If you are a blogger or if you manage sites, you should know by now that Google has recently released their own Website Speed Tracker. Previously, we, the webmasters used to use sites like GTMetrix to check our website speed but it looks like those days will be gone!
With the new Google tool, everyone is now wondering how to score a good result on Google Page Speed Insights. In this article, we will talk about that and also, some other interesting topics. Let’s start.
Will It Effect My Ranking?
That’s the buzz question that everyone is asking. Yes, it has a point. There is no point in trying hard to increase the speed of our websites unless we get some sort of benefit in terms of ranking in SERPS. So, will a better speed in Google Page Speed give you better ranking? Let’s have a look at a few results.
When we type ‘business news’ in Google, the first website that comes to search engine is BBC.co.uk.
BBC is ranked for almost all the major business and news related keywords on the first page of Google. With closed eyes, we should think that as this site is ranked in top places, it should have a great site speed in Google Speed Insights. The result says another story.
As you can see, the site scored only 69 in Google Page Insight which is a lot less than what we expected. Well, one example can never be the answer so let’s check another one.
This time, we will check an affiliate keyword as most of our readers are from Affiliate Industry. Let’s try this keyword, “best air conditioner” for example. The first result that we see in Google for this keyword is from the famous site “TheSweetHome.com”. Let’s have a look at the speed:
TheSweetHome, being one of the most popular affiliate sites on web scored only 57 in Google Page Insights. Did they lose any ranking because of that? The answer is no! They are ranked for more than 1,000 quality keywords at the first page of Google.
And the list goes on and on!
See, we are not saying that the Page Insight of Google does not have any impact on your ranking. Previously, Brian Dean from Backlinko mentioned that one of the regular ranking factors in Google is the page speed and we still believe that. But these are the proofs that tell us an interesting story. Page speed is not the primary thing that you should be worried about right now.
If you are a web developer and are wondering that why your site is not ranking yet, the reason in 99% of the cases is not site speed.
Now, don’t get us wrong. We will still be telling you how to get a high score in Google page speed but we thought we should give you the real picture first. Let’s head towards our main task.
How to Score High on Google Page Speed
So the first task for you is to go to Google Page Insights and check your current speed. While you are checking the speed, Google will tell you about the sections where you need improvements. Take a list of those areas because now you will be working on each of those. We will be listing all the criteria and we will talk about how to improve each of them on your WordPress site but if you already passed on one or more of these, you do not need to worry about those separately.
One of the initial Page Speed improvements that Google will ask you to do is the image optimization. This is a basic one and there are tons of plugins that can help you to earn good score in this section. The plugin that we recommend is Optimus image optimizer. There are some other good ones too but this is the one that we think is one of the latest and the best. After you activate the plugin, go ahead to the settings and make sure that all the options are unchecked. This is important.
If you are using WordPress then you should not worry. This may sound like a tough task but there are easy plugins to make things dead simple for you. The plugin that we will recommend for this area is Autoptimizer. Search for this plugin from your Add Plugin menu and you will find this free one. Activate the plugin and then check on HTML, Java and CSS minify options.
Note: Not every WordPress theme supports CSS minify. Therefore, make sure you test your site properly after you activate this plugin. If you find problems in your site, simply de-active and delete this plugin. Your site can’t minify CSS in that case.
This is another improvement that Google recommends for almost all of the sites. This is a tricky one but stay with me! I can help you!
Leverage Browsing Cache
This is a very simple one. You just have to make sure that the browers cache some files of the website so that next time when that same traffic browses your site, the site loads faster. The most popular plugin for this is W3 Total Cache. Download and activate that plugin and you will be completely fine.
There are two different ways to do so. Either you can simply edit the .htaccess file or you can also use plugins. We will talk about plugins as that is simple. The most famous one in this area is Gzip Compression plugin. Use that and your life will be awesome again.
Server Response Time
This is the last one in Google’s list. Unfortunately, the best way to reduce server’s response time is by joining a good quality hosting service. If you already have a fast hosting then you will never see this problem in the Google Insights. If you are seeing this, either transfer to a new host or ask your host to upgrade you. Also, the server response time actually varies from time to time. We have seen for this website that at times, we score 100 in speed and at times it go low because of the server response time. We are fine with that. This is a rear problem so let me know if you really are facing this problem in comment. We will talk details then!
What Did We Understand?
The first thing that you will have to understand is that page speed is not yet a Bible. You can play around with it and there are tons of sites with low page speed (around 50-60) and are doing great in the search rankings. Despite saying that, page speed is actually vital for user experience.
I forgot whether i read it in Moz or somewhere else that when a website takes more than 3 seconds to load up, half of the users are already unsatisfied unconsciously on the back of their mind. We do not want that to happen with our sites, do we?
Let me know whether you were able to increase your speed or not with the help of this guide.
Note: Hello guys, If you are reading this today, I have changed the theme from the time I wrote this guide. The screenshot might be a bit different today. But the guide still works fine 🙂 Different results for different themes though. Best of luck