Why is Your Google Lighthouse Score So Important?
Your Google Lighthouse score includes some of your website’s most important performance metrics.
So, what is a Google Lighthouse Score? And how can you improve it?
What is Google Lighthouse?
We’d love to tell you that Google executives sit around scoring websites from a weather-beaten lighthouse on the precarious shores of Cape Cod, overlooking the wild, tumultuous Atlantic Ocean.
But we’d be fibbing.
We’re afraid it’s a little less romantic than that.
But no less exciting, if the idea of a high-performing website capable of converting glutes of leads gets your pulse racing (as it does ours!).
In truth, Google Lighthouse is an open-source, automated tool providing powerful insights that help you improve the quality of your web pages.
A Google Lighthouse report lets you assess and score how positive an experience users are enjoying on your web pages, and give you extremely valuable tips on how to improve those experiences.
Google Demands Great User Experiences
No doubt you’ve heard how difficult it is to predict Google’s algorithms and when they might shift the goalposts.
But what is clear now – and for the foreseeable future – is that Google’s really hot on user experience (UX).
A good user experience benefits both the website users and the website owner.
But a poor user experience will annoy the former while considerably damaging the latter in the short- and long-term.
And Google Lighthouse will tell you all you need to know about whether your web pages are offering users a good experience – and, if not, how to fix your problems.
What Does a Good User Experience Mean?
Just read Google’s mission statement – ‘to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’ – and you’ll get a good idea about what they look for in a user experience.
A good user experience will generally mean website visitors enjoy seamless interaction with your website.
In simple terms, it should be easy for the user to browse, interact and perform actions on your website without irritating disruptions.
On the flip side, a sub-optimal or poor user experience full of glitches or unwanted pop-up invasions will prompt a user to leave your website immediately – and probably never come back.
Which, in short, is a disaster, because it means they will no longer be a lead or customer.
And the more this happens, the fewer sales there will be and the less revenue coming in.
Furthermore, if Google sees that your website is providing a poor user experience, it will penalize your SEO efforts and make your brand less visible online. And what’s a digital presence if it’s not visible, eh? A pretty weedy apparition.
Let’s also not forget that Google is the world’s most popular search engine BY MILES, with a 70% share of the market share, including 85% of ALL mobile traffic. So never mind running off to Ask Jeeves (is that still a thing?) or another search engine, because you won’t be able to generate anywhere near enough business without Google’s help.
So, How Can a Google Lighthouse Score Help?
Google has recently increased the emphasis on on-page experience, including adding a new set of Core Web Vitals that you can read about in this handy blog.
These signals will be broken down bit by bit in Lighthouse to show you exactly how much – or how little – users are enjoying your page.
Lighthouse gives you a ‘customer-eye view’, telling you which elements of the user experience are working well, and which aren’t.
Even better, it gives you tips on how to make improvements to your web page that help convert leads or retain customers.
Which Metrics Does Google Lighthouse Use?
There are five overall scoring categories:
3. Best practices
5. Progressive web app
Lighthouse uses a simple 1-100 grading system for auditing your pages and learning where improvements need to be made.
And, of course, you can expand each section to get more in-depth insights.
For instance, it’s long been known that Google factors load speed and mobile experience into its algorithm – and Lighthouse will tell you how well your page is performing in these crucial areas.
Why Are These User experience aspects so important? These statistics will demonstrate:
- More than 45% of people say that the worst thing about mobile browsing experience is waiting for pages to load
- The longer your web page takes to load, the further your conversion rates will plummet (7% per every 100 milliseconds!)
- People spend 70% longer on pages that take five seconds or less to load
If you’re not using Lighthouse, the chances are that you won’t know about your load speed and mobile experience and will therefore continue to lose customers at an alarming rate.
A List of Other Key Metrics
Visual stability: Jump Around might be a heck of a tune, but that’s the last thing you and your users want your content to be doing while it’s loading
Security: If a page isn’t running on HTTPS, then it ain’t secure. And if clued-up users can see it’s not secure, they won’t trust your site – or your brand
Intrusive annoying stuff: OK, that’s not a technical term but we basically mean pop-ups that get in the way, slow down load times and make you want to throw your desktop or mobile out of the window (not recommended)
Lighthouse will tell you whether these problems are occurring, and to what extent (except the HTTPS bit, which you and your developers should already know about!).
And once you’ve implemented the changes Lighthouse recommended, you can go back and check to see if your scores have improved.
Can Anyone Use Google Lighthouse?
One of the great beauties of Lighthouse being an open-source and freely accessible tool is that anyone can use it, anywhere, anytime.
But, as with any application like this, you’ve really got to know what you’re looking for. And this takes an expert eye.
Even more pertinently, you’ve got to know what to do with the insights Lighthouse provides once you’ve got them. And this is where you’ll need access to a highly skilled web development team that can implement vital changes.
Do you or your team have the expertise, skill and experience to understand and really put your Google Lighthouse scores to good effect?