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PageSpeed Insights Can Now Publish Reports Even If Data Is Missing

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Online SEO agencies and website owners use PageSpeed Insights to improve their rankings and site traffic. Just recently, Google updated the tool, and it is now showing more field data before. SEO agencies should be able to use its new features as the updated scoring is now live and reflects its new method of managing field data.

In the past, PageSpeed Insights only showed the field data after all of it was collected. However, this method was troublesome because 30 per cent of web pages do not record one of the metrics: First Input Delay.

What Can PageSpeed Insights Do?

PageSpeed Insights provides web publishers and online businesses with reports about their website’s performance for both the mobile and desktop versions. It also gives suggestions on how to improve their web pages.

The tool gives reports about a page’s lab and field data. Lab data helps in debugging performance issues since Google collects it in a controlled environment. However, it does not capture real-world bottlenecks. On the other hand, the tool uses field data to capture true, real-world user experience, but it has a stricter set of metrics.

Field data is the page speed metrics of real users that Google gathers through Chrome’s mobile users. However, before gathering the data, the browsers must allow sending anonymised performance information from the visitor’s experience on a web page. Once Google has collected the data, only then will they calculate the page speed metrics.

Google Lighthouse is a tool that online SEO agencies use to estimate their website’s PageSpeed scores. This tool uses lab data to get the estimated score, and it also supports Google’s dev tools. So, when an SEO right-clicks anywhere on a web page, it will open up Chrome Dev Tools. There, they can use Lighthouse to simulate the PageSpeed metrics scores.

If the score is above 90, it implies a positive page performance. On the other hand, if the score is below 50, that means the tool considers it poor. Nevertheless, these tools can only estimate and simulate the PageSpeed scores.

On the other hand, Field Data is the actual data that Google uses to rank web pages. The search engine gathers this data from real users who download the web pages on their mobile devices under certain circumstances.

PageSpeed Insights Update: Available Field Data Is Now Shown

Google updated the PageSpeed Insights API and tool to show the collected field metrics – even if it hasn’t collected the other field data. In contrast, the previous version would only create reports after all the collected data met a specific threshold.

Google’s Rick Viscomi posted on Twitter, saying that this update was a huge deal because 30 per cent of the sites in the Chrome User Experience Report were the source of missing First Input Delay data. So, the report would only show “no data” if it does not include the First Input Delay data, but the other data will appear.

What Is The Reason For The Missing First Input Delay?

The First Input Delay data determines a website’s responsiveness by measuring the delay in processing an event. For instance, it measures how fast it would take for a feature to work, such as tapping on a menu, entering data using a keyboard, clicking a button, or the time it takes for a website to respond. It should be noted that zooming in and out on images and text and scrolling do not count as factors in the First Input Delay data.

Google’s Web.dev page on First Input Delay data states that many users do not interact with a web page; therefore, the Chrome User Experience Report does not record this metric. It does make sense because most of the time, visitors only want to find the answers to their questions instead of checking out other web pages. The First Input Delay data requires a real user to interact with the web page so Google can get the data it needs.

Viscomi also confirmed this in his follow-up tweet, explaining the reason behind the missing First Input Delay data. According to him, it relies on user interaction to be measured, unlike other data like CLS or LCP.

This is a positive update for many SEO agencies because more publishers can make well-informed decisions on what they need to fix concerning PageSpeed metrics. According to Google’s official announcement, the tool will provide any metric that meets the data threshold. This is reflected in the frontend or the originLoadingExperience or loading experience objects in the API.

This is good news for many developers, web publishers, and SEOs because Field Data reflects the website visitor’s actual site visitor experience. And the more Field Data the publisher has, the more effective and accurate the action is to solve their SEO problems.

Is PageSpeed Important?

Google PageSpeed is crucial because it can impact SEO in two ways: mobile speed and user experience. These two things are relevant to specific ranking factors.

In July 2018, Google launched the Speed Update, which led to mobile page speed becoming a direct ranking factor for Google Ads and Search.

In June, the search engine company implemented the Page Experience signal as an SEO ranking factor, which measures a web page’s user experience. This ranking factor includes different signals, like HTTPS security, safe-browsing, mobile-friendliness, intrusive interstitial guidelines, and the Core Web Vitals metrics.

The Google PageSpeed will include one of the Core Web Vitals metrics, the First Delay; therefore, SEOs should improve their page performance scores.

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