Website Design August 17th, 2020
Site speed has become one of the most important hidden features of a website over the last couple of years. As mobile speed and internet speed has increased, users have expected websites and content to be delivered at the same rate. Users have lost patience, and attention spans have shortened, so businesses need to deliver their site as fast as possible.
Back in late 2019, Google had announced that they would be giving out badges of shame to slow sites on Google Chrome, which is a sign that Google looked at site speed as a ranking factor even back in 2019.
In May 2020, Google’s Chrome team announced on their webmaster central blog that “core web vitals, a set of metrics of speed, responsiveness and visual stability, to help site owners measure user experience on the web.”
In 2020, you need to take site speed seriously, especially if you are actively involved in digital marketing and climbing the Google ranks.
In this blog, I will be running through some tools you can use to evaluate your site and make improvements easily to your site.
When looking at your website, you need to understand what is considered slow and fast. The universal benchmark for a site load time is 3 seconds. Any time over 3 seconds and you’re approaching a negative impact on your ranks on Google. This is important to note as 3 seconds is also the usual time for a user to wait before leaving for another site.
Site speed is usually split between mobile and desktop speed. The reason is that your site functions differently across each platform, and phones typically have smaller/slower hardware than a computer. You can test your site yourself using your device’s yourself, but many factors can affect what you see, like the wifi speed on your phone.
The following tools will be able to get you started on your path to better site speed:
Google Page Insights is the best high-level tool for looking at your site performance. This tool breaks up your site’s speed into mobile and desktop sections so that you can see where there is room to improve. Let’s look at a site like Amazon.ca, for example, to see how things play out.
As you can see, Amazon gets a 58 out of 100 on mobile speed for their site. The great thing about this tool is that it shows your opportunities to help improve your site. In the below image, you can see the opportunity section on what is causing it to slow down.
Some of the suggestions can be pretty technical, but if you have a developer or someone actively working on your site, you can pinpoint room for improvement. Again, Google Page Insight is a beginner tool to get you started on what needs to be done on your site. Another tool I use to test sites for my clients is GTmetrix.
Gtmetrix is a tool I use to work with clients and my development team to improve websites. GTmetrix provides letter grades on each section of the site and contains active links for you to work on to improve your site. Let’s do a test on Amazon using GTmetrix and see the level of detail we get back.
You can see that this report has way more detail on analyzing the site and what needs to be prioritized. Every section mentioned above is expandable and provides detailed links to all the factors that need improvement. These reports are great for businesses with a developer or agency who can work line by line through these factors.
Using these tools helps to improve your site speed, but below are some small things you can do to make improvements right away.
As mentioned above, site speed is incredibly important and is now directly affecting your rankings on Google. Some factors can be time-consuming to fix, while others, like hosting, can be taken care of immediately. Always keep an eye on the competition and gauge what you are doing compared to them. Focusing on site speed while actively doing SEO, you should see improvement in your rankings!