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12 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Google PageSpeed Insights

Search Optimization

Google PageSpeed Insights is often touted as the go-to tool for website optimization. But is it really the best choice? In this article, we dive into the top 12 reasons why you should reconsider relying solely on PageSpeed Insights and explore better ways to measure and improve your website's performance.

1. It Doesn’t Reflect Real-World Page Speed

PageSpeed Insights (PSI) uses simulated lab conditions to analyze website speed, which often doesn't match real-world user experiences. While PSI might flag your site as slow due to these lab conditions, actual users on modern devices and networks might find it quick and responsive. The best indicators of real-world speed are the actual load time in seconds, page size, and the number of requests your site makes.

Pro Tip: Tools like GTmetrix offer more realistic assessments by testing your site in real-world conditions, giving you a clearer picture of your site's performance.

2. Created for Developer Tweaks, Not Overall Speed

Initially designed for developers, PSI focuses on code-level optimizations that might not significantly impact overall site speed. Many suggestions, like minifying code, offer marginal gains and can distract from more impactful strategies such as image optimization and server performance enhancements.

Pro Tip: Prioritize optimizing images, leveraging browser caching, and using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) over the minutiae of code tweaks suggested by PSI. These strategies tend to have a more substantial impact on speed and user experience.

3. Inconsistent Scoring

Screengrabbed from Google Pagespeed Insights

Scores on PSI can vary significantly between tests, even if no changes are made to the website. This inconsistency can lead to confusion and misinterpretation of a site's performance, making it difficult to track progress accurately.

Pro Tip: Regularly use multiple tools to gain a consistent and comprehensive understanding of your site's performance. This will help you more reliably identify trends and issues.

4. Bias Toward Google’s Tools and Technologies

PSI often recommends using Google’s tools and experimental technologies, which might not always be practical or necessary for all websites. These recommendations can sometimes be more about promoting Google’s ecosystem than genuinely improving site speed.

Pro Tip: Focus on tried-and-true optimization techniques that fit your specific site needs rather than experimental or beta technologies. Stick with established practices that you know will yield reliable results.

5. Misleading Performance Metrics

PSI heavily weights specific metrics that may not directly correlate with user experience, such as the First Contentful Paint (FCP) and Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). These metrics can sometimes misrepresent your site's true speed and usability.

Pro Tip: Pay attention to comprehensive user-centric metrics such as Total Blocking Time (TBT) and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), which offer better insights into real user experiences and can lead to more meaningful improvements.

6. Ignores Important Speed Factors

PSI overlooks many critical speed factors, such as server performance, the quality of third-party services, and efficient database queries. These elements can significantly impact site speed but are not adequately addressed by PSI.

Pro Tip: Ensure your hosting environment is optimized and uses performance monitoring tools to keep an eye on server performance and third-party services.

7. Overemphasizes Mobile 3G Testing

PSI’s mobile tests simulate a slow 3G connection, which can be overly pessimistic for modern users predominantly on 4G, 5G, or broadband connections. This can result in unnecessarily poor scores for sites that perform well under real-world conditions.

Pro Tip: Use testing tools that simulate a range of real-world conditions to get a balanced view of mobile performance. This approach provides a more accurate reflection of how your site performs for most users.

8. Doesn’t Account for Platform-Specific Issues

PSI doesn't provide tailored advice for popular content management systems (CMS) like WordPress, which can lead to generic recommendations that don't address platform-specific issues.

Pro Tip: For WordPress users, tools like WP Rocket, Perfmatters, and other specialized plugins can offer more relevant optimization advice and tools, addressing specific CMS-related performance issues.

RELATED: Why Webflow Is The Best CMS For Your Service Business

9. Limited Help for Non-Developers

PSI assumes a high level of technical expertise and offers little guidance for non-developers, which can be frustrating for small business owners and bloggers looking to optimize their sites without in-depth technical knowledge.

Pro Tip: Consider platforms and plugins that provide user-friendly, actionable insights without requiring extensive technical expertise. Google Analytics should be your go-to for overall site performance.

10. Potential to Cause More Harm Than Good

Following PSI’s recommendations without understanding their implications can sometimes break your site, especially if it involves deferring JavaScript or modifying critical CSS files.

Pro Tip: Always back up your site before implementing changes and test them thoroughly in a staging environment to ensure they don't disrupt your site’s functionality. This step ensures that optimizations don't negatively impact user experience or site operations.

11. Focuses on Unnecessary Elements

PSI can often focus on elements that might not be necessary for your specific site, like suggesting advanced coding practices irrelevant to a basic blog or a small business website. This focus can lead to wasted resources on optimizations that do not significantly impact your site's performance or user experience.

Pro Tip: Tailor your optimization efforts to your specific needs. If you're running a blog, focus on content delivery and readability. For e-commerce sites, prioritize fast-loading product pages and secure, quick checkout processes.

12. Neglects Third-Party Integrations

PSI does not adequately account for the impact of third-party integrations, such as social media widgets, analytics tools, or advertisement scripts. These can drastically affect your site's performance but are often not highlighted in PSI reports.

Pro Tip: Regularly audit third-party integrations on your site. Remove or replace those that significantly slow down your site. Use tools like Tag Manager to manage and optimize the loading of third-party scripts effectively.

Time to Rethink Your Approach to Site Speed

Relying solely on Google PageSpeed Insights for site speed optimization can lead to misleading conclusions and wasted efforts. While PSI provides some valuable insights, it’s essential to use a combination of tools and focus on real-world performance metrics to understand your site’s speed and user experience comprehensively.

Ready to take your website to the next level? At Digital Resource, we specialize in optimizing websites for peak performance. Contact us today to see how we can help you achieve real, measurable improvements. Let’s make your site faster, together!

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