Setting the website Optimisation stage
For one of Singapore’s leading legal companies, we just created a new 1,400-page website. The task was enormous: we had to reduce the website’s page count from 17,000 to 1,400! Some of you who are reading this might wonder: “Why would you want to get rid of that much information? Content is really valuable.” The problem is, those 1,400 pages we preserved accounted for 97 percent of all organic search traffic. The remaining 15,000 pages were merely noise and a problem for the firm’s content managers in the marketing department.
The website Page Speed numbers were so slow
But let’s get to the point of this essay. We were astonished by the Google site speed ratings after we finished this content filtering and published the site. They were really low.
In the Western world, Google virtually dominates search, and how people feel about your website’s speed has a big impact on how they rank you in their search engine results pages, or SERPs. Google PageSpeed Insights is the tool that Google gives to test your pages.
Following our advice, the clients requested that the site we’d recently created be developed in WordPress. We use WordPress for a variety of reasons, including the fact that it is easy to manage frequent updates, and we have a lot of expertise with WordPress and building fast sites. But no matter what we tried, we couldn’t get the Google PageSpeed statistics to improve, particularly on mobile. We were completely taken aback by this event. After launch, our sites typically require some kind of optimization, but this was excruciatingly slow. We initially assumed it was because the site was so huge, and we’d had to include so much functionality to efficiently handle the volume of information. As we investigated small error after minor error, we discovered that this assumption was incorrect. We utilised a variety of debugging tools, with SEMRush and Google PageSpeed Insights assisting us the most.
Our development team had reached a point where they were ready to give up. We had gone well over budget on the job’s optimisation position, and the project manager, who was held accountable for keeping tasks on budget, was screaming blue murder at this point. Our development team had either made a critical error in the site’s creation or something else was wrong.
We could not achieve our promised results
I had heard about the problems the team was having in the corridors of our agency at this point, but I hadn’t gotten engaged yet. Then, before it got to the customer, a performance report came across my desk for double-checking. I had a nervous breakdown! If we delivered them this report, the customer, who had paid a considerable sum and put in 6 months of hard effort, would have a nervous breakdown! We didn’t get the outcomes we promised. To close the transaction, we had emphasised the benefits of a new website’s speed and SEO.
We’ve built our firm on facts and ROI-based digital marketing throughout the years, and I’m confident that our team is as excellent as any professional web development team out there. So, what happened?
Using Page Speed: Compare
First and foremost, I used Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to evaluate a couple of the pages. I also used SEMRush to optimise the site. The figures that the team included in the report were correct. What was going on, yet again?
I opened a spreadsheet and began entering the numbers into it. I then repeated the process for a couple of their competitors, and was startled (and delighted) to see that the firm’s competitors had lower ratings! I put some of the UK’s biggest 5 law firms through the Google Page Speed test, and was surprised to find that our site was on par (or often even better) than theirs. Even though something had changed and Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool was now showing significantly different findings than when we started the project, I had discovered a method to publish our fantastic results.
Google’s Page Speed Tool measures ‘page’ speed, not site speed
Now, most people neglect this important aspect of the Google PageSpeed tool. The tool assesses ‘page speed’ rather than ‘site speed.’ This means that if you want to assess ‘site speed,’ you must take measurements of several pages and average them. It’s crucial to take the same average measurement from comparable or competing websites to make this average relevant.
How to compare sites
The ‘home page,’ ‘practise area page,’ and ‘article/news page’ are the most essential pages for law firms. I gathered data from all of the cohorts in South Africa and the United Kingdom, and was happy to see that our website’s average page speed score was greater than any of them. Finally, I added Apple.com to the mix (to add to the control). I utilised their home and content sites, then switched to the iPhone product page for the practise area. Yes, it’s the most well-known product on the globe, and I was startled by the findings, which were very low — far lower than I expected.
Another thing to consider when it comes to page performance is that older websites with few pictures, jQuery, and other visual web technologies tend to have a high page speed score but a poor user experience. It’s an artful balance to strike between lightweight code and few pictures and a wonderful user experience created by attractive images and visual elements that make a site enjoyable to use. It’s a delicate balancing act that excellent UX designers and developers excel at.
A quick word of a lightweight web
Google is setting the bar high for the contemporary web, as it should be. We need more horsepower to run the web because of the growth of high-quality media on the modern online. Fast, lightweight information is essential for spreading knowledge to all corners of the globe. The lightweight web technology is clearly being driven by Google’s AMP technology.
In closing: Don’t take the number at face value compare
Don’t get too worked up over the figures. Despite the fact that our customer received a website that was fully optimised, we most likely went beyond. If you’re going to utilise tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or SEMRush Site Health, compare your results against those of other sites in your cohort, not just your own. Numbers on their own are useless.