Are Google Lighthouse Dev Tools Good ?
What does Google Lighthouse development tools do ? It tests the given web page under the following headings. It applies a score to each of the areas.
Progressive Web App
- this is where Google Chrome would like you to change the handling of your web page so that it behaves link an app on a mobile screen and not like a traditional web page.
- there are various behaviours that they want implemented so as to get a higher score in the progressive web app.
- Scoring highly in this will improve the mobile experience of the site.
- You will need a web developer to implement this.
- this is basically the speed test part.
- Its the same data as you get with GTMetrix or Pingdom. TTFB, screen painting and compression of various elements on the page.
- You can optimize your own images
- The other parts of the performance test will require a developer and or web hosting configuration changes
- Depending on the template and some of the plugins installed, some of the items if implemented will break your site.
- this is mainly focused on labeling items, alt tags, titles etc. correctly on the site.
- the closeness of buttons and borders so as they will work on mobile are also included.
- These are around coding standards and general setup of the site. Some of the items are coding related and some are hosting setup related.
- You will need the co-operation of your host to complete some of the recommendations.
Some pages we tested on 09/feb/2018 with Google lighthouse and surprising results.
So Googles own developer page where they promote the tool.
Then the BBC
Then our own site.
So we have an issue around performance, but we are better than Google and the BBC !. Even Google is not fast enough on 3g.
Google has released a new tool for “improving” the quality of web pages. We say “improving” because google are not really interested in pretty UI for your customer but rather than getting your site to load as fast as possible so that they can index it as fast as possible. Its the never ending trade off.
It tests the page predominantly for Mobile rendering. We see a trend where google is almost abandoning desktop search.
So there is a word of caution around these tools.
- They are not gospel, implementing everything on the audit may not be possible without compromising the user experience to your customers.
- It lacks context and will play havoc with a well founded stratgedy. ( Quote from Twitter Barry Adams @badams )
- The only measure of SEO quality is the ranking on position on the SERP for the given keyword. End of Story.Click To Tweet
It’s a good tool but requires and engineer to improve the results. I can see alot of SEO companies including it in their reports. Google does have a caveat on it. It says you should take other factors into account when ranking. A good conversation starter. ( Quote from @simmonet Grant Simmons )
Implementing all their suggestions is not guaranteed to improve ranking.
Conclusion : Be careful not to let this report distract you from your normal SEO work. It certainly is a good checker for quality assembly of websites.