Google’s New Updates to PageSpeed Insights: What You Need To Know

Google’s PageSpeed Insights (PSI), the famous tool for analyzing website speed used by website owners, developers, designers, and marketers across the globe, is far from perfect.

In fact, Google itself declares that this tool’s code is over 10 years old and due for a revamp. That’s why, on November 3rd, the company announced some changes coming to their PageSpeed Insights.

Here’s a brief summary of what we can expect in the upcoming months:

  • More intuitive UI design, in accordance with the Material Design standards.
  • Clearer distinction between lab and field data in the results.
  • More detailed assessment of the Core Web Vitals results.

All of this should make it simpler for website owners and developers to interpret their PageSpeed Insights results and have a better idea of what to do about them.

Let’s explore these updates in detail.

Lab Data vs. Field Data

Users who are new to PSI may not be familiar with the distinction between lab and field data. The former is generated from automated testing in a simulated environment, while the latter comes directly from real-world users of your website from around the world.

Google is aware that this distinction may be confusing for some users, which is why it will introduce a more intuitive UI design to make lab vs field data clearer.

This UI will include more helpful information about the gathered data, such as:

  • Data collection period
  • Visit durations
  • Network connections
  • Devices
  • Chrome versions
  • Sample size

A significant change will be made to the lab data performance score – the numerical symbol of PSI, so to speak. It will be moved from the top of the results page to the Lab data section to avoid any confusion about its origin (image below).

Screenshot taken from: https://web.dev/whats-new-pagespeed-insights/

Core Web Vitals Assessment

Assessing the Core Web Vitals results will be a bit more detailed in the update. CWV will get their own subsection in the results page, where you will be able to see the three Core Web Vitals metrics – FID, LCP, and CLS – and their percentages.

The way of calculating the CWV results will not change:

  • If there is enough data on all three CWV metrics and all three of them are Good in their 75th percentiles, the website gets a Passed result in the CWV section.
  • If there is not enough data on FID, but the LCP and CLS are Good in their 75th percentiles, the website also passes the assessment.
  • If there is not enough data on LCP or CLS, the assessment cannot be completed.

UI Changes

Here are the UI changes we can expect to see so far:

  • Mobile and Desktop icons will be placed centrally on the reports page
  • Origin Summary gets its own Origin tab
  • Image and thumbnails of the loaded page moved to the lab data section
  • Expand View feature for more granular details on the CWV metrics (image below)
Screenshot taken from: https://web.dev/whats-new-pagespeed-insights/

What does this mean for website owners?

The crucial thing here is that the way PageSpeed Insights is measuring page speed will not change. All that will change is how the results are displayed.

In general, Google’s aim with these changes is to help website owners have a better understanding of their PageSpeed Insights assessment so they know exactly where improvements should be made.

When will the PSI changes take place?

The exact date of these changes is still uncertain, but we do expect to see them by the end of this year.

For more detailed information about the PSI changes and how they apply specifically to your website, don’t hesitate to contact us at StrongWP. We’ll be more than happy to help you out!