This time last year (September 2021), we were busy preparing to launch a long-awaited new website for BeeVital, our propolis brand. I was not responsible for building the website - an external agency had been hired to do the work long before I joined Nature's Laboratory.
Once the site was launched it quickly became apparent that it had not been built with performance in mind. And this is problem.
Since 2018 Google has been using landing page speed as a ranking factor. Chances are, unless your content is entirely unique, you're not going to rank well if your site is slow.
I've spent a good deal of time over the past several months optimising the BeeVital website. This covers both the speed of the site and it's capacity to turn visitors into customers - but I'll cover that in another post.
For now, it's enough to say that by pursuing performance and producing well-written blog content the site is performing far better than it was even a few months ago and things are looking good for the autumn/winter, which we expect to be our busiest time of year.
You Can Measure Your Site's Performance
Measuring your site's performance is pretty easy these days. My recommended tool is the Lighthouse plugin for Google Chrome.
Once installed you can generate reports for any page on your site, covering key performance indicators (all stuff Google uses to determine how to rank your site):
- Best Practices
You'll get a score out of 100 for each category. I aim to hit at least 90 in each. Below are some current reports for different pages of the BeeVital site.
A Product Page
A Blog Post
These reports are correct, for desktop users, as of 2/9/2022.
The next tool you'll want to setup is Google Search Console. With this monitoring your site's search visibility you're ready to make and monitor changes to your site which will yield results. Here's a current graph from my Google Search Console dashboard:
The purple line is 'impressions', the blue like is 'clicks'. Impressions is the number of times a page from your website has appeared within a list of search results, where it has the potential to be clicked. 'Clicks' is, well, actual clicks through to your site, so this should correlate with your analytics. We use self-hosted Matomo for that.
The graphis above demonstrate around a 600% improvement in search visibility and clicks in a 6 month period (March to August 2022). I'm hopeful we'll continue to see this type of improvement over the next six months, which would yield around 24,000 daily impressions and perhaps 250 organic search clicks per day. This would be a major success for our small niche brand.