It’s common knowledge that page speed is important to your SEO performance. This was established in 2010 when Google announced that it was taking it into account within their ranking algorithm.
Page speed is increasingly important for user experience. The longer it takes for a page to load the more likely it is for the user to leave that same page, revert back to the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and click the next result. If your page load speed has a delay of a few seconds, this could be enough for the user to become frustrated and leave the site altogether, especially when it comes to mobile. This became particularly clear to Amazon when they did a study on the correlation between page load time and revenue generation. Greg Linden cited this is a presentation he gave which found that for every 100 millisecond delayed in page load time, Amazon lost 1% in sales, which is obviously significant for a business with a turnover of $107bn!
Google does not yet use mobile page speed within its ranking algorithm. This means that it takes the speed of your desktop web pages and considers those within its mobile ranking algorithm. So if you have slow loading mobile pages, it shouldn’t affect you, yet… According to Gary Illyes in this article on Search Engine Land, Google will soon be using mobile page speed to affect mobile rankings so it’s only a matter of months until they update their mobile-friendly algorithm. So get your pages checked and ready now!
This is why we have updated our Page Speed module in the Technical section of the platform. It measures your home page load time in seconds and we check this weekly. Figure 1 below shows the original Page Speed module within the platform.
Figure 1: Page Speed Module
The new Page Speed module, which can be seen in figure 2 below, still checks your site’s home page on a weekly basis but gives you greater depth of analysis for that specific page. The data is populated into summary boxes where you are able to see both your desktop and mobile speed score, which is pulled from the Yahoo YSlow API. You are also able to see your page speed on both desktop and mobile, measured in seconds, the completed tasks performed to correct these errors, as well as page speed issues.
Figure 2: Updated Page Speed Module
Below these summary boxes is a table that lists the issues you are currently facing with your page speed but also the various recommendations in order to rectify these issues. We grade these issues with colour-coded boxes and scores, which gives you a clear indication of where to focus first. Use the filter functionality to see which issues require immediate attention as seen in figure 3 and 4 below.
Figure 3: Urgent Errors to Fix
Figure 4: Errors to Fix
This is a list of the various issues we check that can be found in the Page Speed Issues column:
- Use a CDN
- Make fewer HTTP requests
- Make JS and CSS external
- Add an expires header
- Reduce DNS lookups
- Compress components
- Minify JS and CSS
- Configure ETags
- Use cookie-free domains
- Put CSS at top
- Avoid redirects
- Avoid empty src or href
- Reduce the number of DOM elements
- Avoid CSS expression
- Reduce cookie size
- Avoid filters
- Remove duplicate JS and CSS
- Make favicon small and cacheable
- No 404s
- Use GET and AJAX requests
- Don’t scale images in HTML
- Make AJAX cacheable
When an issue has been detected, the platform will automatically create a task for that specific issue to be fixed. You can then click on that task and edit it as you see fit. You are also able to manually create tasks as shown in figure 5 below.
Figure 5: Create A Task
We have taken the analysis of the speed of your home page compared to your competitors out of this module, because it is important to focus on fixing your own page speed problems. This is done by having a thorough understanding of what the issues you are facing are and how you can go about resolving them.
As you can see, we have put a lot of effort into improving this module so you can gain a greater understanding of how important is it to have a page that renders in the shortest possible time. By doing so, you can provide your customers or potential customers with a much better user experience and help generate visits that turn into revenue!