While Google PageSpeed should not be the core focus of analyzing whether or not your site is optimized for SEO, there are times when it is very important to look into what could be slowing your site down. After all, you don’t like waiting. So why would your customers?
Additionally, there have been updates in the analysis method and score results.
Google Pagespeed Got a Makeover
Google recently updated the way that they are analyzing PageSpeed, providing more in depth information and benchmarking the speed of your site to other sites on the net. This makeover is powered by an open-source tool called Lighthouse. You can learn more about the updated PageSpeed analysis here.
Instead of providing arbitrary rankings for optimization and load time that was often unavailable, you now are able to see how your site lines up on a score from 0-100.
Recommendations are also more pointed and every suggestion has hover-over info to provide additional information with supporting links.
This is all wonderful, but sometimes this information can still be misleading, especially for websites built on CMS platforms. So, you should pair the information you receive from Google with either Pingdom or Chrome’s Developer Tools to confirm the recommendations. Your CMS platform’s support center or the developer that built your site can further assist on how to implement the recommendations if you are unable to do so.
Using Google PageSpeed gives you an invaluable insight into how the largest search engine is understanding and rating your site, so I always recommend leveraging the free tools that Google provides. This does not mean that you should treat that information as gospel!
PageSpeed and Shopify
Fortunately, if your site is built on a CMS platform like Shopify, most of the PageSpeed optimizations are built into the platforms. However, there are still a few things that you can do on your own to ensure that you are not needlessly slowing down your site (also covered by Chase in the previous post):
- Optimize image file sizes prior to uploading them and while you’re at it customize the image file names so that they describe the image (SEO bonus point)
- Use Shopify Hosting Service - the built in CDN ensures that load times are minimized
- Limit Custom Fonts - not only is this going to complicate your on- and offline marketing efforts, it is another thing for browsers to load on your site, meaning more time
- Limit apps - use only the apps that are going to make your life easier and improve your processes, but keep in mind each app you add is adding on to your load time.
Now that you have the basic understanding of the new Google PageSpeed score and how to evaluate the recommendations, when should you look into your website score?
- You experience a lag when visiting your site or customers have complained
- You have noticed your organic traffic has suddenly decreased dramatically
- Your bounce rate has drastically increased
- You recently made significant changes to your site or changed your theme
In conclusion, Google PageSpeed DOES matter… sometimes
While I wouldn’t go as far as saying that you should straight up ignore Google PageSpeed, you don’t need to worry about it if your site is running on Shopify. There are enough things for you to worry about as an ecommerce shop, don’t needlessly worry about PageSpeed. If you are experiencing lag when you visit your site or a sudden spike in your bounce rate, PageSpeed is an invaluable source in determining what you can do to improve your site experience, but take what you learn with a grain of salt and compare the findings with Pingdom or Developer Tools to verify the recommendations.
Krystine Monnett is the founder of Holistic Marketing LLC., offering a range of Digital Marketing Services including SEO, Marketing Consulting, and Squarespace Site Design.