How to Improve Page Load Times & Website Speed Using Google Lighthouse?
Google Lighthouse offers web developers the chance to analyse page speeds across their website in order to help improve SEO and reduce bounce rates. But why do you need to and what is so important about website speed? Research has shown that the bounce rate of any webpage increases as page loading times increase. According to Think Google, the probability of a bounce increases by 90% when page load times of one second are compared with five seconds. In fact, Google itself has established benchmarks that indicate the average Time to First Byte should be 1.5 seconds or faster.
In this feature, we take a look at the importance of page load times and how you can improve these using Google Lighthouse.
Why is Page Speed So Important?
The loading speed of your website is one of the most important factors that influence the customer experience of your online business. Not only that but Google has indicated that site speed is an important factor in their SERP algorithms.
According to research compiled by Unbounce, websites that load within five seconds experience a 70% increase in the length of an average session (compared to those that load in 19 seconds). Not only that, but data published by Akamai shows that for every 100-milisecond delay in loading time, conversion rates drop by as much as 7%. Time is money!
The simple fact is, websites that load slowly have a higher bounce rate (where users abandon a visit without navigating beyond a single page) and can seriously affect how well you rank in search engines like Google.
So, it’s a given that page speed is a vital component of the success of your website’s performance but what can you do about it?
Enter ‘Google Lighthouse’…
What is Google Lighthouse?
Lighthouse is an open-source tool developed by Google that allows users to run a series of audit reports against any pubic web page or authenticated pages within your account.
As with all Google DevTools, the tool is easy to access and offers cross functionality with all of Google’s other web development apps.
How to Improve Website Speed Using Google Lighthouse
The functionality of Google Lighthouse can be implemented using shell scripts, as a node module or, more commonly, as part of Google’s ChromeDev tool platform.
If you don’t already have Google Chrome for Desktop installed then it is recommended that you do so. Once installed, simply head to the URL you want to analyse and:
- Select Google Settings
- Select ‘More Tools’
- Select ‘Developer Tools’
- Select the ‘Audits’ tab
Once you have opened the ‘Audits’ tab, you can select to run a report on either the mobile or desktop version of the URL and from up to five different analytical reports:
- Progressive Web App
- Best Practices
You can also choose whether to apply simulated (or applied) throttling through 3G.
Once you run the audit, results are returned in a useful series of actionable performance metrics accompanied by diagnostics. These recommendations come with estimated potential savings on page load times along with reference documentation with full details of how to fix the identified issues.
In addition to the automated checks run by Google Lighthouse, the audit also produces a handy list of manual checks that should be performed to ensure optimum performance of your URLs.
Opace and Website Speed Optimisation
Opace is a specialist digital media agency that understands the importance of speed and page load times in web design and SEO. Offering a range of services that focus on optimising both the performance and content of your online business, we put user experience and SEO at the forefront of our design strategy.