Google PageSpeed Insights Scores, Are They Really That Important?
Google PageSpeed Insights is based on a score of 100, so many people try their best to hit that goal with SEO content and perfect web design. However, this “search engine optimization technique” doesn’t guarantee higher rankings because the “out of 100” number doesn’t matter.
The algorithms that Google operates with definitely take the speed of your site into account. The search engine doesn’t try to hide that, but it doesn’t mean that this site speed affects your optimized content.
As of May 28, 2020 certain user statistics are partially responsible for your PageSpeed Insights. Labelled as “core web vitals” these statistics range from the loading times on your pages to how interactive your website is. Basically, it’s the user experience.
While that’s obviously important, how much this impacts your Insights doesn’t detract from other website necessities. To be more specific, the quality of your content will always be the biggest factor of ranking.
Ideally, how easy your website is to use and the content available should both be excellent because that’s the overall goal. However, don’t sacrifice either one to make your website faster because that won’t affect the search engine optimization algorithm enough to make it worth it.
Realistically, it’s all a competition and, like being chased by a bear in the woods, you only have to be faster than who you’re with. As long as your site functions better than your competitors, place your attention on information and ease of use for the masses.
Metrics are vital information for any company trying to push higher on a ranking, but Google does its best to keep these things a secret. While it’s known that there are hundreds of statistics that account for said algorithm, only some of them are known for sure with others speculation.
With that being said, there are a handful of factors that make a huge difference for users to your website. Because of that, these have the potential to increase your ranking at a much higher rate than the speed of your page.
Time elapsed on your page is a big deal, because it’s how long the average user spent on your site. This takes into account the time from when a user enters your site to the second they leave, or it stops counting when they haven’t done anything for half an hour.
One way to increase this duration is by improving your content. Short paragraphs and visuals are great ways to keep people reading. When it comes to retaining attention, the golden number to shoot for is around 3 minutes.
This one depends largely on your desired results, because bouncing in terms of metrics means a session on one page of your site. Basically, you want the number higher if you only have one page but multi-page websites want to score lower.
If you need to accomplish the latter, try using links and images to promote other pages on your site. Some users respond well to being guided to other areas, so give them a nudge. Of course, well-written and easy-to-digest content is what really makes the difference.
An important metric is how many pages a user navigates to during each session. Obviously, you want this number as high as possible because it means users want to follow your website’s rabbit hole. Like bouncing, use links and formatting to help this improve.
This one depends on your website’s objective, which could be for the user to buy something or fill out a form. Higher conversion rate means more interaction, so you want to design your website to encourage the objective to be met. Creating accessibility is key as well as links or easy comprehension. Once again, the most important thing is content and formatting with the small details like speed and looks taking a backseat.
While you want your site to be faster than other competitors, the big fish that Google’s algorithm takes into account is content. After that is user experience, followed by the little details like loading times. Focus on engaging your users and providing good information first.
At the end of the day, the only way to get a perfect 100 on PageSpeed Insights would be to take away from your users. You’d have to remove anything that would slow down your loading times and have a bland page that might bore users.
Ultimately, this might lead to less user traffic because it would mean fewer or no links, buttons, gifs, or visuals of any kind. Even some formatting would have to go, because the header can affect speed.
Since your SEO is dependent on user engagement and duration, you’d basically be sacrificing search engine optimization for a higher score on PageSpeed Insights. The former is much more important than the latter.
This doesn’t mean to ignore the Insights, because it’s still a great way to know what can slow down your site’s loading times. While many things are important to your SEO, you might not be aware of some factors that can be cut.
Just treat the PageSpeed Insights as guidelines to keep in mind rather than gospel to follow, because your goal is content and user experience first. Loading speeds are a minor consideration that only matter if you’re slower than your competition.
The most important take-away here is not to rely solely on PageSpeed Insights as a judgement of your website. User interaction, quality engagement, hitting objectives, and content should all come first.