Here’s a breakdown of Google’s PageSpeed Insight Rules and best practice advice on optimizing web pages for greater speed performance. Because the need for speed never stops.
If you’ve looked at Google’s PageSpeed Insights within the last month, you’ll have noticed that where you used to receive a simple optimization score, your scores are now divided by platform and split into two scores, “Page Speed” and “Optimization.”
The changes were made as a result of the new Speed Update launched July 9, 2018. Now, instead of relying on lab data, Google uses field data to measure site speed. Google is now able to determine how fast your average user finds your site.
That means that even if your website is lightning-fast on your end, visitors with older smartphones might experience delays — which could impact your speed score, and possibly your website’s ranking. If you haven’t already, it’s time to double down on speed optimization.
Below you will find Google’s nine PageSpeed Insight Rules, best-practice advice, and some advanced steps you can take to optimize your site speed even more.
1. Avoid landing page redirects
Redirects delay page rendering and slow down your mobile site experience.
Create a responsive website with no more than one redirect from a given URL to the final landing page.
2. Enable compression
Gzip all compressible content. You can find sample configuration files for most servers through the HTML5 Boilerplate project.
Tip: Compression is great, but the best-optimized resource is a resource not sent. Review your site resources periodically and eliminate unnecessary data before compression to guarantee the best results.
3. Improve server response time
Google recommendation: server response time should always be below 200ms.
4. Leverage browser caching
Google recommends a minimum cache time of one week and up to one year for static assets.
The rule of thumb is that mutable (i.e., likely to change) resources should be cached for a very short time, whereas immutable (i.e., static) resources should be cached indefinitely to avoid revalidation.
Google recommendation: no redundant data within your web assets (e.g., comments or space symbols in HTML code, repeated styles in CSS or unnecessary image metadata).
6. Optimize images
Images account for an average of 60 percent of your web page size, and large images can slow your site to a crawl.
Google recommendation: Make sure your website and images are responsive. Use relative sizes for images, use the picture element when you want to specify different images depending on device characteristics, and use a srcset attribute and the x descriptor in the img element to inform browsers when to use specific images.
7. Optimize CSS delivery
A page needs to process CSS before it can be rendered. When your CSS is bloated with render-blocking external stylesheets, this process often requires multiple roundtrips which will delay the time to first render.
Google recommends inlining small CSS directly into the HTML document to eliminate small external CSS resources.
8. Prioritize visible content
Google recommends reducing the size of above-the-fold content to no more than 14kB (compressed).
The standards for what constitutes a fast, optimized site are increasing — and you can’t afford to become complacent. Improving speed, like SEO as a whole, is a process, and if you don’t keep tweaking and improving, you risk being left behind.
For details on each of the tactics above, see the full article (link below).
PS. According to real-life data, site speed and SEO position are 97% correlated. So you are either fast or invisible.