Part one of two

Oh, Google. When will you learn?

In its continuing effort to make things “easier” for marketers, SEO experts, and web gurus alike, Google has revamped its infamous PageSpeed Insights report. Using data from Lighthouse, Google’s insights are now on par with other web speed services such as GTMatrix, Pingdom, and a boatload of other free programs out there.

It’s about time Google upped its game, considering it just decided over the summer to switch to the mobile-only indexing that it’s been talking about for, oh, three years now? Four years?

So, let’s talk about page speed. I covered this topic in a previous article, but it’s been a few years, so we can all use a refresher.

Page speed measures how fast the content on your page loads. Not your entire site, mind you, just one specific page. So if you have, say, a page with a video background, a slider, loads of photos, and flipping cards…hey, much like our newly designed homepage!…then it may take more time to load then say a blog page that has text and one photo on it.

Well, ours doesn’t because our web developer is a genius. But that’s for our next blog.

When you click a link on Google or Bing, or Duck Duck Go, the quicker that web page takes to load on your screen, the more likely you will be sticking around to read the page, contact the company, buy the product, whatever action you planned on doing. For example, if Logan doesn’t get his sports scores on last night’s Penn State game in a couple of seconds, he’s already on to the next site which gives him that information instantaneously.

We live in a fast-fast world where everyone needs instant gratification – we want our content, and we want it now. With tiny, powerful computers in our pockets, we have the world’s knowledge at our fingertips. Why stay on a slow web page when this other web page that loads within a second can give us the information we require? It’s survival of the fastest, baby.

Several times in the past Google has refused to admit that page speed is a ranking factor for SEO…but we all knew better. And with Google ranking mobile websites more often than the desktop versions, page speed has become the number one ranking factor for 2019. With a bullet.

But how can you determine what’s slowing down your site? And what’s the fix?

There are several tools out there that can give you a grand picture of what’s slowing down your site. The majority of SEO peeps out there use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to explain why your site is so slow. I admit it; I’ve used it many a time because hey, it’s Google. It’s the one that’s ranking our site, right? So get it from the source, fix the problems, and everyone will be happy.

If only it were that easy. See, the problem was Google’s insights were always lacking. It would tell you the bare minimum of what’s wrong with your page speed – about two or three suggestions and that would be the end of it.

Sorry, Google, but that wasn’t good enough. So web developers would use other, more in-depth tools to examine page speed and see what’s slowing down your site.

And now, Google stepped up its game. And in short, it screwed it up.

Many have seen scores that once were in the 100s and 90s have dropped drastically to 50s and 60s on the Insights reports, which has many of us going, “What the (insert favorite curse word here)?” And the reason for such a drop is because Google is asking is kind of impossible to achieve.

You see, numerous factors determine page speed: optimized pictures, caching, keeping all the code neat and clean, the quality of website hosting, to name a few. Then comes the technical stuff such as JavaScript parsing and gzip compression and scary sounding words that your typical web designer who uses WIX or GoDaddy Page Builder would not know what to do.

And that’s one of the issues with page speed – it’s very technical that if you don’t have the web developer experience on top of your SEO creds, then you’re not going to understand it all. That means someone who uses a Gmail account to say they can fix your site speed and then presents you with the Google PageSpeed Insights Report…yeah, don’t trust the Gmail guy. Unless they’re a web developer and a good one at that, they can’t fix that report.

So how am I, someone who has so-so web development skills, supposed to fix my site? Well, I turned to the ENX2 Web Boys on this one. And that’s a blog for another day.