Understanding Insights Metrics


When discussing a website’s performance with search engines and the customer’s usability, page speed is an essential factor. Conversion or making a purchase will be affected by the page speed as well. To optimize your page speed, there needs to be an understanding of page speed metrics, which is often a complex task. The various moving pieces that affect your website’s page speed determine if your website is fast or slow. To better understand your page speed, let’s dive into the metrics behind it.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)


One of the most crucial metrics surrounding page speed would be the Largest Contentful Paint. The LCP measures the amount of time spent populating and looking at the most significant images or text blocks on your browser. The content that appears on your browser without scrolling is what is known as the page’s fold. Google determines the metric of LCP by looking at the page’s fold, so to optimize Google’s analysis, it is encouraged to have the LArgest Contentful Paint equal 2.5 seconds or less. This, in turn, provides an ideal user experience.

First Contentful Paint (FCP)


First Paint refers to the first time ANYTHING is rendered on your browser. Often, this is a header image or simply a background color on the page. These backgrounds and colors can trigger immediately, but your user is still sitting there waiting for your page to load. First Contentful Paint refers to the first viable content on your page, such as text or images. Essentially, FCP is the first time something shows up that your customer can use or gain information from. One issue that’s particularly important for FCP is font load time, so make sure to speed up your font loads if this is an issue for you.

Time To Interactive (TTI)


Time To Interactive takes FCP to the next level. To define TTI would be the time it takes for a website to become fully interactive. “Interactive” can be subjective when it comes to contentful SEO and Page Speed. However, there are three criteria:

⦁ Passing the FCP meaning the web page provides content that is relevant and useful.
⦁ In regards to the most visible page elements, there is a registration of event handlers.
⦁ User interactions are within 50 milliseconds which is a fast responding page.

These elements mean there are few issues when a user comes to your web page and can easily navigate through. One improvement that can have a significant effect on TTI is removing unnecessary JavaScript work.


Speed Index


Google defines Speed Index as how quickly the contents of your page becomes visible, usually measured in seconds. Again, this metric only takes into account the information that is displayed above the fold. As a consequence, the Speed Index can be dependent on viewport size. Speed Index doesn’t have page speed limits; instead, the lower the number, the better. Google encourages users to optimize their pages to load faster – use fewer big images, and simplify the code.

Total Blocking Time


To use Total Blocking Time includes an allotted amount of time a web page is blocked. This is commonly used to prevent mouse, keyboard, or screen inputs, also known as ‘user input responsiveness.’ If a task runs for more than 50 milliseconds, also known as a Long Task, the main thread will be considered blocked. If the task lasts too long, you run the risk of the user determining your web page lags and is slow. JavaScript may be the culprit for Long Tasks running. If you add only the portion of blocking for Long Tasks between First Contentful Paint and Time to Interactive, the sum is calculated this way.


Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)


This metric refers to when a layout shift occurs, such as a visible element on the page moving or shifting suddenly. For example, have you ever been reading an article when suddenly the text moves? Or you’re about to click a link, and there’s a shift, and you click a different link instead? These experiences are not only annoying, but they can cause real damage. The culprit is usually an image or video with odd dimensions, fonts that render different sizes, or a third-party ad resizing itself. The Cumulative Layout Shift metric helps you address this problem by measuring how often this occurs for your users.

Additional Factors


Some additional page speed metrics may make a difference. For example, the Time to First Byte is defined as requesting information from the server and sending that requested information. Google does place a high amount of value in these speed metrics, so improving this will improve your search rankings. Another factor is the Number of HTTP Requests, which refers to the number of files the page needs to request to load. As the page loads, it sends HTTP requests to the server. These requests basically ask for more information from the webpage, and each file has its appeal and is made sequentially. The more files and content that you need to pull, the more HTTP requests are sent. The goal is to have a small number of HTTP requests. The fewer the requests, the sooner your page will load all the way, which improves your metrics all around.


Conclusion


Something that may seem simple, like improving page speed, can become complex because there are so many data points involved with measuring speed. It’s a critical factor in ranking your web page higher on search engines – if your website isn’t on par with the top 10 organic websites, you won’t rank on the first page. It’s important to understand these Page Speed Insight metrics to determine where you may need some help. The top things you can do to improve speed now are:

⦁ Use browser caching – This works by “remembering” what was previously loaded so that it doesn’t have to reload them upon every single visit.
⦁ Compress your images – the most significant cause of slow pages and low scores is large images.
⦁ Minify your HTML – This involves fixing code that includes shortening or completely removing unused code when possible. Of course, fixing formatting is essential as well.
⦁ Implement Accelerated Mobile Pages – Having your mobile pages load in no time is the result of AMP. AMP makes an open format that will eliminate content found to be unnecessary.

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