“Is Lazy-Loading of CSS a Bad Practice?” Googler Gives Caution

Googler: Since CSS can determine page layout, CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) can be affected, so be cautious of that.
SIA Team
October 29, 2021

John Mueller is a Googler (a person who works for Google). He’s a Search Advocate, and currently, one thing he does is host and answer questions during the English SEO Office-Hours. 

During the 33rd minute of the English Google SEO Office-Hours From October 22, 2021, John was addressing a participant’s situation. Basically, they were asking about lazy-loading and Page Experience metrics. 

The specific question I’m addressing here occurred at the 32-minute, 58-second mark of the video below. 

That said, I’ve actually queued the video to an earlier mark: the 30-minute, 15-second mark. I’ve done that because that’s where the conversation begins, and if you watch it from a few minutes earlier, you’ll gain a context that gives you a better understanding of the topic at hand. 

So, you can see that, at the 32nd minute, the key question was asked:

The participant asked, “…I mean, lazy loading, is this a bad practice? Or is there anything wrong with that?” 

John replied:

“I think that’s perfectly fine to do like that. With regards to CSS in particular–so I don’t know, JavaScript probably less so–but CSS in particular, since it affects the layout of the page, that could affect the CLS score.”

(CLS means Cumulative Layout Shift, and is one of the core metrics of Page Experience. I wrote about it here: Google Releases Video on Improving Page Experience via Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).)

John continued:

“And it could affect the understanding of whether or not a page is mobile-friendly.

“So that might be something to watch out for. But otherwise, if you’re using lazy loading, and you’re making your pages much faster for users, then it’s like, good job. Yeah, that sounds good.”

So, that’s something to watch out for–how lazy-loading of CSS (or maybe even JS or any other aspect of your page) can affect Page Experience scores, such as CLS or Page Speed

And, if you’re doing this as part of an effort to improve any aspect of Page Experience, do read my article, titled: Google Page Experience: Everything Else You Need to Know

(As its title implies, it gives you the ‘everything else’ you need to know to get an edge.)

Source: Google Search Central YouTube channel