I don’t believe in CWV scores at all whatsoever. I think if your site is built well, it’ll rank just fine for SEO without any missed opportunities.
But of course, many people don’t believe me.
So fine. This guide is for you non-believers. It’s written for those thinking SEO death knocks on their door if they don’t satisfy Google’s ambiguous performance requirements. This is for the people who forgot that even Google doesn’t follow their SEO guidelines.
Heeeeeere we goooooooooo…..
1. Get rid of your pagebuilder
They don’t just slow down your site, they also wreck your page scores. Here’s a brief list of negative impacts they have on your score:
- Loading excessive JS scripts and CSS styles.
- Causing CLS layout shift. The large amount of scripts means multiple repaints in your browser causing content to jump around as each bit loads.
- High initial server response time.
- Creates unused CSS and JS.
- Creates render-blocking resources.
You can either A) get rid of your pagebuilder and convert to Gutenberg or modern pagebuilder (like Oxygen), or B) you can run your site through a bunch of hack CS/JS implementations that increase your scores but could break your site design/function or make your site load slower for human visitors (really dumb choice, IMO).
2. Get rid of 3rd-party scripts
There few things worse on your page scores than 3rd-party scripts. Here’s why they suck so bad:
- They load last – dragging out your website’s total load time. Not a big deal for human visitors but causes atrocious test scores.
- They load slower (than if they came from your server) – again, dragging out your load times.
- They load in unfriendly way for page scores. Many little scripts, with lots of unused parts.
- Sometimes they load first – slowing down (and blocking) your entire page load.
What a pain in the butt, right? It’d be easier if you got rid of them. No need to waste time optimizing things that shouldn’t be there in the first place. But many of you don’t have that luxury (or *cough* self-control *cough*). You really need those ads, chatbots, tracker scripts, API, etc….or so you say.
If you can’t live with it, then I guess you could try delaying their execution. Which is even weirder IMO when you think about the logic.
- If the script is so essential that you can’t get rid of it…
- …then why would you try to defer it?
You can’t load an essential item quickly if you defer it…get it?
3. Asset optimization (CSS & JS)
This is a tough part to deal with. Because different page scores are all over the place and adjust their scoring over time. Some want your assets combined; others don’t care. Then there’s the issue about their size, request count, used vs unused, and load priority.
Yes, there’s a whole mess of factors to consider when doing asset optimization. I’m gonna recommend some tips below that are only for improving page scores. (Please remember that I would never do any of this shit. I only list it here for you page-score sheep.)
- CSS & JS combine
- CSS & JS defer
- Generate critical CSS
- Remove unused CSS/JS – good luck with this. Only way to do it is by removing plugins/services.
- Using fewer web fonts
- Local load your 3rd-party assets – things like web fonts, Google Analytics, etc.
You can do most of that using a caching plugin. The ones that can’t will require a developer to hack things for you.
4. Image optimization
Let’s go in order of how to do this, ok?
- Don’t use so many images. You can create visual effects using just CSS or clever use of color. Without having so many images, you don’t have to worry about optimizing them to the right format, size, compression, and lazy load.
- Use the right image format. Please don’t use PNG when you should have JPG.
- Image compression can be whatever the page scores recommend. Compress more if you want to decrease file-size…just make sure the quality doesn’t get too ugly/grainy.
- Be careful about CDN. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t.
5. Use caching
Seriously. Caching will improve your server response times, both human load times as well as page scores. And most caching plugins can also do CSS/JS optimizations that improve your score as well. The only catch is you have to know how to setup your cache plugin or else things could get real messy.
6. Hire a speed optimization expert
A true professional will know exactly how to optimize your site for performance and page scores. They can set up caching, wean you off slow plugins, optimize your assets and such and such.
But pleeeeeeease….do not hire me for this. Maybe some of you think this post is me low-key advertising my services BUT I AM NOT! I don’t believe in optimizing for page scores. And I hate working with clients that do. I also hate explaining why page scores are silly. I’ve never bothered with them and my sites (and clients’) rank just fine.