Building a good website for your business or personal interests takes more than just a good aesthetic. A site that looks beautiful but runs poorly will lose potential customers as visitors tire of waiting for elements to load. Website speed is so important that Google uses it as a ranking factor for search algorithms. Google has updated the Test My Site tool to give website owners more detailed information about load times on their domain.
Website speed has always been a crucial concern for site owners, but it has only grown in importance with the advent of the web-enabled mobile devices. It’s easier to notice, and become frustrated by, long load times when you’re holding the device in your hand. Additionally, mobile users are often looking for information quickly. Consumers on mobile will soon abandon a slow site in favor of another link in the search results.
While there are many factors at play, such as changing expectations due to increasing internet speeds, consumers have demanded faster websites as more people switched to mobile. During the days of desktop dominance, people expected pages to load within 8 seconds. That time has dramatically decreased over the past five years. According to SOASTA’s The State of Online Retail Performance from Google, a one-second delay in mobile load times can impact conversion rate by up to 20 percent. Google introduced the Google’s Test My Site in 2016 to help webmasters benchmark their websites.
Google recently announced multiple changes to Test My Site that makes it possible for website owners to “have a single destination to measure, benchmark and take action on mobile site speed.” Each of the announced updates will significantly help website owners improve the experience for visitors to the site.
It’s useful to look at the speed of your website as a whole but to deliver the best experience, and it’s important to look at the detailed metrics. It’s possible for a site to have good average speed, but for the most popular pages to run slowly. The updated Test My Site tool allows webmasters to measure the speed of their entire site and the speed of individual pages. The website and pages are ranked as Fast, Average, or Slow.
Since the speed of pages can change based on the elements and scripts being loaded, it’s important to check pages regularly to avoid long-term issues. With Test My Site, users will be able to determine whether their site/page speed is faster or slower compared to the prior month.
The internet is a very diverse place, and the purpose of a site can affect expectations about speed. Most people realize that a static webpage (one where the content is the same for every user) should load fast than dynamically generated pages (where the content is customized for each visitor). Similarly, web apps will be slower than traditional websites, since there is more data being shared. Test My Site accounts for this by telling site owners how their speed compares to other sites in the industry. To help sell website owners on the value of speed improvements, Google provides estimates for the potential impact of site speed on revenue.
Benchmarking is a crucial part of getting a site where it needs to be, but knowing is only half the battle. Knowing your site is below industry standards is useful, but it’s essential that website owners take steps to improve their scores. To help websites reach the speed s the need, Google gives Test My Site uses a detailed list of recommended fixes to increase speed (on up to five pages on their site). And to help put this plan into action, the compiled report from Test My Site can be shared with members of the web team.
The latest updates to Test My Site makes the tool more useful to website owners, and it was already pretty useful. If you haven’t ranked your site for speed in a while, now is a good time for a performance update.
For more news about updates and changes to Google, read this article on expanding ad options for Google video ads on YouTube.