What is Google Lighthouse and how it works

What is Google Lighthouse and what is it for?

Optimizing a website and having visibility in search engines becomes increasingly difficult, as more and more content is added to the network. Additionally, the algorithms that control search results are becoming increasingly sophisticated. All of this with the aim of adapting to the way in which human beings relate to online content.

Lighthouse is an analytics tool focused on developers that shows any performance and user experience problems.

Nowadays, improving the visibility of a website has to go beyond SEO and requires improvements to accessibility, fast loading times and a structure that facilitates simple, intuitive and satisfactory navigation. Improving each of these facets is not easy, but we have tools like Google Lighthouse that make the job a little easier.

What is Google Lighthouse

Lighthouse is a free and open source tool that allows you to measure the quality in terms of navigation of a web page, whether public or private.

To do this, it thoroughly analyzes the user experience, the ease of use of each element on the page and also the performance, that is, whether it has short loading times. In this way, a webmaster has the exact information to know which parts of a web page need improvement.

How to use Google Lighthouse

The tool has a extension for chrome, but it can be used from the browser itself. Simply left click on any website and select the option “Inspect” or press F12 on the keyboard to open the Google DevTools panel.

Once in the panel, above the source code of the web page you will be able to see a toolbar. The “Lighthouse” option appears there. If it does not appear on the page, just click on the two arrows at the end of the bar to open a drop-down menu and in it we will find the tool.

Screenshot Google Lighthouse

Once inside, select what you want to analyze and press the button «Analyze page load»which appears at the top right, to start the audit.

Google Lighthouse capture 2

What is Google Lighthouse for?

Google Lighthouse performs a complete audit of a website based on five distinct factors:

-Performance: It measures the speed at which the website loads and the time that passes until the user can begin to interact with it. This report measures the Core Web Vitals (First Contentful Paint, Largest Contentful Paint, Total Blocking Time, Cumulative Layout Shift and Speed ​​Index) and assigns a score from 0 to 100 to each of them. Any value below 90 indicates that there are problems and offers us a series of suggestions to improve performance.

-Accessibility: Analyze how easy a website is to use for users who need assistance. This report analyzes buttons, links, and images (especially for alt text), as well as anything that can be interacted with.

-SEO: In this case it focuses on technical aspects of SEO such as whether the page is mobile friendlyif it has valid structured data, if the internal links are crawlable, if the titles and meta descriptions are correct, if the page is indexable, if the robot.txt is valid, if it has a canonical tag and so on.

-Good practices: This is a somewhat vaguer report, as it analyzes whether the page meets modern web development standards. That is, it analyzes whether the resources load well from servers with HTTPS, if the images have a correct aspect ratio and good resolution, if the JavaScript libraries are updated, if the HTML doctype is correct, if the security policy of contents, that there are no navigation errors, that the APIs are updated, that the source maps are valid, that there are no problems at the Chrome DevTools level (failures in the network request, few security measures or problems at the browser level ).

-Progressive Web Apps (PWA): This report analyzes that the website uses all the capabilities and technologies to offer an optimal user experience. In this case, it is verified that mobile browsing is fast and that it has offline reading functionality, that it can be installed on various devices or that it automatically redirects HTTP traffic to HTTPS.

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