PageSpeed Insights just got smarter, and it’s now using real-world data for even more in-depth suggestions. Could this be one of the clearest mirrors for developers to see themselves and their creations through the ever wandering-eyes of Google?
The tool provides information about how well a page performs and adheres to a set of best practices. Since optimization will be key to the new ranking system Google is rolling out, having a high score is vital for a website to have a real chance to organic traffic.
Before the update, the generated recommendations were given without any context about how fast a page was actually performing on an actual browser. That made it a bit difficult for developers to know when to apply optimizations generated by PageSpeed Insights since they had no benchmarking.
However, Google recently announced that PageSpeed Insights will be using data from the Chrome User Experience Report to provide much more detailed recommendations and optimizations. This means that the reports will no longer be mere suggestions, but will be accompanied by meaningful performance figures to compare and to create a benchmarking system for the website.
According to Google, the PSI report now has several different elements:
- The Speed score categorizes a page as being Fast, Average, or Slow. This is determined by looking at the median value of two metrics: First Contentful Paint (FCP) and DOM Content Loaded (DCL). If both metrics are in the top one-third of their category, the page is considered fast.
- The Optimization score categorizes a page as being Good, Medium, or Low by estimating its performance headroom. The calculation assumes that a developer wants to keep the same appearance and functionality of the page.
- The Page Load Distributions section presents how this page’s FCP and DCL events are distributed in the data set. These events are categorized as Fast (top third), Average (middle third), and Slow (bottom third) by comparing to all events in the Chrome User Experience Report.
- The Page Stats section describes the round trips required to load the page’s render-blocking resources, the total bytes used by the page, and how it compares to the median number of round trips and bytes used in the dataset. It can indicate if the page might be faster if the developer modifies the appearance and functionality of the page.
- Optimization Suggestions is a list of best practices that could be applied to this page. If the page is fast, these suggestions are hidden by default, as the page is already in the top third of all pages in the data set.