Lee Heidel

Page Speed and Search Results

Google Logo officially released on May 2010

Image via Wikipedia

Google has been making it very clear of late that page speed is a significant contributor to search results listings. To help website owners, Google has released its own tool to help you evaluate your website's speed, appropriately named Page Speed. In addition to displaying some general information about  your site, it also provides you with a speed score for comparison with other websites and suggestions that may make your site load faster.

Your Page Speed Score is easy enough to evaluate. The closer to 100, the better. It doesn't measure or evaluate your page load time per se. Instead, it evaluates how much room for improvement Google perceives in your existing website code and associated elements (like CSS, javascript and images).

The suggestions for improvement aren't always as simple to comprehend. Some of these suggestions are easy enough to implement and fall in the "common sense" category. Make sure your images are properly optimized, for example. But, if you're not a server admin, tips like "leverage browser caching" can be a roadblock. And if you're not a web developer or graphic designer, the idea of "combining images into CSS sprites" can be overwhelming.

An important thing to remember is that this is an automated tool. Therefore, it sometimes makes mistakes or offers suggestions that are not practical or even possible in every instance. Make sure to work with your web developer and server administrator to implement the solutions that will work best for your website, CMS (like Movable Type or Wordpress) and publishing environment.

Page Speed is available as an online tool and as a Chrome extension. The Chrome extension seems to be much more responsive and immediately reflects changes to website code, whereas the online check seemed to cache evaluated websites for a longer period.

If you have any questions about Page Speed and optimizing your website, we'd love to hear from you. Let's talk.