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The Deal with Google PageSpeed Insights

 Every responsible and forward-thinking website owner knows that page speed is, in fact, a big deal

Several strategies are normally put into play to ensure this is achieved. 

Some may recommend installing plugins or using WP Rocket to get WordPress pages moving faster. 

And while we all agree that this is important to do, have you ever asked yourself exactly what advantages you’re gaining?

The Reputation of Google’s Page Speed Insights

Google PageSpeed Insights has been all the rage for quite some time now. 

Once you use it and run your website’s URL, you’ll get your site’s analysis results.

 This will include Google’s recommendations on what you can do or improve to gain your speed goals. 

You’ll also be given a grade that basically represents your site’s performance. 

However, as well-meaning as this tool is, it’s not exactly simple or easy to grasp or interpret the data you’re presented.

Can you really understand why you’re given such a mediocre score? What about the recommendations, do you even know for sure that it’ll fix all your site’s issues? Or at the very least, do you even know what those dreadfully colored markings mean?

Page Speed - Infintech Designs

Regardless if you do have a full understanding of what they all mean and you end up adding a caching plugin, you’ll be surprised to see that your Google PageSpeed grade barely improved. 

So you go through all the suggestions and do them to the best of your abilities and hope that fixes your score. 

It may even come to the point that you’ll start convincing yourself that WP Rocket is not doing what it’s supposed to since your grade has barely improved.

Guess what? Your grade doesn’t matter. Plain and simply speaking, it just does not make any significant impact to how your site is really performing.

That doesn’t make much sense, but, here’s the real deal: 

It’s All About the Speed

 WP Rocket’s main goal is to make your site run faster. 

This means a faster loading time for your web pages and the perceived performance that is defined by how a user feels when using your site. 

These are integral metrics that trumps all and are key in SEO and overall user experience. 

But when crawlers—particularly the Google bot does a sweep of your site, it will only focus on your site’s speed and won’t recognize or consider your grade. 

The irony is your site’s speed isn’t even considered or measured by Google PageSpeed.

Don’t Waste Your Time Gunning for a Target Grade

 Let’s make this simple. If you dream and gun for a perfect (or near-perfect) grade, you’ll go insane in the process. 

There is not a single website that has that. In fact, it’s quite impossible to do.

 Just because someone or something holds a high grade does not necessarily mean they got it all together. Receiving a particular grade does not necessarily reflect on how well your site loads or performs. It’s simply just not a good gauge for that.

If you see a recommendation that let’s say tells you add expire headers to something that your site doesn’t host is not only impossible, but is also impractical. 

Take every suggestion you see from Google PageSpeed with a grain of salt. You’ll need to learn to differentiate what is practical from what is unrealistic.

Render Blocking Resources Should be Removed

One of the things you’ll probably see from your Google PageSpeed recommendation list is to Eliminate Render Blocking Resources. This can refer to any or both render-blocking resources by CSS and JavaScript.

Ideally, your performance will benefit the most if your JS files are loaded in the site’s footer. 

Another option is to make sure that it’s asynchronous to ensure asset downloading will not be blocked to prevent your site and its pages from lagging or dragging load performance.

 A good way for you to gauge your site’s load time and performance is to explore several tools and compare for results and data.

Below are some examples of sites that hold the same load time, but with a noticeably different score from Google PageSpeed. 

We’ll be demonstrating the comparison using both Google PageSpeed and Pingdom:

 Antica Trattorial Portico

Pingdom Test:

  • Performance Grade: 82
  • Page Size: 2.6 mb
  • Load Time: 649 ms
  • Requests: 53

Antica page speed on pingdom - Infintech Designs

PageSpeed for desktop:

  • Performance Grade: 98
  • Loading time: 649 ms

Antica page speed Google mobile - Infintech Designs

PageSpeed for mobile:

  • Performance Grade: 42
  • Loading time: 649 ms

Pure Planet Recycling

Pingdom Test:

  • Performance Grade: 80
  • Page Size: 560.4 kb
  • Load Time: 881 ms
  • Requests: 49

PageSpeed for desktop:

  • Performance Grade: 89
  • Loading time: 881 ms

PageSpeed for mobile:

  • Performance Grade: 37
  • Loading time: 881 ms

Cheeky Punter

Pingdom Test:

  • Performance Grade: 73
  • Page Size: 565 kb
  • Load Time: 1.72 s
  • Requests: 69 

PageSpeed for desktop:

  • Performance Grade: 81
  • Loading time: 461 msCheeky Punter Google page speed - Infintech Designs

PageSpeed for mobile:

  • Performance Grade: 30
  • Loading time: 461 ms

 Among the three examples, you can easily see that their PageSpeed results have very low scores when run through PageSpeed on mobile.

 Let’s try another example. But this time, we’ll show you a website result that gained a wonderful score from PageSpeed but is in fact much slower than the 3 previous examples.

Pingdom Test:

  • Performance Grade: 87
  • Page Size: 431.5 kb
  • Load Time: 2.70 s
  • Requests: 21

PageSpeed for desktop:

  • Performance Grade: 99
  • Loading time: 2.70 s

PageSpeed for mobile:

  • Performance Grade: 87
  • Loading time: 2.70 s

Mind-blowing, right? How can something score so high but actually perform so poorly? This is exactly what we’ve been pointing out for the whole post. 

It’s just a number and it’s really not a clear indicator or should be a reason for you to obsess over scores vs. performance

What’s important is for you to forget about the grade and focus all your attention and energy to making sure your website loads and runs faster not just for you, but also for optimum user perception.

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