Everything You Need to Know About Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool

With billions of web pages on the internet, there is a cut-throat competition to attract visitor’s attention and get more traffic. Several factors have a direct impact on the traffic of a particular webpage. The faster a webpage loads, the chances of it getting more visitors increase, and it is also one of the parameters used by Google for ranking web pages Search Results. Search Engine Optimization or SEO are techniques to improve your PageRank on Google and get more visitors. 


Google’s PageSpeed Insights(PSI) tool gives an analysis of how a webpage performs on desktop and mobile devices. It also gives suggestions on how that page can be improved.

This tool provides both lab results as well as field results for a page. Lab results are useful for debugging, but they are obtained in a controlled environment, not in a real-world environment. Field data provides data from real-world experiences but provides limited metrics. 


Nobody likes to have a slow-loading website, as people move to other websites that will provide the information they are looking for. Google keeps a watch on how fast or slow a website is to use this parameter in its PageRank algorithm. 


Let’s find out what exactly Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool is and how you can use it to your advantage. 


What is Page Speed?


Page Speed is defined by Google in two ways:


  1. How fast does the content on the home page appear?
  2. How long does it take the browser to fully load the page?


How fast a webpage will load depends on various factors, including the domain’s web hosting service, the user’s internet speed, and even cache clearance. Thus, overall speed is not entirely in the hands of the website owner. However, the web owner can optimize elements like JavaScript, images, videos, and more. By trying to optimize your web page speed, you indicate to Google that you want to provide a high-quality experience to your site visitors. 


What is Google’s PageSpeed Insights (PSI)?


PageSpeed Insights is a free performance tool provided by Google that analyzes a particular webpage and provides scores for page speed, both for mobile and desktop versions. It also identifies elements that can be improved upon to make the page load faster. Other tools are also available for webmasters, but PSI is by far the best tool for SEO professionals.


PSI score is a high-level performance overview but not an official ranking factor of Google. However, some of the metrics of PSI that are used to calculate the score, like Core Web Vitals, are a part of Google’s ranking algorithm. Thus, PSI scores give a good indication of whether a webpage matches Google’s performance standards. 


This means that page speed optimization should be a part of your Search Engine Optimization strategy. Statistics reveal that just a 1 to 5-second delay increases the probability of visitors leaving the page by 90%, and conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with every additional second of delay. 


Using the PSI Tool


To use the tool, you have to enter the URL of the page in the toolbar, click on Analyze, and the tool will start scanning the webpage. Firstly, it will gather the page’s “Field Data” or the performance data contained in Chrome User Experience Report(CrUX). Next, it will analyze your page’s performance via the Lighthouse API. This is done in a simulated and controlled environment and is referred to as “Lab Data.” 


Understanding the PSI Report


Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool will generate a detailed report, including field data, lab data, diagnostics, passed audits, and opportunities. The report makes use of color coding to indicate areas that are doing well, need improvement or are underperforming.


  • Green = Good
  • Yellow = Needs Improvement
  • Red = Poor


Let’s have a look at each area of the report.


Field Data


This breaks down the page’s performance into four primary metrics, which capture different aspects of speed and load time.


  • First Contentful Paint (FCP): It indicates the time it takes for the first text or image asset to load
  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): It indicates the time it takes for the largest text or image asset to load
  • First Input Delay (FID): It indicates the time it takes for the browser to respond to a user’s first interaction
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): It measures any movement of the page in the viewport

Except for CLS, all other metrics are measured in milliseconds or seconds. CLS is calculated via a specialized formula, and a CLS score below 0.1 is considered good, whereas a score above 0.25 is considered poor. Field data included in the report is of the previous 28 days and is always presented with accompanying distribution bars. This is done because Field Data comprises aggregated data from the CrUX report, and the same webpage will never perform exactly the same for all visitors. 


Lab Data


PSI Lab Data includes synthetic data from the Lighthouse API, which measures FCP, LCP, CLS, and three other metrics.



Speed Index: The time is taken by the content to visually appear during page load.


Time To Interactive: Time taken by the page to become fully interactive.


Total Blocking Time: The sum of the time between FCP and full interactivity.


There will be no bars like the Field Data but only time stamps and results. 


Opportunities & Diagnostics


This section provides recommendations for improving page speed and the estimated time savings in implementing the recommendations. You have to click on the drop-down arrow next to any given Opportunity in the report. 


The Diagnostics section of the report mentions the best practices that the webpage does not appear to be following. Select the drop-down arrow to get more details about the best practice and which particular part of the webpage is related to that issue. 


Passed Audits


This lists those segments on which the webpage is performing well. The longer the list of passed audits, the better it is for the web page. 




Final Thoughts…


Google PageSpeed Insights is a useful tool to improve your website’s overall performance. However, wasting a lot of time on achieving a 100/100 score is not worth it. This will take your attention away from other important factors which enable a web page to get more visitors. However, You can make use of the tool to find out areas that are not aligned with best practices and to know the recommendations provided by Google. Everything put together will improve your search result’s rankings, which ultimately means more leads and conversions!

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