Understanding Google PageSpeed Insights — The Basics


Google has been making plenty of noise about what they call Core Web Vitals.

The premise behind Core Web Vitals? To provide a standard set of guidelines to measure whether a web page is delivering a good user experience (UX).

You might have read plenty of commentary on mobile-friendliness, Mobile First, and page speed.

It can get a little confusing! 🤪

Core Web Vitals weaves through all of these. I guess this makes sense. Remember, the purpose of Core Web Vitals is to have a means of measuring UX. And UX should be at the core of everything we do on our websites.

But what are mobile-friendly, Mobile First, and page speed? What do they mean and why should you care?

This time, we’ll take a closer look at page speed and more specifically, Google PageSpeed Insights.

However, let’s back up one step before we launch into PageSpeed Insights… what are these mysterious Core Web Vitals?

And how do they fit into Google PageSpeed Insights?

The 3 Pillars

Core Web Vitals are made up of three components: Interaction, Load Time, and Stability. Three vital pillars for good UX.

Unfortunately, the Google Naming Committee must have intervened somewhere along the line. Instead of Interaction, Load Time, and Stability, we’re stuck with these names:

  • First Input Delay (FID) tells you how long before a user can interact with a web page.

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) tells you how long a page takes to load the visible part of a web page onto a screen.

  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) tells you how long the web page takes to stop jumping around on your screen… how long it takes to stabilize and become usable.

Here are the technical definitions, in case you’re curious:

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Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray

Andrew has traded the daily grind for a life on the road. He loves the lure of Australia’s wide-open spaces, solitude and isolation. Andrew and his wife Peta are experienced remote travelers, living the simple life on the road. They travel, work and live in their 4x4 truck camper. Andrew plans to build his Money-Making Website Top Wire Traveller to the point where it provides a regular income... enough to sustain their lifestyle on the road.

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