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PageSpeed ​​Insights updates for Lighthouse 8.4

PageSpeed ​​Insights updates for Lighthouse 8.4

PageSpeed ​​Insights now uses Lighthouse 8.4.0, which includes two brand new audits. The most important addition helps publishers diagnose a widespread problem that negatively affects the metrics of the greatest content paint. This new revision will help publishers achieve better Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) scores.

Largest content-rich paint

There has been a long-standing issue with Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), which the latest version of Lighthouse, 8.4.0 will help diagnose.

It was discovered that lazy loading of images was a good approach to more quickly make the bulk of the content visible and interactive on a mobile device.

Before lazy loading of the images that were under the fold (not visible in the browser screen viewport) would be downloaded in the background.

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It had the effect of slowing down the visibility and interactivity of the content that was in visitors’ viewport.

When images that are outside the mobile viewport are loaded into the background, they actually slow down the rendering of the visible part of the web page.

By adding the Lazy Load HTML attribute to images, the browser would know that they did not download the images (which are outside the viewport) until later.

This has the effect of increasing the page speed.

But lazy load elements that are in the Largest Contentful Paint viewport have a negative effect, and that’s one of the things Lighthouse 8.4.0 addresses.

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Negative effect of lazy loading of all images

WordPress 5.4 introduced native lazy image loading. Before implementing the change, the developers tested the speed improvements and discovered that adding the HTML attribute to lazy load to all images resulted in a speed increase.

However, it was an imperfect implementation of the lazy load attribute because WordPress now added the lazy load attribute to the highlighted image, which is an element that is generally in a visitor’s viewport when visiting a web page.

It added a negative impact to the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) method and introduced a small negative user experience.

The gain of adding lazy load surpassed the losses from the hit to the LCP metric, so WordPress continued with this.

However, Google noted that after implementing lazy loading in the WordPress kernel, the Lowest Contentful Paint (LCP) scores started to drop a little bit.

In an article published by Google on Web.dev about the performance effect of too lazy loading, they examined the data on actual sites and discovered that sites with too much lazy load suffered from poor LCP scores.

They discovered that aggressive lazy load implementations were the cause, and they learned that this was a problem specific to WordPress sites.

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Google confirmed that WordPress scores for LCP actually dropped.

The authors concluded:

“… the lazy loading technique used by WordPress helps very clearly reduce image bytes, but at the expense of a delayed LCP.”

Guy 8.4.0 Adds LCP Lazy Load Audit

Publishers may have seen their Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) score drop and not understand why they got worse. Lighthouse 8.4.0 solves this problem by adding a revision specifically to diagnose this problem.

All images in the viewport Largest content paint, the part of the web page that a visitor first sees, should not be loaded.

Lighthouse 8.4.0 detects if there are elements in the LCP viewport that are lazy.

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A Chrome Developer page describes how Lighthouse 8.4.0 works:

“Lighthouse will now detect if the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) element was a lazily loaded image, and recommends removing the loading attribute from it.”

The official Lighthouse 8.4.0 developer page describes the new functionality:

“Find when the LCP element is lazy. Images of the fold that are loaded lazily are rendered later in the page life cycle, which can delay the largest content-rich paint. ”

New Mobile Viewport Review

Lighthouse 8.4.0 also adds a new revision that detects if there is no mobile viewport meta tag in the main section.

This is important because failure to add this meta tag may result in a lower First Input Delay score.

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The documentation explains the significance of this new revision:

“In a recent study of data from the HTTP archive, more than half of the sites that received a score of 90 or higher in Lighthouse but failed at least one Core Web Vital did not have a mobile viewport set and failed FID. as a result, the Lighthouse performance section will now recommend adding a viewport as follows, if none exists:

Lighthouse 8.4.0 broadcasts live

Lighthouse 8.4.0 is now live in PageSpeed ​​Insights and will trigger the new LCP alert if it finds a lazily loaded item in the Largest Contentful Paint viewport.

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Chrome Dev Tools includes Lighthouse 8.4.0 in Chrome 95, which is currently scheduled for release on October 19, 2021.

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Read the Chrome developer page for Lighthouse 8.4.0

What’s new in Lighthouse 8.4

Performance effects of too lazy load

Lighthouse v8.4 GitHub page

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