Google Lighthouse: A Catalyst to Your Website SEO Success

March 4, 2024 | Technical SEO

Gone are the days when you just had to shuffle the set of keywords in order to push your rank higher on Google. Those were the times when search engine algorithms were easy, less competitive, and comparatively unfiltered. 

Today, the margin to succeed is getting narrower, and market competition is getting denser than before. This has raised the need for automated thrust in digital marketing.

Well, the primary motive is always to leverage your website and make it more visible online. Google Lighthouse is one among them, and in this blog, we will learn about the same. 

What is Google Lighthouse? How will it affect your website? How to use it? There are millions of such questions that will arise in your mind, and we are here to answer them.

Let’s proceed and learn more about it. 

What is Google Lighthouse?

Image of what

Google Lighthouse is basically a free tool that offers you actionable insights to uplift your website’s health. By accessing the Google Lighthouse report, you can get multiple web page experiences and valuable tips to rectify the performance issues and scale them. 

The tool evaluates multiple factors like site performance, page accessibility, SEO, and other similar parameters with the purpose of offering you recommendations so that you can work on them for holistic website performance. 

Another significant aspect is that Google Lighthouse testing is an open-source software solution, so anyone can use it. 

Be it a web developer, SEO, or website owner, Google Lighthouse in Chrome is exclusively available to all. 

Google has lately converged its focus on on-page SEO experience, including an entirely new set of core web vitals. This has emphasized the utility of Google Lighthouse at a great scale.  

How Does Google Lighthouse Operate? 

Google Lighthouse operates by performing the website audit of 5 main verticals. 

Let’s note them down. 

Performance

Performance analysis of Google lighthouse

How quickly the website loads and how effectively the users can access it defines the performance of your website. 

In the first parameter, Google Lighthouse scores these properties:

  1. First Contentful Paint (FCP): The time for content first-time visibility
  2. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This is the time taken by the page to load.
  3. Total Blocking Time (TBT): The blockage time between the user’s input and page response. 
  4. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): The layout shifts post user’s accessibility.
  5. Speed Index (SI): The time taken by content to load. 

The Lighthouse page speed score is between 0 to 100. If it is parred 90, your web pages are well optimized, and in case it is below 90, you have to sincerely work on-site elements to make it better. 

Post offering you the score, Google Lighthouse speed test also gives you useful recommendations that you can implement to make your site perform better. 

Accessibility

In this vertical, Chrome Lighthouse determines how easily users can get access to your website elements by virtue of assistive technologies. 

On top of that, it also analyzes the website images to see whether your alt image texts are intact or not. 

Likewise, in a performance audit, the higher the score, the better the accessibility of your website. 

Obviously, the tool will finally give you the recommendations like before so that you can implement them and your website can perform better. 

Standard Practices

Google lighthouse standard practices

There are certain standard practices of website development that form the foundation of modern site technicality. 

Google Lighthouse scores by checking out whether your website is built on this practice ground or not. 

So, a few development verticals that Lighthouse of Google examines are: 

  1. Resources from secure server
  2. Correct image aspect ratio
  3. Safe JavaScript libraries
  4. HTML doctype available.
  5. Effective Content Security Policy (CSP)
  6. No browser errors
  7. No deprecated frameworks and APIs
  8. The page has valid source maps
  9. No Chrome DevTools panel issues
  10. The page’s character encoding is set with the meta charset tag
  11. Paste password option available

All these factors determine your score upon 100. The Lighthouse gives the report on a set of best practices that encapsulates specified elements to improve the overall score. 

SEO

SEO image

There are many optimization aspects that the Lighthouse of Chrome extension checks before approving the website’s health. 

This includes:

  1. Site mobile-friendliness
  2. Data flow and page structure
  3. Crawlable internal links
  4. Relevant hreflang attribute
  5. Set title and meta description
  6. Indexable web pages
  7. Valid Robots.txt
  8. HTTPS error code
  9. Valid “rel=canonical” tag
  10. No plugins associated
  11. Specified alt-image texts

But do you think that Google Lighthouse score would give you a complete idea and report on website SEO?

The answer is NO! 

You need to have a site audit tool like RankWatch that will offer you a 360-degree and comprehensive report on the SEO establishment of your website. 

But how to use it? 

Log in to RankWatch. Put the website URL as a fresh new project, and click on the site auditor section. 

Within a couple of seconds, the AI-enabled tool will offer you the above-mentioned insights, and you can further work on them to add value and upscale your website optimization.

RankWatch’s site auditor

Moreover, RankWatch also comes up with a patent site score that depicts the number of issues existing in your account. The more you keep on resolving these issues, the better your website’s site score will be. 

A perfectly structured database allows the search engine to understand the content better. The more the Google crawler understands the content, the better the possibility of indexing the content will be. 

Thus, to foster a better website structure better, RankWatch gives you an on page SEO checker as well. 

It is a platform for conducting on-page SEO analysis to get detailed insights like page elements, featured snippets, words, characters, body tags, heading tags, meta keywords, page optimization status, and much more.

RankWatch’s SEO IQ

All these insights will help you ensure a better structure for your website and keep it technically sound. 

PWA

PWA audit, also known as progressive web application audit, validates whether your website is implementing modern techniques to maximize the optimal website performance or not.

Here, the audit is performed on the basis of three significant verticals:

Speed & Reliability

PWA audit is performed to make sure that your web app is functional, fast, and reliable on mobile networks. 

Installation

This audit also assures that your web application is installable on multiple mobile devices and supports trends like offline functionality and push notifications. 

PWA-optimized

PWA audit also ensures that all the HTTP traffic is redirected to HTTPS, along with custom splash screen configuration, resizing the web page content to fit the mobile screen. 

Best Modes For Google Lighthouse Audit

Knowing about the technology or a tool is just not sufficient enough. You have to learn the best ways of using them. Google Lighthouse is one such audit tool whose functionality you have to understand. 

So, let us learn a few of the best ways to use the Lighthouse of Google.

Chrome DevTools

In the Chrome browser, you can make the best use of the Lighthouse test via Chrome DevTools.

How to do it? 

  1. Open the webpage that you want to audit
  2. Right-click on the page and choose “Inspect”

    Lighthouse audit via Chrome DevTools

  3. Scroll down the DevTools panel and select “Lighthouse”

    Lighthouse audit via Chrome DevTools

  4. Click “Analyze page load”

    Lighthouse audit via Chrome DevTools

  5. Click “performance audit” from the category displayed

    Lighthouse audit via Chrome DevTools

Instantly, the lighthouse audit will offer you the performance report in six significant metrics. You can select any audit vertical from the list, and Google Lighthouse will offer you the respective audit report for the chosen category. 

Chrome Extension

You can install the Lighthouse Chrome extension that can perform phenomenal audits for you. 

  1. Install “Lighthouse Chrome Extension”
  2. Visit the webpage that requires testing
  3. Open the extension menu and choose “Lighthouse”

    Lighthouse Chrome extension

  4. Click on the cog icon

    Lighthouse Chrome extension

  5. Set the categories and devices based on the report you want to generate

    Lighthouse Chrome extension

  6. Click “Generate report”

    Lighthouse chrome extension Report

Within a couple of seconds, the Lighthouse will generate the report in a new tab. You can select and deselect the categories and mobile devices as per the requirement of your report. 

PageSpeed Insights

Make the best use of Lighthouse availability via the Google PageSpeed insight tool. 

How do I get the audit report?

  1. Open the tool
  2. Set the page URL 
  3. Click “Analyze”

Image of PageSpeed Insights

The tool will automatically generate the reports within a while. You can choose any of them from the given categories. But remember, PageSpeed Insights does not give a PWA report. So, you will not find it in this audit. 

Node Module

Use the Node JavaScript module to perform the Google Lighthouse audit.

How to do it? 

  1. Install the current Node in your device
  2. Run the command: npm install -g lighthouse to install Lighthouse

    Node module

  3. Use the command: lighthouse <url>, to generate report

Node module

To get the report of another page, you just need to replace the current URL with the URL of the page you want to test.

Google Lighthouse Vs PageSpeed Insights

Google lighthouse vs PageSpeed Insights

The biggest question that always occurs in the mind of any digital marketer is, “Are Google Lighthouse and page speed insights the same?” 

For instance, the URL data of PageSpeed insights and Lighthouse of Google tends to be the same. But there are a few major differences.

Firstly, PageSpeed insights have a solo focus on page performance. Meanwhile, Google Lighthouse gives a holistic page experience landscape that encapsulates accessibility, practices, SEO, and PWA. 

So, PageSpeed insight is based on real-time and tangible data drawn for website performance, and Google Lighthouse is a sort of end-to-end lab analytical report that determines the website performance. 

Wrapping Up!

So, this is all about the Google Lighthouse, the way it operates, the metrics it measures, the Google Lighthouse score, and how a digital marketing platform can add up to its insights.

So, next time, try using RankWatch along with the Lighthouse of Google while planning to improve your website performance. 

Cheers!

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