News and insights • Posted on 21 September 2023

Pagespeed Insights: How to improve page speed

In the digital age, where patience is scarce and attention spans are fleeting, page speed has emerged as a critical factor for the success of any website. Slow-loading pages not only frustrate visitors but also harm your search engine rankings and conversion rates. This is where Google's Pagespeed Insights comes into play – a tool designed to evaluate and provide recommendations for optimising your website's page speed.

Here, we explore what Pagespeed Insights is, why it matters, and how you can use it to improve page speed.

What is Google Pagespeed Insights?

Pagespeed Insights is a free tool developed by Google that assesses the performance of a web page on both mobile and desktop devices. It generates a performance score and offers recommendations to help website owners and developers enhance their page speed. One question we’re often asked is “is Google Pagespeed Insights accurate?” and the short answer is yes - these days it’s very accurate and reliable, taking into account many different factors. These include server response times, render-blocking resources, image optimisation, and more.

Why does page speed matter?

User experience: A fast-loading website provides a better user experience. Visitors are more likely to stay on your site, engage with your content, and convert into customers if they don't have to wait for pages to load.

SEO benefits: Google considers page speed as one of its ranking factors. Faster-loading pages are more likely to rank higher in search engine results, leading to increased organic traffic.

Conversion rates: Slow websites often lead to high bounce rates and low conversion rates. Improving page speed can positively impact your website's conversion metrics.

Mobile friendliness: With the rise of mobile internet usage, a fast-loading mobile version of your website is essential. Mobile users are even less patient than desktop users when it comes to slow-loading pages.

How to improve page load speed

Now we understand why page speed is crucial, let's dive into practical steps to improve it using Pagespeed Insights:

1. Run a Pagespeed Insights test

Start by visiting the Pagespeed Insights website and entering your website's URL. The tool will analyse your site's performance and provide a score for both mobile and desktop versions. This Google Pagespeed Insights score serves as a baseline for your improvements.

2. Optimise images

Images are often the largest files on a web page. Compress and resize images to reduce their file size while maintaining acceptable quality. Use modern image formats like WebP, which offers smaller, richer images that make the web faster.

3. Minimise server response time

Reduce server response times by optimising your server configuration, using a content delivery network (CDN), and employing efficient caching mechanisms.

4. Eliminate render-blocking resources

Minimise the use of render-blocking JavaScript and CSS resources. You can achieve this by deferring JavaScript loading, optimising CSS delivery, and using async and defer attributes.

5. Enable browser caching

Leverage browser caching to store static resources locally on visitors' devices. This reduces the need to fetch these resources from the server each time a user visits your site.

6. Prioritise above-the-fold content

Ensure that critical above-the-fold content loads quickly. This keeps users engaged while the rest of the page loads in the background.

7. Compress and minify files

Enable gzip or Brotli compression on your server to reduce the size of text-based files like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Also, minify these files to remove unnecessary characters.

8. Reduce redirects

Minimise the use of redirects as they add extra HTTP requests and increase page load times. Ensure that your website's URLs are clean and efficient.

9. Leverage browser caching

Set appropriate expiration dates for cached resources to reduce server load and improve page speed for returning visitors.

10. Monitor and iterate

Regularly run Pagespeed Insights tests and monitor your website's performance. Technology evolves, and what works today may not be optimal tomorrow. Continuously strive to improve your website's speed.

Page speed is no longer just a performance metric; it's a crucial component of user experience and SEO. By utilising Google's Pagespeed Insights tool and following the optimisation tips mentioned above, you can enhance your website's performance, please your visitors, and boost your online success - take a look at how we did this on our old website. In today's digital world, every millisecond counts – make sure your website is up to speed!

Get in touch for help on improving your website’s page speed, or sign up to our newsletter for more valuable insights.

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Written by Ewan Burkinshaw

Digital marketing manager Ewan is behind all SEO strategy and works tirelessly to help clients achieve significant organic growth.

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