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Get up to speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights

Get up to speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights

Two days ago, Google did something that most of us only talk about doing in the early throes of January – changing our look and becoming a better version of ourselves. Well, for any of you who have taken a look at Google’s PageSpeed Insights already, you will know exactly what I mean, for they have undergone not just a cosmetic revamp but an operating one too…

…It should look something like the below.

Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 09.51.02

PageSpeed Insights is a free online tool which analyses the loading times and page speeds of specific URLs, offering detailed suggestions as to how to further optimise these pages to help them run faster. Google has indicated that site speed (and as a result, page speed) is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages. Sites that load quickly are crawled more thoroughly and more consistently than slower ones.

Essentially, if you have a site which loads quickly, you are more likely to be more visible in search engines. Meaning more prospective students will be able to find your site. Which is obviously great news for all.

Thankfully this is still the case, but now it has shifted its focus more towards the real world and how real life users would find these page speeds rather than Google bots. Finally, where page speed optimisation is concerned, it seems Google is taking its own advice and is actually providing useful information on how to address page speeds for human users rather than for the benefit of search engines.

Google hopes this will help better inform digital marketers and developers and provide them with better, more meaningful recommendations.

But for all you student marketers out there, you are no doubt wondering – what new changes can I expect with Google’s PageSpeed Insights?

Well, let’s take it one element at a time:

1.Gone are the decidedly underwhelmingly named ‘Poor’, ‘Needs Work’ and ‘Good’ speed categories. Instead, they have been replaced with the cut and dry speed score categories of ‘Fast’, ‘Average’ and ‘Slow’. These scores are determined by the time in which a user can begin to see a visual response on the page and when the HTML document has loaded.

If you harbour hopes of achieving the Holy Grail of page speeds and have yourself a webpage considered to be fast, you will first have to ensure it scores within the top third for each of these categories.

2. For those of you out there not wanting to make whole scale changes to the functionality or aesthetics of your institution’s website, the ‘Optimization Score’ may be of interest to you. Here, pages are categorised as being ‘Good’, ‘Medium’ or ‘Low’, and this is determined by estimating the URL’s performance headroom.

3. The Page Stats section should be an early port of call for any digital marketer or developer happy and willing to take their webpage back to the drawing board and change the webpage’s functionality and appearance. In a nutshell, this section is responsible for describing how many bytes are used by the page to load render-blocking resources. It does this by comparing the total bytes required by the webpage to the median number of round trips and bytes used in the dataset.

4. If you are unlucky enough to have a webpage far from the desired page speeds, the next step would be to discover how to optimise these pages better. Thankfully, ‘Optimisation Suggestions’ is on hand to provide a list of best practices. However, if your page is already fast, please note that these suggestions are hidden by default.  

Undoubtedly, it will take some time before people get to grips with Google’s new take on PageSpeed Insights, but I think many will be heartened by the fact that we are now more equipped to make real, tangible differences in the page speeds from the perspective of our users.

So, if you’d like to speak to our SEO experts about Google’s PageSpeed Insights or any other aspect of your SEO strategy, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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