Key Issues Summary:
- Webmasters are getting over-excited about PageSpeed.
- There have been a couple of examples where people have been wondering if Time To First Byte (TTFB) and others bits are critical for ranking.
- Time to First Byte is not used for ranking, and the critical moment for Google is when a user can interact with the page (which is very tricky for Google to determine).
- They need to remember that Google is (and always has been) a relevancy engine. PageSpeed is assessed post-relevancy.
Key Actions To Take:
- Use Google’s Page Speed Insights, but remember it is at an individual page level, not at a site level.
- Remember that speed, or lack thereof, can be transitory, as servers get busy, as do routes.
- Also, remember that speed can be illusory, meaning that you can give the impression of speed without actually always being quick (eg, get the first screen painted double-quick-smart, even if your page take a while to load as a whole).
- Make sure your server and hosting package are up to the job. They will make more difference than code-fiddling, unless you have really, really, bad code.
- Finally, remember that Google’s PageSpeed is a fresh load of everything each time. If you are using cached resources, then their speed report is absolute rather than relative.
- Click here to contact me to discuss how to speed up your website properly.
Insights & Discussion:
Techie webmasters are generally foaming at the mouth over Page Speed, they can craft arcane code which shaves nanoseconds of the initial load of a cached resource. That kind of work is pointless, unless you are failing to cache things properly.
Instead of trying to make websites load more quickly, the heavy-duty coders of this world should be focusing their efforts on streamlining any code which is used dynamically, and dumping any dynamic code which could be served statically. Fat chance of that however.
In the meantime, however, we’ll have to put up with over-excited posts about how someone spent hours, days, weeks, to shave code which will never be repaid in revenue, and which would have been better spent producing something revenue-generating.
To some extent, this is just webmaster chest-beating, but it can have real-world consequences as other webmasters spend hours chasing down minimal incremental gains when they should be working on creating more revenue-generating content.
As a small additional side note, remember Google doesn’t even want to send traffic to websites. If it can show the data with no click, it will.
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