Do Google Lighthouse Scores Affect SEO?

Google Lighthouse is the # 1 recommended tool for measuring web essentials and other performance metrics.

So that must affect SEO, right?

Wrong.

If the questions posed by SEOs are valid, the power of Lighthouse is vastly overrated.

Google’s John Mueller answered one of these questions on the r / SEO forum on Reddit this week.

A question is asked about low performance scores in Lighthouse and whether they negatively impact organic search rankings.

The user notes that he managed to increase the score from 6 to 21, but there is still some way to go given that the best score is 100.

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Luckily for them, Lighthouse scores don’t have a direct impact on SEO.

Also, a score of 21 might not be as bad as that person thinks it is.

Mueller explains why.

Google’s John Mueller on flagship scores and SEO

Mueller begins his response by pointing out that going from a score of 6 to a score of 21 is a noticeable improvement.

When visitors land on the site, they will now have a better experience. It’s a good thing even if you take SEO out of the equation.

While Lighthouse scores are a measure of a site’s usability, Google doesn’t use it for search.

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Why?

Because the score in Lighthouse is based on lab data, and Google is more concerned with a site’s performance as experienced by real visitors.

“Going from 6 to 21 will likely be noticeable to users, so you have that effect regardless of SEO.

Google does not use the flagship X / 100 score for search, we use the main vital web elements (lcp, cls, fid) separately. I think you can get them from Lighthouse as well, but there are plenty of other tools that show them as well.

Google uses the values ​​as users see them, which requires some traffic first. If it’s a smaller site (don’t know) you might not get enough traffic anyway, so that wouldn’t be a factor (Search Console says if it has any data).

Since Google doesn’t use Lighthouse scores calculated with lab data, it relies on field data collected from real visitors.

If a site isn’t getting a lot of traffic, Google won’t have enough ground data to calculate its Core Web Vitals scores.

In these situations, the Lighthouse score becomes even more unreliable.

Muller reminds the original poster that the ranking improvement provided by the Core Web Vitals / Page Experience update does not replace relevance.

A site with appalling scores can still rank if its content is relevant to a user’s query.

“The essentials of the web / page experience are not a substitute for relevance, but it’s also more than just tiebreaker. For competitive queries, you might see some effects. If someone searches for your business name, that is less important. Check the queries you rank for and rate against them.

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Finally, Mueller offers practical tips to improve usability.

“Sometimes smaller things can make a big difference, like caching images or delivering them (+ videos, ads, etc.) with predefined dimensions. Don’t give up just because someone says it’s hard :). Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s about finding the easy things.

Source: Reddit


Featured Image: m.mphoto / Shutterstock


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