New PageSpeed Metrics And WordPress

In recent years, page loading speed has gained importance as a search engine ranking factor. More than at any other time in the past, every extra second your website takes to load has profound implications for your online business. In a global marketplace that’s practically saturated, those seconds are often the difference between the thriving online businesses and the struggling ones.

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If you’ve been conducting business online long enough, then are probably familiar with Google PageSpeed Insights. This tool gives you incredible insights into your website’s loading speed and gives you tips on the steps you can take to improve it, giving your website users a better experience. It gives your website a score based on certain metrics, with higher scores an indicator that your website is better designed for your users.

Recently, Google updated the tool to offer web developers and website owners a deeper understanding of how fast their websites are loading and practical suggestions to improve their page loading scores. The updated tool now has Google Lighthouse integration and users have access to more data than before. Here are some notable changes to the tool’s functionality and what they mean for your website loading speed.

Enter Lighthouse 6.0

The integration of Lighthouse 6.0 with its new website performance metrics into Google PageSpeed Insights has seen website performance scores for some websites plummet. Google says 50% of websites will either see unchanged scores or noticeably higher ones, while the other 50% will see a score drop of at least five points. If your website is in the latter group, you need to find out what has changed in the scoring system and how to use the new insights to improve the performance of your website.

Google keeps testing and fine-tuning Lighthouse and how it measures a website’s user experience. Lighthouse 6.0 is the result of this continuous process. It comes with a noteworthy list of changes. Here are a number of them:

Dropped: FMP. Introducing: Unused JavaScript and LCP

First Meaningful Paint (FMP) has always been difficult to quantify, making it hard to figure out exactly how you should recalibrate your web pages to improve its score on Lighthouse. For this reason, its contribution to the overall score was 7%. After this latest update, the metric has been deprecated. Users have now been left with FCP which will work in tandem with Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) to give them insights into the render time of a website’s largest element to the point that it becomes visible to the user.

On the other hand, every extra byte of Unused JavaScript on any of your web pages will lower that page’s score on Google PageSpeed Insights. Unused JavaScript also increases the LCP score (a lower LCP score is better.)

This development is sure to give web developers sleepless nights! Yet, it is the perfect opportunity for the masters of web development to put their pro skills on display. Moving forward, web developers will have to tread carefully every time they are faced with visuals that are JavaScript-heavy, like galleries and sliders. In the new update, LCP is a major factor in the measurement of a website’s visual stability, interactivity, and loading speed.

FCP Has Lost Some Pounds (Pun Intended!)

First Contentful Paint (FCP) is a measure of the length of time that it takes before a browser renders a page’s first piece of content that a user can see, e.g. text or images. In Lighthouse 5.0, FCP’s contribution to the overall score was 23%. Now, it has shed some weight: a whopping 8%. This is good news to web developers who complained that the metric is not all that helpful.

Dropped: First CPU Idle. Enter: Total Blocking Time

First CPU Idle (FCI) is similar in many respects to Time To Interactive (TTI). In fact, FCI was initially called Time To First Interactive. It is a measurement of the moment a web page becomes minimally interactive when a user can interact with the majority of the elements on that page even if some elements may still not be ready for interaction.

In the latest update, FCI has been dropped and in its place, Google has introduced Total Blocking Time. This new metric is a measure of the sum total of the time between TTI and FCP where a user perceives a page as unresponsive or sluggish because there’s a Long Task in progress. A task is said to be long if it takes more than 50 ms to complete. Essentially, TBT quantifies the main thread’s activity responsible for blocking users’ ability to interact with web pages.

Conclusion

You can bet that a large number of WordPress sites will see their scores plummet. A big number of today’s WordPress websites exhibit an unacceptable level of excessiveness. Perhaps the websites whose scores have been most affected are eCommerce websites because they are JavaScript heavy. Websites built using Page Builders often have lots of CSS and have therefore likely seen a very big decrease.

Now more than ever, WordPress PageSpeed Optimization is essential. At ZipFish, we guarantee that your WordPress website will load in less than 3 seconds and have a performance score of 90% or higher on Google PageSpeed Insights. Talk to us today: let us improve your PSI score and make your website blazing fast.

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