A Beacon For A Website
Updated: Mar 24
What Is a lighthouse?
It is a tower with a bright light at the top, located at an important or dangerous place regarding water travel. The two main purposes of a lighthouse are to serve as a navigational aid and to warn boats of dangerous areas. It is like a traffic sign on the sea.
So what does this have to do with your website?
As a website owner you may have had ho-hum experience with your site, and need to find a way out of shallow water. Or, maybe the idea for a new website is still in your head, without a clue what to expect after it is launched. In both scenarios you need tools to navigate thru the technical complexity of website performance... if you want to achieve (SERP) search engine results page ranking.
Google offers the Lighthouse, which is a free tool to evaluate any website. It's an open-source, automated tool for improving the quality of web pages. And can be utilized for a private or a public site that requires authentication. Its metrics include performance, accessibility, best practices, SEO and progressive web-app (PWA). By generating a Lighthouse report, you can assess any web page and learn valuable tips to improve the low points.
How to access Google Lighthouse?
There are several methods, however try these easy-peasy approaches:
Type a URL of an intended site into the Chrome browser
Click the three dots on top right of screen
Select more tools > click developers tools
Select Lighthouse from top right menu > select desktop / mobile > generate report
From browser/ intended URL
Right click any where on the intended URL site > select view page source > Lighthouse
The scored report will look like this
This is an ideal score we all hope to achieve
Select any one of the scored items and a drop-down appears with general data. For an acute read-out click it again for a deep dive to access fix-it suggestions, along with the 'learn more' options. If you do this to all the report indicators you'll stand a pretty good chance of achieving a closer approximation to the ideal score. And the best part is you will have increased your knowledge base.
What is a website audit?
It evaluates precisely the factors with the strongest impact on the user experience. The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother. With Google, and other search engines, that starts by generating an exact match to the consumer's search query. In turn, this relies on good SEO practices. Moreover, this thread leads to the basic processes of technical SEO, on-page SEO and off-page SEO. If the bot can understand your content the consumer will have a better chance to find and view your website. Essentially, a good user experience relies on content/context of the website to be clear and understandable by the human audience … and code that bots can digest.
You can't audit your own work without having a definite conflict of interest. Consider Google's Lighthouse tool as a third-party unbiased auditor. Keep in mind that all auditors and analysts ask really inane questions to get to the bottom of things. Lighthouse is no different! It has been subjected to bum-rap opinions with claims it's a brainless bot who doesn't read your site accurately. Hum?
The challenge here is not if Lighthouse is accurate... but how accurately can you respond or defend the challenging assertions. After all, the purpose of the audit is to optimize your website.
What to do if Lighthouse indicates a missing meta tag.., and you're quite sure it was present yesterday. Simply check to verify if your meta tag still exists. Or, maybe rewrite a better one. Is the page meta tag between 120-158 characters (or 920 pixels -width of pixel)? Anything less, the spider will consider it missing. By all means read 'learn more' for suggestions. Keep in mind that Google bots read code (not words); check if the HTML or structured data is correct.
While the auditing process may be a bit overwhelming but it's worth the time, to stay on top of the game. Google changes its rules often. Thus check your site if it complies with any of the changes. And of course, if you do major brain surgery to your site, make sure the website is still breathing compliance).
10 best reasons to use Google Lighthouse
It's so easy to use
It's Google developed
It's user-centric metrics provide insight how to improve for a good user experience
It tests desktop and mobile devices
It's an open-source platform
It generates a free website audit report
It assesses the quality of a web page
It helps evaluate the work in progress for a new website or improving a website
It identifies existing issues to prepare a “to do” list
It provides suggestions how-to fix irregularities
Google Lighthouse is an analytical tool that helps identify vulnerabilities and inaccuracies. It's like a traffic light for your website's Internet journey.