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Google PageSpeed Insights vs. Lighthouse: The difference

Posted on
February 20, 2023
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It's known that your site performance impacts your SEO. Page speed plays a huge role in user experience (UX) and search rankings.

To help website owners and digital marketers optimize their sites effectively, there are two Google tools that can help with the process: PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse.

These tools provide valuable insights into websites and offer actionable recommendations for improving various performance factors. Understanding the differences between Google PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse is essential in using their full potential for SEO success.

What is page speed?

Page speed refers to the time it takes for a web page to fully load and become visible to the user.

In website management, page speed is a key element for website and SEO success. Search engine crawlers view page speed as an important factor when evaluating websites in search results.

Why page speed is important

UX

A fast-loading website provides a seamless UX, which helps reduces bounce rates and increases overall engagement. These days, web visitors have become increasingly impatient, and they expect websites to load quickly. If a page takes too long to load, users are likely to abandon it and browse other sources, which can impact conversion rates.

Search engine crawling

Web crawlers have limited time and resources allocated for crawling websites. Slow-loading pages consume more of these resources, which can result in incomplete indexing or delayed crawling of other important pages. Websites that offer fast page speed are more likely to be thoroughly crawled, indexed, and even ranked.

Ranking factor

Search engines tend to favor websites with faster page speeds. In most cases, websites that load fast have a higher chance of getting crawled, indexed, and ranked.

What is Google PageSpeed Insights?

Google PageSpeed Insights is a website performance tool developed by Google. It evaluates the content of website pages and then generates a score that ranges from 0 to 100 (the higher the score, the better).

PageSpeed Insights evaluates both mobile and desktop versions of a website, and provides detailed reports on how you can better your site's load times.

The tool measures several metrics, including server response time, render-blocking resources, image optimization, and caching. It also assesses items such as CSS and JavaScript delivery, HTML structure, and compression techniques.

Google PageSpeed Insights provides actionable suggestions to further optimize the website and its UX.

How to use Google PageSpeed Insights

Visit the Google PageSpeed Insights website at https://pagespeed.web.dev/ and then enter the website URL you want analyzed. When you click on "Analyze", PageSpeed Insights will run the diagnostic and then display your performance score for both mobile and desktop versions of your website.

What's really sweet is that PageSpeed Insights provides actionable recommendations to improve your speed and performance for SEO. You'll want to focus on the Opportunities, Diagnostics, and the Passed Audits categories and follow the guide from there.

What is Google Lighthouse?

Lighthouse, also developed by Google, is an open-source tool integrated into the Google Chrome browser's DevTools. While it shares some similarities with PageSpeed Insights, Lighthouse offers a more comprehensive evaluation of a website's performance, accessibility, best practices, and progressive web app (PWA) compliance.

Google Lighthouse conducts SEO-focused audits in various categories, including performance, accessibility, best practices, SEO, and PWA. It assesses performance metrics such as load times, first contentful paint, and time to interactive. It also examines aspects like semantic HTML, color contrast for visually impaired users, responsive design, and adherence to modern web development standards.

Lighthouse's SEO audit examines critical elements like meta tags (such as meta descriptions and page titles), headings (such as header tags), structured data, and mobile-friendliness.

How to use Google Lighthouse

Open the webpage you want to analyze in Chrome and then right-click on the page and select "Inspect" to open the Developer Tools panel. Within the Developer Tools panel, go to the "Lighthouse" tab and check the audit categories you want Lighthouse to evaluate, such as Performance, Accessibility, Best Practices, SEO, or Progressive Web App. When you finish that, click on "Generate report" to begin the audit. You'll get a nice, detailed report that includes scores and key data for each category you selected.

How we can help

Segment is committed to helping you manage and improve your SEO efforts, especially managing tools like Google PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse. When you partner with our SEO agency, you can benefit from our expertise in developing data-driven SEO strategies, optimizing your technical SEO and content, and ensuring high performance and usability across your website.

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