Google: Which Web Performance Tool Should I Use?
by Al Gomez
Mobile optimization is one of the most critical factors that should be considered nowadays. With the growth of mobile internet users still escalating, online business owners should amp up their mobile websites. Especially if Google is considering mobile page speed for their ranking in mobile searches.
The importance of mobile page speed has never been more critical than before. It’s not an easy task and it can be daunting with so many tools available for their use. So which Google web performance tool should you use for your mobile optimization?
Google’s Mobile UX Lead, Dominik Heyberg and Dennis Raspotnig, Mobile UX Manager, had gone live on YouTube. They discussed the difference between Google’s web performance tools: Test My Site, PageSpeed Insights, and Lighthouse.
Test My Site is a tool that calculates the performance of your mobile website focusing on a 3G network. The tool measures your mobile loading time. It also evaluates if your site’s loading speed affects your business in a good or bad way.
Test My Site tool automatically chooses your industry for you. However, you can always change it by selecting the link beside the industry just below the Industry comparison result. You can access the optimization advice on the tool to speed up your mobile page.
However, if you want to optimize your site further, you can also get your personalized report for free. You will be able to receive it within an hour and it covers in-depth optimization information for your site.
Easy to use and understand. Considered to be a conversation starter which simple marketers and business owners can understand and discuss. Free of technical jargons, therefore, you don’t need to have high-level knowledge with regards to web developing.
Doesn’t give high-level technical solutions. The Full Report that you will be getting is just a high-level overview of the problems of your site. The tool provides you with an idea what causes the problem but doesn’t delve into the source on which issue produces which. If you are a developer, it will take a while for you to figure out the problem and trace the problems yourself.
PageSpeed Insights has been around for a long time now. It’s been utilized by webmasters, digital marketers, and online businessmen.
However, it has been updated in January 2018. The longtime tool has become more powerful and can provide more useful and helpful solutions for online businessmen, webmasters, and more. It is now equipped with real-world data retrieved from Chrome User Experience Report or CrUX.
This tool enables you to see how your website performs on both Desktop and Mobile platforms. However, with the update, you will be able to see how fast your site performs on real people. Based on the data collected from CrUX, our page will be graded as Fast, Average or Slow on the two new metrics of the tools: FCP or First Contentful Paint and DCL or DOM Content Loaded.
Additionally, there are some cases where the Speed data is unavailable on some URL. This is due to the fact that PageSpeed Insights doesn’t have enough data to evaluate your page speed.
Furthermore, the details and suggestions on how you can improve your page speed are indicated under Optimization Suggestions. However, you don’t have to implement all the recommendations that the tool is giving. Those suggestions are biased in favor of speed. Bear in mind that the changes you should implement should give you higher benefit making it worth the cost.
In-depth and technical evaluation as well as solutions. Unlike Test My Site, PageSpeed Insight performs a comprehensive scan and assessment of your website’s performance. If you are a developer, you will be directed to the sources that cause some issues in page loads.
Technical problem-solving. Even though the tool is as easy to use as Test My Site, the way that it presents your results is requires for you to understand some technical terms. If you are not a developer, it may be a bit challenging for you to optimize and fix the issues by yourself.
Lighthouse is an automated tool that is used to improve web pages. There are many ways you can access Lighthouse to help you with your web improvement.
However, these two are the most common and easiest way you can get to Lighthouse.You can access is via Right-click > Inspect or CTRL+Shift+I > Audits Tab. The other way is to download it as a Google Chrome Extension.
The tool allows you to view a lot of audits such as Performance, Accessibility, Best Practices and Progressive Web App. You don’t have to run all of them and you can choose what audit to run. The results gained from these metrics can help you discover what you can do to optimize your sites.
Accessibility is judged when your page is well-constructed or not. It also checks if your meta tags are correctly used and if your page’s color contrast is satisfactory.
Progressive Web App is evaluated if your site registers service workers, presents a 200 when its offline or prompt users to install the web app.
Best Practices is measured when your page utilizes HTTPS, displays images with the correct aspect ratio and avoids deprecated APIs.
Performance is gauged based on various metrics such as First Meaningful Paint, First Interactive and more. Bear in mind that to improve performance, you have to improve all the factors contributing to it.
Full and comprehensive report. Compared to PageSpeed Insight, Lighthouse performs a full and extensive analysis on your site. It doesn’t only focus on the site’s speed but also the overall performance including SEO, accessibility and more. You will be able to get more information with regards how to further optimize your website.
Technical and complex solutions. If PageSpeed Insight was a bit bearable to learn, the results that Lighthouse shows may require you to have some deep knowledge about web development. You should be able to get a knowledgeable web developer in order to help you or fix the issues of your website for you.
So Which is the Best Tool for You?
All the tools mentioned have their own pros and cons. Nothing is 100% perfect. The tools vary in their purposes as well as the level of knowledge the testers have.
Moreover, if your optimization needs require some easy fix, you can use Test My Site. If you just wanted to optimize your website’s page speed, you can try PageSpeed Insights. If your site needs some heavy work, you might want to use Lighthouse with or without additional help from a web developer.
Therefore, the most important factor that determines the effectivity of these tools is your website needs. Just like getting an SEO expert for your SEO needs, you need the right tools to solve your website issues.
So what kind of Google web performance tool are you going to use for your mobile site?