First of all, what is Google Lighthouse? It’s a tab buried in the Developer Tools of Google Chrome.
The vast majority of people will never have cause to open up and look at Lighthouse, but if you have a website, you should know that the data this feature catalogues on your site materially affects how many people end up on your site and their satisfaction with the experience.
To further distill this, Lighthouse generates stats on the performance and accessibility of your website and gives you a score. There’s a few different items it tracks, like load speed, alt text, shifting content and more.
The thing to note here is that these tracked items are not arbitrary, they are chosen because they are the best analogues we currently have to measure how satisfying it is to use a website.
If a website is slow, we don’t like it. If the content shifts under our mouse, we’re not a fan. If it isn’t responsive or can’t be easily used on a phone we’ll bounce, and if it doesn’t provide the accessibility accommodations we need, we’ll likely never be back.
So it would be in Google’s best interest to not send you to a website that has those problems that are going to annoy you if there’s a better search result to present you, right?
And that’s just what they’ll do. Google and other search engines factor into their search rankings the speed and usability of the sites they return on search queries.
If we want our websites to be easily and enjoyably used by as many people as possible, and be a worthwhile link to show up in search results, paying attention to Lighthouse scores is a good start.
At Covet we’re keeping an eye on our website’s performance scores and the upcoming 2024 updates to Lighthouse criteria (more on that to come).
Check out how to use Lighthouse on any site by reviewing Google’s demo.