It is important to understand and know about a few of the page speed SEO tools and the metrics that can help us optimize our website.
A few years back, most of the websites used to be heavyweight. It would contain lots of widgets, drop-down menus and high-resolution pictures. However, after Google introduced Page Speed as one of the factors in its search ranking algorithm all has changed. Modern websites are sleek with minimal features, with a few widgets and banners.
In this section, we are going to learn about some of the tools that we are going to use to measure page speed and related metrics.
The first tool we need is the PageSpeed Insights tool and it is from Google itself.
Google PageSpeed Insights Tool:
This tool apart from measuring the page speed gives you many recommendations that you could implement to improve the page speed. Since the recommendations are from Google itself, it needs to be taken seriously. However, you don’t have to chase 100/100 PageSpeed score, and can do very well with just a green tick. It measures the page speed both for a mobile and desktop version of your website.
I am repeating again you don’t need to chase 100 out of 100 scores because at the end of the day what matters is the load time and not this page speed. However, try implementing all the suggestions from Google only and not from any other tools such as GTMetrix and Pingdom tools.
The second tool in our list is the WebPageTest. Sometimes even after optimizing the page speed to 100/100, we may not get the best loading time. You may be getting a load time of 5-6 seconds. Then in this scenario, the WebPageTest tool gives you further recommendations that you can implement on your website to improve the Page Loading time.
This tool doesn’t give a score. Rather give grades for your website. It gives a grade for 5 different features in your website such as First-byte time, Image compression, cache static content, etc. It also gives you a tick mark if your website is utilizing the CDN feature properly.
This tool gives you many crucial information such as First-byte time or repeats view load. There are multiple load times, but the one you need to care about is the load time under repeat view. Ignore other load time and just care about the one that is marked in the picture below.
One more metric that is important for us to understand is the First Byte time. It is the time taken for the first byte to reach from your server to the user’s browser. Improving this measurement can drastically improve your loading time.
This tool has given my website A grade for First Byte time with the actual time being around 0.5 seconds. Google recommends it to keep this under 200 milliseconds. Much of this depends on the type of server you are using and the HTTP protocol. Though I use CDN with HTTPS for my website, it is hosted on shared hosting. So, you cannot expect it to improve further below 0.5 seconds.
This tool gives us a lot of information such as performance grade, performance insights and a lot more. However, I recommend you ignore all these and just care about the two things. Page Size and Load time are important to us.
Try reducing the page size to improve your loading time. You can see my loading time has slight variations when measured through this tool as compared to the one measured from WebPageTest. Both are correct and the variations can be attributed to many factors such as the browser used and the location of the user.
Let me give you a few benchmark timings which you should aim for.
For the WebPageTest tool, 3 seconds load time under Repeat view is the maximum. But if you can get it under 2 seconds, that would be an ideal. This is only possible if you use a minimalistic page speed-optimized theme.
For Pingdom tools, aim to get a load time under 1.5 seconds. But anything under 2 seconds is a good benchmark.
There are many other page speed SEO tools such as GTMetrix, but I highly recommend avoiding these tools as they are very unreliable. It shows different measurement every time you retest the website.
From the next section, we start optimizing our website. But I highly recommend you measure and note all the values before starting with the next section. So that you can compare the results when we have completely optimized our website.
Link to Page Speed Testing tools