Google Pagespeed Insights
Today was my first day back at work after the Christmas break. I had 2 conversations with seperate clients about website optimisation. Both were along similar lines, predominantly around gaining and retaining good Google rankings for particular search terms.
As a result I spent quite a bit of time today working through www.whitbystoryteller.co.uk, optimising the home page in an effort to improve the site's appearance in search results. Rose has always favoured lots of vivid imagery over performance, which has been a difficult line for me to tread in building a site which reflects her and her business whilst providing a good user experience.
The current version of Rose's site is several years old now, and things have moved on considerably since it was built. Most notably the amount of internet traffic from mobile devices. Because of this, and the fact that Rose has always been responsible for adding new content to her site, the home page had grown and become bloated with too many high-resolution images.
Even before this morning's conversation we had a plan to re-build the site in a few weeks' time. But with a new tourist season just around the corner, it seemed senbile to tackle some of the issues immediately.
Google Pagespeed Insights is an invaluable tool when it comes to website performance and optimisation. Of course, it's not the only way to check your site's performance, but it does give lots of helpful feedback, hints and tips for optimisation which can really help improve load times and boost search rankings.
This morning, www.whitbystoryteller.co.uk had a mobile score of 0/100 and a desktop score of 0/100. I didn't take a screen shot, so you'll just have to trust me that it really was that bad!
A couple of hours later and the site is now scored at 98/100 for mobile users and 94/100 for desktop:
This represents a dramatic improvement in site performance. I often use Pingdom tools to check page load times alongside Google Pagespeed Insights. I didn't run a test before making any optimisations, but the site is now scored at 94% by Pingdom, which is a great result for a site containing so many images.
This kind of optmisation is sometimes referred to as 'on-page seo'. It's search engine optmisation applied directly to a site, rather than being something external like in-bound links. I made a few other amendments to Rose's site whilst I was working on it, mostly minor text changes.
Website optimisation and SEO is not a one-time fix. It's a constant process. Technology is moving on all the time and website owners need to keep this in mind. You can run your site through Google Pagespeed Insights, Pingdom Tools or any other website performance or SEO tool. Even if you don't understand the technicalities of the results, the headline scores can often be enough to show whether your site needs some work or not.
If you'd like me to check your site for problems and pitfalls please get in touch. Or, if you've run some tests on your site and want to discuss the results then please feel free to give me a call.
It's often said that prevention is better than a cure - and it's certainly true in this case. It's far easier to optimise websites a little at a time, keeping on top of any problems as they arise, than to neglect your site for too long and suddenly find your healthy Google ranking has disappeared. Your competitors aren't going to ask if it's ok for them to have your number 1 spot!