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    Too much emphasis on page speed?


    How much importance should we put on GTMetrix and G Pagespeed results?

    My wordpress site usually fully loads on average in about 2 seconds (varies 1.8s to 3s but mostly closer to lower end) and time to first byte is almost always about 1 second.

    GTMetrix results PS is ~93% and YS is ~80% without cache plugin (W3TC) and increases to 96% & 97% with W3TC optimised. Loading times hardly change. Ironically the remaining issues with cache plugin installed are JS files from W3TC delaying first contact. This is backed up by G pagespeed results.

    Should I be concerned with 2 seconds load time for a small business website on a shared server just to get better G pagespeed scores or is this an acceptable time for a site visitors UX
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    I wouldn't be concerened.

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    • DirectHits agrees
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    2 seconds is about ok, but think if you were a customer/user of your site.

    If it doesn't load immediately it gives them more time to press back before it loads and forget about it
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    I have seen sites improve rankings when they have gone from over 30 seconds down to 1 or 2 seconds but when your chasing milliseconds like this it can be a little fruitless.
    However in saying that I am a firm believer in fast sites are good, in fact very good and for different reasons, firstly your mobile users will appreciate a light weight page which does not consume all their bandwidth and load really fast. But also and maybe more importantly google also loves faster sites, they will crawl your site more often crawl more pages so changes you make to your site happen much faster.

    Site speed has been a hotly debated issue here over the years but your target should always be to get your site loading as fast as possible for your users. THere are many technical ways of improving a site speed but generally speaking images tend to be 1 area a lot of sites dont get right.
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    Hi Chedders,
    Page load speed is important for viewers but there are so many speed factors outside the page publisher's control.

    I'm only going to talk about load speed as it may impact on a page's ranking...

    As far as I'm aware, G's speed boost is still fixed, very minor and only applied to mobile searches. Unless something new zipped by me, there is no variable ranking boost based on which page is fastest. (Any one with a newer reference, I'd be delighted if you shared it with us.)

    As far as I'm aware, this still seems to be the latest:

    Jun 16: Google says page speed ranking factor to use mobile page speed for mobile sites in upcoming months

    Quote: "The speed of your mobile pages currently doesn't impact your mobile rankings, but soon it may, says Gary Illyes of Google"

    14 months later and we are still waiting for G. to get its mobile index together.

    From what I read, a big part of the problem seems to be related to how mobile pages can strip out many of the ranking signals used in the current desktop algo. Time and again G spokespeople refer to the importance of maintaining consistency in the SERPs.

    The algo will always need to address the ranking score of the individual search words as its initial priority.

    My guess is that load speed won't be a major ranking factor or result relevancy will likely be compromised.

    Neither GTMetrix or G Pagespeed are real load speed measurements. There are so many factors impacting load speed for humans that depend on factors like, the user's access service speed, device used, browser used, location, search time of day/day of week/month of year, what is also happening on the hosting service, etc., etc.

    How will Googlebot attempt to replicate all these variables? At its current indexing speed, it could take months to take a Googlebot load speed snapshot of most of the pages of a small website. How representative of load speed will these very infrequent measurements be?

    My guess is that Googlebot will be incapable of generating an accurate and current load speed picture of the pages on a website.

    For these reasons, I believe G's mobile index and modified algo will have trouble imparting much ranking importance to fast load speed pages.

    Time will tell.
    Last edited by JohnAimit; Aug 19th, 2017 at 05:34 AM.
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    The 3 major factors and still content, site structure, ibl links as well as internal links, which is part of site structure.

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    • JohnAimit agrees : Load speed can't help understand search queries.
    Last edited by Test-ok; Aug 19th, 2017 at 05:35 AM.
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    Google has stated that page speed will be a ranking factor when mobile first is launched. If you call yourself a professional, and are taking money for this service you are doing your client a disservice by not addressing this issue now.
    I have 2 instances where improving page speed and the content on the mobile version of a website has improved their ranks. I think Google is more mobile first than they are letting on.
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    There's always seems to be debate about pagespeed affecting rankings regardless what G says and it would be hard to disagree that a 1 second loading site will perform much better than a 20 second load for comparable site based on other key factors such as content, keywords, structure, links etc. More important than anything else the user experience is a big factor for bounce and conversions which possibly contribute to ranking. How much difference would 2 sec versus 1 sec or less actually make though?

    I would give up doing my own SEO and pay a pro if I couldn't get below 10 seconds but averaging 2 seconds doesn't seem too unsatisfactory from a user point of view although 0.2 would be awesome. Is it worth the time and effort chasing faster loads than 2 secs for a small site? It would take massive changes to optimise speeds past what i've already done and I wouldn't expect to see much gains.
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    Originally Posted by KernelPanic
    Google has stated that page speed will be a ranking factor when mobile first is launched. If you call yourself a professional, and are taking money for this service you are doing your client a disservice by not addressing this issue now.
    I have 2 instances where improving page speed and the content on the mobile version of a website has improved their ranks. I think Google is more mobile first than they are letting on.
    I can quote old sites whose generic SE referrals have increased 35% year-on-year and up 110% last month vs the same a year ago. No mobile enhancement, no link building involved and no new pages. Applying your logic to these examples would indicate that G penalises mobile enhanced websites.

    There are hundreds of SEO ranking factors that have been amended thousands of times in the last year and countless numbers of new and amended web pages. If you think you can isolate one factor as the cause for a couple of sites going up or down in the rankings from all of this then I suggest you are suffering a very bad case of wishful thinking.

    "Fire-ready-aim" is not the sort of tactic this SEO professional ever recommended.

    I prefer to wait until we know what changes G makes with its new mobile index. I suggest the long development delay is a good indication that it is far more complex than tweaking load speed factors.

    SEO budgets are too precious to waste on wishful thinking and guesses.
    Last edited by JohnAimit; Aug 20th, 2017 at 04:40 AM.
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    Hi Eclipsed,
    The more info we can divulge about your search market, the better the SEO advice that can be given to you here.

    Let's start with your business being based in a western suburb of Melbourne, Australia. The number of households in this suburb is around 14,000. This is a very low competition search market. Few, if any other businesses in your industry appear to be implementing any SEO tactics.

    What is happening is that a bunch of repetitive directory site pages are grabbing 6 of 10 top pages for your suburb name +"driving lessons". A year ago I would have confidently predicted that this is likely a temporary SE algorithm aberration that is easy to outrank. Not so, at present.

    Right now we are in a period where G is trying to make its most dramatic changes since it first launched. No doubt, many ranking issues are being tested and revised like we have never seen before.

    The truth is that no SEO knows where this is going. All I can suggest is that you keep calm until we all have a better understanding of what G is doing.

    BTW, Have you experimented with Google Adwords?
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    If the site is loaded faster than 6 seconds, then everything is fine, do not give speed so much attention.

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    • IvanDrago : Six is far too long.
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    A 2 second load time is pretty good, I think visitors will stick around for that ;) What are the results from Pingdom? From what I've learned here, failure to compress images is one of the biggest things that can slow down a website, along with hosting your site on a server located abroad. If you are avoiding at least those 2 things, then that's a start...
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    Page speed for SEO = minor
    Page speed for user = major

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