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PageSpeed Insights Updates to Lighthouse 8.4 – Helps Improve LCP via @sejournal, @martinibuster



PageSpeed Insights now uses Lighthouse 8.4.0 which features two brand new audits. The most important addition helps publishers diagnose a widespread problem that negatively impacts the Largest Contentful Paint metric. This new audit will help publishers achieve better Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) scores.

Largest Contentful Paint

There has been a longtime issue with Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) that the newest version of Lighthouse, 8.4.0 will help diagnose.

It was discovered that lazy loading images was a good approach for making the main main part of the content visible and interactive on a mobile device faster.

Previous to lazy loading the images that were below the fold (not visible in the browser screen viewport) would download in the background.


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That had the effect of slowing down the visibility and interactivity of the content that was in the site visitor’s viewport.

When images that are outside of the mobile viewport load in the background they actually slow down the rendering of the visible part of the web page.

By adding the Lazy Load HTML attribute to images the browser would know to not download the images (that are outside of the viewport) until later.


This has the effect of increasing the Page Speed.

But lazy loading elements that are in the Largest Contentful Paint viewport has a negative effect and this is one of the things that Lighthouse 8.4.0 addresses.


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Negative Impact of Lazy Loading All Images

WordPress 5.4 introduced native lazy loading of images. Before implementing the change the developers tested the speed improvements and discovered that adding the lazy load HTML attribute to all images resulted in a speed gain.

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However that was an imperfect implementation of the lazy load attribute because WordPress was now adding the lazy load attribute to the featured image which is an element that is generally in a site visitor’s viewport when visiting a web page.

That added a negative impact to the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) metric and introduced a slight negative user experience.

The gains from adding lazy load outpaced the losses from the hit to the LCP metric, so WordPress proceeded with this.


Google however noticed that after implementation of lazy loading in the WordPress core that the Lowest Contentful Paint (LCP) scores started dropping a little bit.

In an article that Google published on about the performance effect of too much lazy loading, they researched the data of actual websites and discovered that sites with too much lazy loading suffered from poor LCP scores.

They discovered that aggressive lazy loading implementations was the reason and they learned that this was an issue specific to WordPress sites.


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Google confirmed that WordPress scores for LCP were indeed dropping.

The authors concluded:

“…the lazy-loading technique used by WordPress very clearly helps reduce image bytes but at the cost of a delayed LCP.”

Lighthouse 8.4.0 Adds LCP Lazy Load Audit

Publishers may have seen their Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) scores dropping and not understand why they were getting worse. Lighthouse 8.4.0 solves this issue by adding an audit specifically for diagnosing this problem.


All images in the Largest Contentful Paint viewport, the part of the web page that a visitor sees first, should not be lazy loaded.

Lighthouse 8.4.0 will detect if there are any elements in the LCP viewport that are lazy loaded.


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A Chrome Developer page describes how Lighthouse 8.4.0 works:

“Lighthouse will now detect if the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) element was a lazy-loaded image and recommend removing the loading attribute from it.”

The official Lighthouse 8.4.0 developer page describes the new functionality:

“Detect when the LCP element is lazy-loaded. Above-the-fold images that are lazily loaded render later in the page lifecycle, which can delay the largest contentful paint.”

New Mobile Viewport Audit

Lighthouse 8.4.0 will also add a new audit that detects if no mobile viewport meta tag in the head section.


This is important because failure to add this meta tag can result in a lower First Input Delay score.


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The documentation explains the importance of this new audit:

“In a recent study of data from the HTTP Archive, over half of the sites that received a score of 90 or higher in Lighthouse, but failed at least one Core Web Vital, did not have a mobile viewport set and were failing FID. As a result, the Lighthouse performance section will now recommend adding a viewport like the following if none is found:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width">"

Lighthouse 8.4.0 is Live

Lighthouse 8.4.0 is now live in PageSpeed Insights and will trigger the new LCP warning if it finds a lazy loaded element in the Largest Contentful Paint viewport.


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Chrome Dev Tools will feature Lighthouse 8.4.0 in Chrome 95, which is currently scheduled for release on October 19, 2021.



Read the Chrome Developer Page for Lighthouse 8.4.0

What’s new in Lighthouse 8.4

The Performance Effects of Too Much Lazy-Loading

Lighthouse v8.4 GitHub Page


Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster



Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”



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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.



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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.


But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.


One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.


Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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