If you want to build an effective website that receives significant traffic due to its high positioning in search results, you need to understand what Google PageSpeed is and how it can help or hurt your performance. Many websites, such as Craigslist, can contribute part of their success to a firm understanding of this concept and how it correlates to your search engine results. In short Google PageSpeed is a ranking system used to determine how quickly your website loads.
An experienced webmaster will always strive for a balance between technology and usability. The end goal should be a simplistic elegance. Your site traffic should flow seamlessly and exaggerated load times are the biggest threat to this. Realizing that slow website load times frustrate visitors and detract from your content, Google decided to make a concerted effort to help webmasters keep their sites up to speed. They have done this by creating a helpful tool called Google PageSpeed Insights.
Myspace is a perfect example of how page speed load times can kill off a popular website. Once Myspace allowed personalization of pages on a coding level, page load times increased. Many pages taking over a minute to load. This made it easy for Facebook, with its simplistic, but elegant, front page, to take over the market.
Google has the most advanced analytics available and it is because of this they are the #1 search engine in the world. Long gone are the days of keyword stuffing. This is an old technique used by webmasters that required placing a number of keywords in the website’s meta description tags. This method worked on early search engine algorithms, causing your website to rank higher. Google is constantly improving their system and personnel. New and increasingly advanced algorithms are used to rank your website’s search results on many factors. All these factors contribute to your search engine results.
· Page speed
· How long a visitor stays on your page
· If a visitor favorites your page
· If a visitor scrolls past the fold on your page
· Relevant graphics
· Keyword placement
The great news is, they are also constantly adding new tools to help you conform to their ever increasing quality standards. Google understands internet speeds can vary dramatically depending on individual networks. They have configured the PageSpeed Insights tool to test factors independent of internet speed.
You don’t need to download anything, as it is simply a page with a search box requesting your URL. Once you run the PageSpeed tool, your URL will be contacted twice. Initially, your load time will be tested on desktop settings. Next, the same test will be run in mobile settings. The Google PageSpeed Insights Tool tests a number of factors on your website such as:
· Time to above the fold load: This is how long it initially takes your website to load. The fold is where your web page visibility ends and scrolling is required to access the remaining information.
· Time to full page load: This is the total time needed to load your web page entirely.
· Mobile web version: Your page should load fully in under a second. Anything longer than a second causes users to become disconnected and has negative effects on the user experience.
· The HTML structure: If your coding isn’t clean and precise you can expect sufficient delays.
· Images: Graphically intense pages will take significantly longer to load than text.
· Compression: Properly formatted files and images can dramatically reduce load times
· User Experience: The general rule of thumb is to avoid plug-ins because they are known to have several compatibility issues depending on the platform.
You will receive a ranking between 0-100 in speed and user experience. Your goal should be a rating of 85 or higher. Anything less than 85 means your website is losing ranking due to poor load times. The tool will also display a breakdown of your troubled areas, as well as suggested fixes. This can be used to determine the necessary course of action to follow when deciding how to correct any issues. The ranking system is as follows.
· Green check mark—Your website meets or exceeds Google PageSpeed standards.
· Yellow exclamation point—You could improve your website’s page speed. This is equivalent to a C- grade. It means you should make some minor adjustments.
· Red exclamation point—If you see this you are getting penalized for slow page speed load times. Your slow performance is negatively affecting your search engine results and you immediately need to make some critical adjustments.
What is Google PageSpeed?
Learning what Google PageSpeed is and how it affects your user experience is an important step in creating an effective website. The number one rule to remember is quality content will always win. You don’t need animation or plug-ins to give your users a fruitful experience. Always keep your visitors in mind and shower them in excellent content. This is the best way to ensure a steady stream of satisfied customers.
Don’t let any of this frustrate you. Google now offers a free PageSpeed Module. This module will automatically optimize your website’s load time, adjusting and formatting elements to their criteria. It’s a great way to guarantee results and it is light years ahead of making alterations manually.
PageSpeed is just one part of Google’s Web Performance tool set. They have continually raised the bar, consistently finding new and innovative ways to improve results. Don’t let your website’s performance suffer from unusually long load times. Use the Google PageSpeed Tool and Module to keep your users satisfied and your website running like a well-oiled machine. We live in the digital age, and time is one thing none of us like to waste.