We recently talked about how page speed affects SEO, specifically how it helps the page to rank better and also convert better. As with all improvements, we always begin with understanding the current status. Page speed is typically measured through page load time or time to first byte. Page load time refers to the duration it takes to fully display the content of the page. On the other hand, time to first byte refers to the time it takes for your browser to start receiving information from your web server.
In today’s article, we are introducing 5 tools to measure page speed, so you can get an idea of where your site stands. Other than measuring page speed, some of these tools also provide suggestions for improvements. Ready? Let’s go!
We are kick-starting the list with tools developed by Google itself. (Remember, for any SEO tools, it’s always good to take a look at what Google provides!)
1) Google Chrome DevTools
You may be unaware, but our first tool on the list is available on Google Chrome itself.
To access it:
1) Right-click and select “Inspect” (or press Ctrl + Shift + I) on the page that you want to measure page speed. An extra section should appear on the right side of your window (Figure 1).
2) Click on the “Performance” tab at the top of the section followed by the reload button to record your page speed (Figure 2). Voila! Your page speed should be reflected in the “Summary” portion located at the bottom (Figure 3).
2) Google PageSpeed Insights
The PageSpeed Insights Tool analyses both the desktop and mobile version of the URL entered and calculates a PageSpeed score ranging from 1 – 100. The higher your score, the better it is speed optimized. According to the score, the tool provides suggestions to fix various page elements in order to improve your page speed (Figure 4).
3) Google Analytics – Site Speed
Setting up Google Analytics is crucial in order to gather important data for SEO. The Site Speed section in Google Analytics automatically collates page speed data of all the pages on your site for easy reference. On the interface, select Behaviour > Site Speed > Overview to see a summary (Figure 5) and select Page Timings to view the data for individual pages (Figure 6).
The main indicator of page speed here is average page load time. This tool is useful because it not only measures but also organizes the data to form meaningful insights. For example, using the comparison tab, you can easily spot the pages on your site which are slower than your site average. (That’s the pages that need improvements!) Additionally, you can also view PageSpeed score and suggestions within Google Analytics by selecting Speed Suggestions.
4) Pingdom Website Speed Test
Pingdom is a free online tool with page speed analysis. Apart from page load time, it also provides a waterfall breakdown, page analysis based on content type and domain, as well as some tips to speed up your page. By simply sorting the waterfall based on load time, you can pinpoint the page elements which should be improved on. Sign up for a free account and the tool also saves previous analyses for ease of tracking performance history.
GTMetrix is another online tool that evaluates your page speed. It is more detailed than Pingdom as it checks both Google PageSpeed and Yahoo YSlow scores to determine the speed optimization status of your page. Based on the scores, it also makes recommendations on how you can improve. Similar to Pingdom, it also offers a waterfall breakdown and historical results.
In addition, as a registered user (free!), you gain access to other useful features. This includes a video playback that enables you to identify the page elements which are slowing down your page speed. Also, there is an AdBlock Plus option so you can see the impact that ads have on your page load time.
Now that you are clear about the current status of your pages, the next step is to work on implementing the suggestions provided. Our next article will feature specific tools that can help with some of the common improvements involved. Not sure how to do that? How about letting some SEO professionals take over? We are more than happy to help!
Zachary is a Business Development Executive in Appiloque. In the after-hours, he serves as a Division Agent, taking back the city of New York when all else fails.