In this episode Chelsea and James go through Google Page Speed Vitals and the crucial role it plays in your website’s rankings.
Google Page Speed Vitals
Podcast Google Page Speed Vitals
On today’s episode, we’ll be talking about how the new Google PageSpeed vitals report tells you what is slowing down your website.
So everyone’s heard of Google PageSpeed testing. Google, as its way has renamed it about 15 times in the last year. And the current name for this is called a Google core PageSpeed vitals. And what this basically is, it’s part of the Google Search Console suite of tools that looks at a website and sort of says, Okay, what we’re looking for is Google is for your website to load quickly to the user. Back when this first started back about sort of 20 years ago, Google literally just looked at how quick the page would load overall, and counted the amount of seconds it would take to load every asset on that page. This has gotten more complicated and more thorough as years have gone on. The latest iteration of this is that actually puts itself in the place of the user looks at the page and looks at how it loads in. So for example, if you’ve got a web page that’s loading in, if you think 1990s, internet, where everything used to come sort of loading down the page very slowly, Google doesn’t like that, what it’s looking for now is websites that load everything you need to see straightaway. And if it’s not on the screen, it’s quite happy for it to load outside of that time, because you’re not seeing it. But as long as when you scroll down to it, it’s there. It’s quite happy. Now, from a technical point of view, it’s actually quite challenging, because depending on the website, and depending on what functionalities in it, some things have to load before other things. And so Google’s new page report gives an indication to developers of things that they can do to improve it in Google’s eyes in terms of how it loads and how you can defer loading things that you don’t see as quite a technical point. But the bits of this that are sort of really relevant are that it looks at everything overall. So apart as well as the way the page loads, and it looks at how big the page is overall, in terms of the total size of all of the files that it’s trying to bring in. And by that I mean, every image on the site, every text on the site, every page, every third party file is loading, even down to every font that it’s bringing in. It all has a tiny effect on the overall score. And it’s Google report. It because Google changes itself. So frequently, it is very difficult for web website owners to actually keep up with all of this. And so it’s quite, so it’s not really something that’s practical to keep on top of all the time. Historically, as an agency, we’ve always looked at this, when we launch websites, to make sure that when we launch a website, it, it meets the criteria to being it used to be a score of 100. And we used to try and get into the green, which was the fastest score speed that it would do. They have slightly changed the scoring mechanism now. But typically, we would do it on page or on site launch. And then obviously, over time, as clients edit the website or things change, sometimes you’d find we’d go back to sites. And finally it needed some work again, to have a look at keeping up with where it was initially.
So you mentioned then the clients obviously go in and make changes to their insight, and what is the difference between what a client or user can do to their site or what they’d need to develop for.
So the the things that clients typically do on websites are changing text content and changing images. And part of the Google PageSpeed sort of scoring is looking at the overall size of the page. And that includes the size of the images that are loaded in now a good developer would have set up their content management platform to do some amount of optimization work on the images as they’re uploaded. But there’s always room for improvement. And so typically, what what we see clients doing is uploading files that are significantly too big for what they need to be. So they might upload a product image that’s megabytes big, when in reality, it needs to be kilobytes big. And it’s just down to be able to resize it themselves. Now, sometimes they’ve got the software, sometimes they haven’t, which is where getting advice from their agency partner will be useful because if you imagine that that’s multiplied hundreds of times over across the website, then the amount of data that websites passing every time pages load is significantly bigger than it really needs to be. This all gets factored into this Google PageSpeed. The main reason the page reads important in the first place is because if you had five identical websites, the one with the Google Pagespeed score that was higher than the others would be listed higher from a search engine point of view. Google have publicly stated that it is a small factor in their ranking algorithm. And so that the basically anything that they indicate as a ranking indicator gets more attention from developers than anything else. because obviously it affects real ROI, real results. And yeah, it might be the difference between being on page two of Google and being page one of Google. Yeah, it wants to see faster websites. And the way it ranks a fast website is using its own scoring system. So it’s important to be mindful of the fact that it isn’t that these things can have an effect. I think the best thing really is for clients to have a good relationship with their agency so that they can speak to them ask them questions without feeling like they can’t open up and say, Actually, am I doing this wrong? Or how can I do this better, because actually, your agency developers will have seen this many, many times over. And they can always advise some free tools for the client to use to resize their images better, or just advise a better way of doing things. So it’s quite interesting to look at what clients are doing on websites and giving them tips and advice on how they can improve their own process. And this doesn’t necessarily need to cost them any money, a just something they need to reach out and ask the question of, and we’re quite happy to Yeah, and to help other people, even if they’re not clients of the agency at the moment, if they just have got a website and need to pick someone’s brains. That’s what we’re here for. We’re here just to give advice and to to make sure that everyone gets the most out of the the platform they’ve got in the content changing.
So we’ve Google PageSpeed, vitals, does it change quite frequently in regards to like the algorithm, how often is it updated?
Yes, and no, nobody really knows what Google does on a day to day basis. And it’s changed quite a lot in the last year. But I just said up until that point, it hadn’t changed for some while really, a lot of the changes comes from changing of platforms, you know, such as things like WordPress evolve, it tends to try and keep up with the way the web is going at the moment changes in technology changes in device use. So one of the big things that Google did more recently was to change their search rankings to be mobile first. So it looks at the mobile view of a website before it looks at the desktop view in terms of working out if it’s SEO friendly. And it’s got its own test around if it considers a website to be suitable for mobiles, or desktops or what. So it’s quite interesting actually seeing how Google does adapt things. And they don’t change things on the whole too frequently. But when they do, it’s a really, really big change. But it’s very much like when they changed their, their main algorithm for the sort of the main search engine in their clients typically won’t know because Google don’t publish the information. So you only find out through reading certain blogs and finding out that things have changed. And they they tend to teaser a few months beforehand with the direction they’re thinking about in terms of how they consider the web to be improving. Google is a really interesting beast, really, and obviously, everyone has to focus on Google as the main search engine in the market. But yeah, even as an agency, we don’t get told and we have to just keep keep our ear to the ground and and pay attention to things that are going on so that we can advise our clients appropriately.
So as of recording now, then I guess the main things that clients should be considering is, if their page is fully optimised so that it gets those good speeds. And if it’s also responsive to mobile as well, because if it isn’t, as you’ve said, they won’t be hitting the first page of Google. So yeah, I think if you have any questions on what we spoke about today, or if you’re having problems with your website, PageSpeed feel free to get in touch and just ask us any questions that you have on Hello at so marketing.com