Use Google PageSpeed on Your Site

Why?

The short of it - speeding up your website is a great thing to do all round. It improves visitor experience, retention, and conversions. With data mobile browsing becoming increasingly popular, saving those extra few KB to download can make a big difference to your users.

On April 9th 2010 Google officially announced the inclusion of a new “signal” in their search ranking algorithms. You guessed it, page speed. So it goes without saying that using Google PageSpeed on your site could also improve your search engine rankings.

It’s free?

Yes and no, Google are in it for the €€€ in their Irish pocket. The Google PageSpeed Insights are currently (and I imagine will always be) free, but the Google PageSpeed Service is only a limited free trial. Lose wait that way and the pounds are sure to drop off.

Insights vs Service

The Insights allow Google to analyse your website and generate suggestions to help make it faster. The PageSpeed score is any number up to 100 (the higher the better, but Google have suggested you should aim for 85 and above). They also colour code suggestions to help you see which changes will give you the highest impact and potentially quick wins (they’re red). Their current suggestions are mainly:

  • Eliminate external render-blocking Javascript and CSS
  • Avoid landing page redirects
  • Leverage browser caching
  • Enable compression
  • Reduce server response time to < 200ms
  • Minify HTML, CSS and JavaScript
  • Optimise images

200ms Response

Some of the Insights guidance is (probably intentionally) tough to follow and may also be constrained by the technology or hosting you’re using. Do not fear, Google is here, with their quick and easy, automated service. Alternatively, you could just use a Static Site Generator with some sensible hosting. I’ll probably go over some of the more tricky suggestions at a later date.

Don’t just do it once

Do it every night if you can - and make sure you’re always on top. As for PageSpeed Insights, because the web is fast paced and continually evolving, they’re iterative. Just like the main search algorithm, expect the PageSpeed algorithm and suggestions to change frequently.

This blog

Bragging time again. This site currently (at the time of writing) has a desktop PageSpeed score of 97/100. That’s better than Facebook, Twitter, ebay etc and equal to Google’s own score for Google.com. Yey for me.