Does Google really penalise slow websites…using the Google Page Speed Test Tool?
So we have carried out some research to find the answer…
This theme is becoming a common topic and for good reason – this issue crops up every week and is a hot potato that some wordpress developers don’t want to handle.
We were approached by our existing client to redesign their website. After a lengthy discussion and explaining to my client what the difference between a custom build wordpress site and using an off the shelf wordpress theme, how it effects speed, he asked us to do some investigation to enable him to make an informed decision. Obviously a custom built wordpress site is more costly then a pre-built off the shelf wordpress theme, but the benefits are self evident as we will see here – more often than not you really do get what you pay for. Read on for the results…
We conducted a simple comparison test for a number of sites by comparing the Google Page Speed Test Tool score.
For those that are not familiar with the Google Page Speed Test Tool, here’s what the UI results pane looks like
My clients site was scoring 75/100, which is pretty good, but this was a html website (no database or CMS to slow it down like wordpress).. By the way, he went for the custom built solution after showing him this research.
It’s no coincidence that all the sites scoring high on the speed test are the highest ranked sites on Google, and are ranked position 6 or higher. A high percentage of the sites are mostly scoring low, but they obviously don’t rely on organic SEO for their traffic, and they may or may not use adwords. If they are using adwords, they would also not be performing well in terms of quality score and landing page experience .(eg. they will be paying higher cost per click on average for their keywords – that there’s no doubt.)
For a site to benefit from high keyword rankings, and to compete on the first page of Google, you really need a score of 85/100 ,and to beat all other competitor sites with scores of 90/100.
Incidentally most sites score in the region of 55-65 on average.
The sites below show the Google insights speed test for each web site and the indicative score.
Competitor websites scoring well on the Google Page Speed Test Tool are also high performing for organic SEO and keyword positions
londoncleaningsystem.co.uk 85/100 (first page google for ‘cleaning services london’)
fantasticservices.com/cleaning 73/100 (first page google for ‘cleaning services london’)
thelondoncleaners.co.uk 79/100 (first page google for ‘cleaning services london’)
www.missmaid.co.uk 75/100 (first page google for ‘cleaning services london’)
www.totalclean.co.uk/ 85/100 (first page google for ‘cleaning services london’)
www.twinkleclean.co 90/100 (first page google for ‘cleaning services london’)
domesticcleaners.co.uk 81/100 (first page google for ‘cleaning services london’)
Competitor websites scoring low on the Google Page Speed Test Tool are also low performing for organic SEO and keyword positions
www.starplusservices.com 32/100 (page 3 google position for ‘cleaning services london’)
Competitor websites scoring low on the Google Page Speed Test Tool
What the other sites are built on is not relevant, if you are going to use wordpress, and score highly, it needs to be score higher than theirs, to get the maximum SEO benefit. The best option is to build a custom wordpress site.