are incredibly slow will be affected by this update.

Other marketing companies may call you up and present some sort of page speed score to try and convince you that your site is performing poorly, but this is simply a half-baked sales tactic trying to scare you with a score that doesn’t mean anything in the end.

So What Is The Version 5 Update Useful For?

While the actual Google PageSpeed score doesn’t impact your rankings per se, an extremely slow site will. Developers can use the information from the PageSpeed score to enhance your website load times.  LeadsNearby uses a variety of tools and tactics to improve website performance, including server optimization, caching, and image compression.  Rest assured, we always have an eye on website performance and are regularly working to improve in this area.

Call LeadsNearby at (919) 758-8420 if you have any questions about your website’s performance or any testing tools and their results. We are standing by to help you with your  professional marketing solutions.

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