Website speed test – FAST-TRACK your local rankings in 2017


Your website speed can make or break your local rankings. Run a free website speed test  to see if you need to put your foot on the gas.

 

Video transcript

Website speed test – FAST-TRACK your local rankings in 2017.

In this video, you’re going to learn why the speed of your website is important, how to do a speed test on your own website in a matter of minutes and how making a few changes can increase your local rankings.

I’m Luc Durand, the founder of Ranking Academy, the place where small business owners turn for higher local rankings, more traffic and more customers.

Today you’re going to learn the most important aspects of website speed, how to read them and what you need to do to fast track your local rankings to the top of Google. All of this using a free online website speed test tool. Yes, free. Keep watching.

A few years ago web site speed wasn’t a critical factor in ranking a website in Google. But since the explosion of mobile phones and the number of people accessing the internet using a handheld device, Google has included website speed as part of their algorithm.

It’s now playing such a big part that if your site is not fast enough, it is unlikely you’ll ever reach the top of Google search results. And before you ask, looking at your website downloading on your phone or your PC is not a reliable speed test, even if it downloads in just a matter of seconds
Website speed is of particular importance to local businesses since the vast majority of their potential visitors will be finding them through a local search query on their mobile phones.

To understand what factors influence the speed of your website you first need to know exactly how Google measures speed. As it is unlikely Google will ever reveal how they rank sites based on speed, the best way to understanding the impact of website speed on rankings is by carrying out a comprehensive test on multiple sites so we can draw our own conclusions.

Before I embarked on a long test crusade, I did some research and found out that the very famous Neil Patel had already conducted a similar test on a much bigger scale I could ever accomplish. So I decided to use his results instead as they are very reliable.

For those of you who don’t know Neil, He is one of the world’s most famous millionaire marketing bloggers out there, no kidding.

Neil analysed 144 000 URLs to understand which speed factors matter for better Google rankings.

Although his study is not specifically geared towards small businesses, I believe it is extremely relevant for anyone running a local brick and mortar business as long as they have a website.

There are several standard metrics to take into consideration when measuring the speed of a web page, let’s go through them:

Website speed metric number 1:
Time to fist Byte or TTFB. In lemans terms, this is what happens when a user accesses a particular web page through a browser such as Google Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer. Time to first byte will be measured based on how quickly the web server where the web page is stored will respond to the request from the browser.

Website speed metric number 2:
Start render. The start render metric measures the time it takes for the first element of the web page to appear visually. It could be anything from the colour of the background, a piece of text or an image

Website speed metric number 3:
Speed Index:   Speed Index is the average time it takes for the various elements of the web page to be displayed to the user.

Website speed metric number 4:
Document complete or load time.  This metric indicates that the page is visually 100% complete although there may still be further activities going on in the background.

Website speed metric number 5:
Fully loaded. The fully loaded metric is calculated from the start of the initial request until there is 2 seconds of no server activity once the document is complete.

This sequence of events happens in a matter of seconds. Overall the faster your website is, the more likely it will rank above your slower competitors. Improving all of these would be beneficial but which metrics does matter the most if you had to focus on one?

Neil’s study revealed that the most important metric for higher Google rankings is, Time to first byte. TTFB  showed the strongest correlation between high ranking and website speed especially for position 1,2 and 3 in Google.

The other thing that came out of the study was that the Start render and document complete metrics put together almost equal the time to first-byte correlation with rankings.

It is, therefore, critical to improve those aspects as well if you can. Today we’ll just keep it simple and stick with Time to first byte since it is the most important one.

So far we have covered the different speed metrics Google will track and which one matters the most.  It is now time to see how fast your website is by looking at these key metrics.

Head over to www.webpagetest.org

Enter your website address, choose the correct test location as well as the browser and click start test.

You may need to wait for a minute or so before your website is processed.

Once finished, look for the first-byte result right here.
It took 0.4s for Ranking Academy to return the first byte.

Is that good or not?

It‘s hard to give an average TTFB since they could be many parameters at play. But if you‘re running a standard website you should use these figures as a reference.

  • Between 100 and 200 milliseconds:  Outstanding, well done
  • Between 300 and 500 milliseconds:  Good
  • Between 600 and 900 milliseconds: This is average, you should think about making some improvement as soon as possible.
  • Over 1 second is bad and means you’re unlikely to appear on page 1 of Google anytime soon
  • Over 2 seconds, call 999

At 0.399 Ranking Academy is in a good state.

I’m pretty pleased with my results although I am sure I can make some improvement which is what we are going to talk about now.

How can you improve your TTFB?

There are two easy ways you can improve your TTFB.
Nowadays, most web pages are made of multiple components which are stored in a database. This is typical of WordPress or any other content management system.

Each and every one of your website page is made out of multiple components such as your logo, a footer, a navigation bar, etc… Whenever a user accesses a page on your site via a browser, the server will be building the web page dynamically using the WordPress database. This process can increase your TTFB quite dramatically. Every time a new page is accessed, the server will repeat the same process

But what if your website could produce a page that is Pre-built and ready to be served?   This is what is known as caching. This process allows data to be temporarily stored on a user’s device (PC, laptop or other) meaning it doesn’t have to be rebuilt every time it’s visited.

If you are using WordPress, there is an easy way to “cach” your website pages. You simply need to download and install a plugin that will do it for you. The most popular ones are W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache  Once you’ve installed the right plugin, rerun a website speed test. You should see a significant difference on your TTFB. If you don’t feel comfortable enough doing it yourself speak to your web developer.

The second way of improving your TTFB is by optimising the configuration of your web server where your site is hosted. There are many web servers such as Apache, Internet Information Services
, Lighttpd, Sun Java System etc…and the configuration will be unique to each of them. Once again, contact your web developer for more information.

That’s it. Up to you now to increase your speed. Please remember that improving your speed alone will not earn you top spot in Google. Although it will help, there are many other factors to take into consideration.

If you like this video, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel right now. Just click on the subscribe button right here. Also, if you want exclusive technique to drive more traffic to your site that I only share with subscribers, head over to ranking academy.co.uk and sign up for the newsletter, it’s free. Now, over to you, let me know how you got on with improving your website speed by leaving a comment below.

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