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Website Performance and Google PageSpeed

More than ever, end users are becoming increasingly less inclined to wait for web pages to load before visiting another website to find the information they require. As a nod to this, Google has included the speed at which a page loads into its quality score within the results algorithm. This means that slow loading web pages are at risk of being penalised, with their ranking demoted.

Luckily, Google have developed a tool, Google PageSpeed (https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/), which we can use to benchmark a web page to discover how Google measures a page’s performance compared with its metrics. Recently, Google have also launched Lighthouse, a plug-in for Chrome with even deeper analysis.

How we approach improving website performance

Initially we review a site’s overall performance to confirm that there is no particular area of concern from a platform perspective.

We approach page speed performance enhancements via a holistic approach as there are various aspects to how Google measures the speed of a page. A number of small improvements in key areas add up to a significant increase in performance.

Optimising both the website’s code and configuration will:

Provide more head-room for further increases in traffic

Decrease page load times for the end user

Increase Google Page Speed score, which Google uses as a SERP ranking variable

Image optimisation

Google analyses on-page images and checks if they are optimised to their criteria. Compression can be increased until the quality is perceptually maintained but with the smallest file size. Manual image compression seems to be a step in the process which is not considered by content editors.

Benefits of improved site speed

Faster loading pagesAlleviates load on the serverReduces amount of bandwidth used within the hosting environmentUsers on pay-as-you-go mobiles pay less for each load of the site – particular apt for people who are in financial need.