Site Performance For Webmasters

Site Performance For Webmasters


>> OHYE: Hi, my name is Maile Ohye. I work at
Google as a Developer Programs Tech Lead and I manage our webmaster central blog. I like
to help you better understand how Google approaches site performance and also to help you feel
more comfortable in taking those first steps to making your site faster. In today’s agenda
we’ll first cover the need for speed and why we at Google think speed is a primary importance.
Next, faster on the frontend: for little or no money down. It turns out that you can make
a lot of improvements to your site without investing thousands of dollars in a new architecture.
But just by some simple tweaks to your HTML. Then we’ll look at the available tools. These
are things like site performance and webmaster tools as well as page speed. Next, frequently
asked questions, and then recapping the three steps to success. And then we’ll summarize
by looking ahead and talking about the importance of performance and how it can apply to the
SEO industry as a whole. So let’s get in to the need for speed. Speed increases conversions.
In side-by-side testing of an optimized site versus the original version, the only thing
that was different was that the optimized site was faster but all the content was the
same. Shopzilla and Firefox had some interesting findings. At Shopzilla, they found a 7 to
12% increase in conversions just by making their site faster. At Firefox they had a 15.4%
increase in downloads. They estimate this means 60 million extra downloads from these
minor tweaks to landing pages. What are these minor tweaks? Firefox said that it comes down
to one factor, speed. The next need for speed is that a faster site increases user satisfaction.
Google and Microsoft ran a test where they actually gave some users delayed results.
They found that the more delay, the more unhappy the user. And you can see this in these user
satisfaction numbers. At 500 milliseconds or a half second delay, satisfaction was decreased
almost 1%. When you get up to two seconds you’re nearing 4%. In fact, these users were
so dissatisfied that Microsoft actually ended the experiment fairly quickly. The last case
I wanted to cover about why site performance is so important? Is that a slow site actually
has lasting negative effects. Google and Microsoft ran another experiment where they only implemented
less than a half second delay or 400 milliseconds. They found that for those users, that they
gave these delayed results to, they actually saw a decrease in query volume. So that continued
to trend for about seven weeks. At seven weeks they totally removed the experiment. But it
turns out that while the query volume went up for those users, it still never reached
the level even at week 11 of where they were prior to the experiment starting. So a fast
site increases conversions. It helps you have increased user satisfaction and know that
a slow site causes not only dissatisfaction but lasting effects. Because speed is so important
and because we aim to give users the best search experience possible. Site performance
is now a factor in Google rankings. Ranking is a nuanced process and there’s over 200
signals. But now speed is one of them. Know that content and relevance are still primary,
but making your site faster can also help. The good news is you can have a much faster
website on a low budget. Steve Souders, who is my co-league at Google and wrote the books
“High performance websites” and “Even faster websites”, calls this the performance golden
rule. Steve says that 80 to 90% of the end-user response time is spent on the frontend. Start
there. I found this particularly interesting because I would have thought it was on optimizing
your database or making sure that you scaled your architecture. But it turns out that so
much can be done on the frontend. And to prove this, I have a waterfall view of my website
taken from WebPagetest.org. Here, you can actually see the different request that were
made just to retrieve my homepage. So at under one second is when the content from my website
was returned to the browser. At just over one second, the browser actually started to
render my content. But then it had to make all these different requests for different
images. So the final page didn’t load until after seven seconds. So there’s a lot of improvements
to be made there. So let’s talk about some other tools that Google offers that can help
to make your site faster. First we have webmaster tools. There is a feature called site performance.
So for your verified site in webmaster tools, inside site performance, it can give you a
pretty good gauge of how your site performs. We’ll tell you the average load time as well
as how your site’s speed compared to other sites on the web. So if your site is faster
than say 95% of the other sites on the web then you might know that you can then start
to prioritize just building out content. However, if your site’s on the slower end of sites
on the web then you really know that you should make speed a priority. In addition to site
performance and webmaster tools, we also have page speed. Page speed is a firebug plug-in
that you can use on any URL. So I went ahead and did it on my own site. I ran page speed
and I was given an average score which was 75 out of 100 which is essentially my being
a “C” student. What page speed did was also tell me in priority some of the things that
I should work on. And it gave me specific recommendations under those general ideas.
So let’s take a look at this first one, leverage browser caching. So browser caching is the
idea of–and subsequent visits to a website that they don’t have to retrieve the content
again because it’s actually stored in the cache. So I went to my hosting site and looked
up “How would I make this work?” So I looked up increase caching, there on the support
pages of my hoster I see “How can I increase the time that web browsers cache my files
for?” So I went ahead and click that. I used to work on web servers a long time ago but
not so much anymore. So much of this stuff is kind of refreshing to me. So it actually
told me about setting a longer cache time. At my hoster, and perhaps likely on yours,
it’ll actually give you the syntax that you can add to your HT access file. And this is
going to help your web server to read it for configurations on how to actually implement
caching. So I saw this here, “ExpiresByType” and it gave some syntax. I just looked that
up a little bit more because I don’t want to make it just one month. But I want to make
it for years. Found the syntax here, so that’s great. So now we can pretty much just put
this in a note pad, adjust it, then I can log in to my own website, do SSH, I copy over
my old HT access file just so that I have it as a backup, and then I edit it adding
this new syntax to have now expires in caching. Terrific. Now when I rerun page speed with
these caching improvements, I can see that my overall score has improved. I went from
a “C” student to 80 out of 100 which is a borderline “B” student. This makes me extremely
happy. This caching improvement can be seen again when I go back to WebPagetest.org and
actually refetch my website. Before on the second request for my page, it still required
over seven seconds to load but now with caching implemented its 1.3 seconds. Thus far, we’ve
covered why speed is important and then the available tools that Google and others have
available to make your site faster. Now let’s cover some frequently asked questions, “Is
it possible to check my server response time from different areas around the world?” Definitely.
Thankfully, WebPagetest.org allows you to actually test retrievals from different parts
of the United States like East Coast or West Coast, as well as United Kingdom, China, and
New Zealand. The next question “What’s a good response time to aim for?” Well, first keep
in mind that if your competition is fast. Then they might be providing a better user
experience for your same audience. So it’s always good to know what others are offering.
After that, there have been studies by Akamai who found that two seconds is actually the
threshold for e-commerce site acceptability. Meaning that that’s what users like to shop
with. At Google, we aim for under a half second. The last question is “Does progressive rendering
help users?” Definitely. Progressive rendering is when the browser displays whatever content
it has available as soon as possible. So it can display at increments. And you can oppose
this to the idea of a browser waiting for seconds and then displaying everything at
once. Progressive rendering is important because it provides users that visual feedback and
helps them to feel more in control. Microsoft being actually tested this. They sent the
visual header being the logo and the search box first and then the ads and the search
results as they were calculated. Microsoft found a 0.7% increased in satisfaction with
progressive rendering. They said this was compared to a full feature roll out. But again,
this just had to do with progressive rendering not an actual feature. So how can you implement
progressive rendering on your own site? Put style sheets at the top of the page. This
allows a browser to start displaying content ASAP. We’ve covered a lot of material here.
So let’s just recap three steps to a faster site. First, check out site performance in
webmaster tools. There, you’ll get a good gauge of how your site performs in relation
to the rest of the web. And from that, you can determine whether performance should really
be a priority or whether you can actually start working on other features? Next, install
page speed. While site performance has recommendations for how to make your site faster, page speed
is much more comprehensive. And third, just explore. Check out tools like Yslow, WebPagetest.org,
or hang out in the “Make the web faster” forum. Let’s summarized by taking a look ahead at
how performance can actually impact the SEO industry if a faster site has now been proven
to increase conversions, page views, and time on site. Meanwhile, lowering bounce rate and
operating cost. In fact, Shopzilla found that by just speeding up their site, it decreased
their operating cost by 50%. So this is why I personally find performance so important
because not only is it great for users, but it actually helps provide measurable SEO value.
Thanks so much for your time today. For more information, visit code.google.com/speed.

8 COMMENTS

    Thanks alot for the information! Unfortunately the URL provided at the end of the video is no longer available.

    Hi currently writing a new blogpost on the subject pageload in relation to data as bounce rates, conversion, rates. But I cannot find any recent surveys / research results on DESKTOP #PAGESPEED, all the new blogposts are still using outdated facts form 2011! https://blog.kissmetrics.com/loading-time/

    New data on mobile pagespeed found on https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-resources/data-measurement/mobile-page-speed-new-industry-benchmarks/ But desktop still is important and I do not want to use outdated 2011 data..

    Anyone has up to date resources on desktop #pageload data?

    Is there still a "site performance" tab on Google Search Console? I am looking for statistics that compare my site's page load times with accepted averages.

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