Austrian Website Lighthouse Issues

Which Google Lighthouse issues are causing the largest losses for the most visited Austrian websites? A look at the performance, accessibility, best practice and seo scores of 23 websites.

Lighthouse on the shore

Google Lighthouse Scores

Chances are, if you're running a website today, you will care a lot about your ranking on Google. While we can never tell for sure how exactly google decides to rank a website, there are many factors involved in this ranking. In very general terms the goal of google is to provide the user with search results that "make them happy". While the most obvious factor in this is the relevancy of a result for the given search term, the site also needs to be actually usable. This is where technical SEO and Web Vitals come into play.

Wouldn't it be nice if we had a way to measure how well our website does in this aspect? Luckily there is Google's Lighthouse.

Here is what the official site from Google has to say about Lighthouse.

Lighthouse is an open-source, automated tool for improving the quality of web pages. You can run it against any web page, public or requiring authentication. It has audits for performance, accessibility, progressive web apps, SEO and more.

Given that their systems will compute the internal score of a website, it's safe to assume that the results of a Lighthouse score will play into the site's ranking.

Austrian Sites

Taken from similar web's top websites in Austria , let's take a look at the mobile phone scores of some of Austria's most visited websites and the most common issues leading to a lower lighthouse score.

Overview

Website
www.a1.net12
www.bawagpsk.com29
www.bergfex.at38
www.bmf.gv.at82
www.derstandard.at94
www.geizhals.at74
www.heute.at82
www.kleinezeitung.at39
www.krone.at29
www.kurier.at26
www.mjam.net40
www.orf.at29
www.post.at42
www.raiffeisen.at15
www.sparkasse.at25
www.tuwien.ac.at59
www.univie.ac.at40
www.willhaben.at26
www.win2day.at59
www.wko.at60
www.zamg.ac.at69

Let's have a deeper look on which issues the average site loses most points. The following section contains the top 3 issues for each of the lighthouse metrics.

Performance

Performance

In this category lighthouse analyses how quickly a website loads. Due to performance and network constraints on phones achieving a great score for mobile versions is much more difficult.

The tested sites achieved an average score of 46 in this category.

Top 3 Performance issues

  1. Largest Contentful Paint
    Average score lost: 21
    Largest Contentful Paint marks the time at which the largest text or image is painted. Learn more about Largest Contentful Paint
  2. Total Blocking Time
    Average score lost: 12
    Sum of all time periods between FCP and Time to Interactive, when task length exceeded 50ms, expressed in milliseconds. Learn more about Total Blocking Time.
  3. Time to Interactive
    Average score lost: 10
    Time to interactive is the amount of time it takes for the page to become fully interactive. Learn more about Time to Interactive.

Accessibility

Accessibility

The accessibility audit describes how well a website can be used by people with disabilities.

The tested sites achieved an average score of 83 in this category.

Top 3 Accessibility issues

  1. [user-scalable="no"] is used in the <meta name="viewport"> element or the [maximum-scale] attribute is less than 5.
    Average score lost: 4
    Disabling zooming is problematic for users with low vision who rely on screen magnification to properly see the contents of a web page. Learn more about [user-scalable="no"] is used in the <meta name="viewport"> element or the [maximum-scale] attribute is less than 5..
  2. Buttons have an accessible name
    Average score lost: 3
    When a button doesn't have an accessible name, screen readers announce it as "button", making it unusable for users who rely on screen readers. Learn more about Buttons have an accessible name.
  3. Background and foreground colors do not have a sufficient contrast ratio.
    Average score lost: 2
    Low-contrast text is difficult or impossible for many users to read. Learn more about Background and foreground colors do not have a sufficient contrast ratio..

Best Practices

Performance

This score checks if a page follows modern standards of web development and mainly focuses on security issues.

The tested sites achieved an average score of 82 in this category.

Top 3 Best Practices issues

  1. Includes front-end JavaScript libraries with known security vulnerabilities
    Average score lost: 4
    Some third-party scripts may contain known security vulnerabilities that are easily identified and exploited by attackers. Learn more about Includes front-end JavaScript libraries with known security vulnerabilities.
  2. Links to cross-origin destinations are unsafe
    Average score lost: 4
    Add rel="noopener" or rel="noreferrer" to any external links to improve performance and prevent security vulnerabilities. Learn more about Links to cross-origin destinations are unsafe.
  3. Registers an unload listener
    Average score lost: 3
    The unload event does not fire reliably and listening for it can prevent browser optimizations like the Back-Forward Cache. Consider using the pagehide or visibilitychange events instead. Learn more about Registers an unload listener

SEO

SEO

For the SEO audit lighthouse runs tests to check how well a site can be crawled by search engines and if the relevant information for creating a search result are present on the site.

The tested sites achieved an average score of 89 in this category.

Top 3 SEO issues

  1. Links are not crawlable
    Average score lost: 4
    Search engines may use href attributes on links to crawl websites. Ensure that the href attribute of anchor elements links to an appropriate destination, so more pages of the site can be discovered. Learn more about Links are not crawlable
  2. Tap targets are not sized appropriately
    Average score lost: 2
    Interactive elements like buttons and links should be large enough (48x48px), and have enough space around them, to be easy enough to tap without overlapping onto other elements. Learn more about Tap targets are not sized appropriately.
  3. Image elements do not have [alt] attributes
    Average score lost: 2
    Informative elements should aim for short, descriptive alternate text. Decorative elements can be ignored with an empty alt attribute. Learn more about Image elements do not have [alt] attributes.

Summary

As we can see, there is still a lot of room for improvement for most sites. Especially since Google set stricter requirements for the performance of mobile websites, scores in this category tend to be on the lower side. While the performance category might be the most difficult one to improve upon in many cases, it would also yield the greatest benefits for your ranking and the user experience.

Improving the lighthouse score in other categories is typically easier and can be done via fixing a number of smaller issues on the site.

© 2021 Manuel Kruisz

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