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Google speed update and what it means for your website!

Google Page Speed
Sophie Marston
13th December 2018

In case you haven’t heard, Google now uses mobile page speed as a ranking factor in their mobile search results. Meaning it is more important than ever to ensure that your websites speed is optimised for desktop and mobile.

As we all know Google likes to change things up now and then so as well as this new ranking algorithm Google has also updated the tools that they use to test the speed of a website.

Google Pagespeed Insights (PSI) now uses Lighthouse as its analysis engine.

You may have recently noticed a drop in your websites mobile page speed, this is because Lighthouse prioritises different factors and metrics to the old PSI. The weighting behind each factor has also altered with more focus now being put on the images on your website.

There are 3 main issues that you might see pop up on your next mobile page speed report:

“Eliminate render-blocking resources”

Although render blocking resources has always been included Lighthouse is putting more weight behind this aspect than ever before. This can of course be eliminated at varying levels of complexity depending on how your website is built and whether it uses inline scripts.

“Defer offscreen images”

Images that are shown below the fold or are a part of a carousel are now affecting the speed ranking. To fix this the images need to be set up so that they load in deferred or as the user scrolls down to them. Something you can do to improve your page sped right away is to cut down on the number of images that you have in your carousel, we would also recommend having no more than 5 images each page.

“Serve images in next-gen formats”

Google now prefers image formats that have superior compression and quality characteristics such as WebP, JPEG 2000 or JPEG XR compared to their older JPEG and PNG counterparts. To stop this issue appearing on your mobile page speed report and suggestions you will need to update all of the images on your website with the suggested formats. Going forward try to save your images in these formats when possible.

As with all of Googles suggestions for improvements they vary in difficulty and urgency to fix. You can check your websites mobile page speed and review Googles suggestions for your own website on Lighthouse here.

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