You may have noticed that your website's speed score on Google’s PageSpeed Insights is much higher for desktop than for mobile, or overall lower than you expected. The good news is that a low score isn't necessarily a true indicator that your website is slow to load. This score is rather a general metric of the website's overall build, which can be measured and improved in many ways.
Several factors contribute to a website's speed score. Some are simple, like updating plugins or clearing the cache, and others are more complex, like the theme builder used to create the website. Mobile speed scores are particularly affected by theme builders like Divi, Elementor, WP Bakery, and all similar WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editors.
Increasing speed and ranking
To increase a website's ranking on Google and improve SEO, a user can click the "Improve Desktop Speed" or "Improve Mobile Speed" buttons on the Website Express/Pro dashboard. Google will highlight the exact areas that need improvement to see PageSpeed score changes. We have recently changed the way we display Google PageSpeed scores. Now users are able to see a graphical trend of their score. Once fixes have been made users will see this trend upwards. Additionally, users can use this trend line to determine if a certain plugin or theme made drastic changes to their score.
It's important to know that if your site hosts many video components, this could be a large factor affecting your site's speed. If you can, we highly recommend moving all locally hosted videos onto YouTube.com or a similar service. Once you have done this, you can easily link the video to your website. If you are working with the Marketing Services team, just supply our team with the video links, and we will replace the current videos to help increase your site's speed further.
The best way to increase mobile site speeds and improve your Google PageSpeed Insights score would be to remove all unnecessary plugins and themes or build sites without a builder using hardcoded HTML. Unfortunately, building sites without a WYSIWYG editor could drastically increase the site build time. Additionally, if you are utilizing our Marketing Services team, hardcoded HTML sites are not currently a service they offer.
Our Marketing Services team is able to help with image optimization, lazy loading capability, force site caching, plugin and theme clean up/deletions, backend updates, and a CDN to deliver content quickly.
Core Web Vitals
When trying to improve the Google desktop and mobile PageSpeed scores, it is important for users to note their site's Core Web Vitals. Announced in 2020 by Google, Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics based on how quickly webpage loads, become interactive, and offer visual stability. It is the latest in a series of moves that Google has made to integrate UX into their algorithm. According to Google, these factors are important enough to be measured by all site owners. Google plans to use core web vitals as a ranking factor in 2021. This means that pages with strong scores will have an edge when it comes to SEO. Core Web Vitals contribute to the site's PageSpeed score. In order to improve PageSpeed, a user will need to work to improve their Core Web Vitals.
To make this easy for users to monitor and improve their Core Web Vitals, reporting is included on every Website Express/Pro dashboard.
Test it out
A great place to start with testing is to perform a manual test. Run one of your websites simultaneously on a mobile and desktop device. You will see that even with a “low” score on Google’s PageSpeed Insights, your websites are quite quick to load.
In addition, we highly encourage you to try testing your website's speed using Google PageSpeed Insights and taking a close look at the insights provided. We advise users to take a closer look at their Core Web Vitals and the recommendations Google has for improving these numbers.
It's important to note that not all page speed test sites report scores in the same way that Google does. Many of these sites report vanity metrics while Google's reporting is more realistic and actionable. To get the most accurate reporting for how their site will rank on Google a user should utilize Google's testing and reporting.