With the impending Page Experience Update for June 2021 announced by Google in November 2020, web performance optimization (WPO) is a topic that becomes even more important for SEO.
The loading speed of a site has always been an important ranking factor.
If SEO consultants dedicate a good part of their technical audits to analyze the performance of sites, it’s because there are several benefits.
There are several advantages for both the user and the SEO that can justify investing in web performance optimization and improving your loading speed. Among them, we can name:
The Page Speed Insights speed loading and Web Core Vitals report is a speed auditing tool developed by Google, and is one of the most used and most controversial. We will start by detailing the different parts of the report.
At the top of the report, a score summarizing the performance of the page is provided. This score is determined by running Lighthouse to collect and analyze lab data on the page.
The most important thing is not to obsess with this score, but rather to use it as an indicator of progress over time, as a compass to measure the impact of each action implemented in the WPO strategy.
Field data will not always be available in all reports.
It comes from the Chrome Index Experience Report, and provides user experience metrics at the URL level known by Google’s crawlers. These are averages of data collected over the last 28 days on visitors to your site.
This data is the closest to reality and will help us understand how users interact with your site.
This data comes from Google’s servers and is a reflection of how Google interacts with your site.
Page Speed Insights crawls the page with Lighthouse, which simulates how a mobile device or computer loads the page. Performance statistics are then calculated for that page (“First Contentful Paint” and “Time To interactive,” for example), including Web Core Vitals.
Before looking at each opportunity in detail, it is better to take a step back and have a general view of things to move forward more quickly.
Indeed, some aspects can be addressed simultaneously. For example, your report may show optimizations such as “Deliver images in next generation formats” and “Encode images efficiently” separately. However, these things can be corrected at the same time.
The same logic applies to tips like “Remove unused CSS resources” and “Eliminate resources that block rendering”. It is very likely that unused CSS resources are blocking rendering.
In the event that one has these four opportunities, it would be appropriate to take a step back and work on the general aspects: images and CSS.
Several metrics are analyzed in the Page Speed Insights report that will give us insight into the health of a website’s speed.
The Google Page Speed Insight report focuses a lot on the Web Core Vitals. Here we will describe them very simply. If you need more detailed explanations, check this article.
Loading speed and web performance have always been a ranking factor for search engines. However, it is important to note that this is a secondary ranking factor, and that it is always a priority to solve the SEO fundamentals before focusing on improving Core Web Vitals or loading speed.
All of these metrics can be worked on to validate the Web Core Vitals without significantly changing the way your site works or looks.
We will need to find the cause of the load slowdown or shift in elements in order to make the correct adjustments. Do not hesitate to contact us for a dedicated Web Core Vitals audit!