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Here’s what you need to know about Google’s Lighthouse update

If you do business online, then it is critical that you stay up to speed on any changes that Google makes to any of their tools. As a top web development company, we wanted to share our thoughts about the new update to their PageSpeed Insights tool. Here is what you need to know about Google’s Lighthouse update.

What is the PageSpeed Insights tool?

In case you aren’t up to speed on all things Google, the PageSpeed tools were designed to help users optimize a website’s performance. Introduced in 2010, there are four tools; PageSpeed Insights, PageSpeed Service, PageSpeed Module, and PageSpeed Chrome DevTools.

These tools were built around Google’s Web Performance Best Practices and work to identify aspects that are not in compliance with those practices and provided an automated method to adjust some of those aspects.

What PageSpeed Insights does specifically is to identify performance best practices on any website. It then provides optimization suggestions along with more general, overall concepts for increasing site speed. As the tool is Chrome-based, it can be accessed directly from any web browser.

Grading takes place on a scale from 1 to 100 and then optimizations are broken out into categories based on priority.

Speed is a critical component to the overall ability of your website to perform and convert. Data has shown that up to 79% of customers who are not satisfied with a website’s performance are less likely to buy from them again and if your website takes longer than three seconds to loan you could lose up to 50% of your visitor traffic.

What is Lighthouse?

Lighthouse is an open-source tool created to improve the quality of a website’s pages. This tool will now act as the analysis engine for PageSpeed Insights and will also incorporate field data from the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX) into the tool.

What will the change mean for you?

This change is all positive for the end user. To start, the desktop interface has improved. While not a massive overhaul, the layout and information provided are much easier to digest.

With the new tools, there are different category breakdowns such as:

  • Field Data – By making use of the Chrome User Experience report it will show both the Fist Input Delay and First Contentful Paint.
  • Lab Data – The lab data analyzes and plots metrics including screenshots to show how different data is viewed such as Speed Index and Time to Interactive.
  • Opportunities – This is something non-developers can easily understand as it shows the opportunities for improvement on a specific page and how much problem areas are slowing down a page.
  • Diagnostics – The diagnostics provide reports on application performance for those pages using things such as caching or JavaScript.
  • Audit – This section shows how well the page performed for specific audits of things like CSS or JavaScript.

What this means specifically is it is now easier to find quick ways to improve the page speed of your site. With the importance speed plays in both customer satisfaction and conversation rate, any tool, especially a free one, that allows you to quickly and easily identify problem areas along with potential solutions is extremely valuable.

According to a study from Backlinko that analyzed over one million search engine results pages on Google it was shown how page load time directly relates to bounce rate.

When page load time goes from:

  • 1 second to 3 seconds – the probability of bouncing increases by 32%
  • 1 second to 5 seconds – the probability of bouncing increases by 90%
  • 1 second to 6 seconds – the probability of bouncing increases by 106%
  • 1 second to 10 seconds – the probability of bouncing increases by 123%

Keep in mind, what that means if your page load time takes 10 seconds than whatever your existing bounce rate is will be expected to increase by 123% so while you will keep some traffic there will be a significant increase in those leaving.

The bottom line

The bottom line is that what you need to know about Google’s Lighthouse update is that they have improved upon an already useful free tool. Every business that operates online should have their web developer make use of PageSpeed Insights to make improvements, no matter how small, and improve page speed. After all, speed kills but online it is slow speed which is the Grim Reaper for your conversions.


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