Use WebPageTest to Create Actionable Goals for Improving Your Web Presence!
Jesse comes in with a solo episode about the importance of page speed for your website! Jesse will guide you through how to use webpagetest.org to determine your website’s loading speed, and how to use that tool to create actionable goals to improve your speed and your SEO!
Looking for more tools to improve your SEO? Check out our free SEO audit tool to give you a great idea of your web SEO and where you can put in work to improve your rankings.
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What you’ll learn
- The importance of page speed as a direct ranking factor for your website.
- Why mobile view matters when accounting for page speed.
- What to pay attention to with WebPageTest for SEO purposes.
Transcript For Using WebPageTest to Easily Check Your Web Page Speed Score for Free – 120;
Caleb Baumgartner: Welcome to Local SEO Tactics, where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I am producer Caleb Baumgartner. Did you know that page loading speed is one of the significant factors that Google takes into account for your ranking. In this solo episode, Jesse gives you a quick overview of a webpagetest.org, a powerful free tool for helping you to see how quickly your page loads and what factors may be slowing it down. This walkthrough will help you develop actionable insights to improve your web presence. Thanks for listening and enjoy the show.
Jesse Dolan: Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics, where we give you tips and tricks to get found online. I’m your host, Jesse Dolan, coming with a solo episode here today. Bob Brennan is out on vacation off grid in his new adventure van. So hopefully he is not full in his blackwater and hopefully he has plenty of juice in his battery, wherever he may be right now. So I’m coming at you today, flying solo, and we’re going to be talking about page speed for your website. Particularly, we’re going to be talking about a tool that we use all the time called webpagetest.org, literally the URL right there, webpagetest.org and walking through some of the basic features of this. It’s not going to be a super deep dive into how to kind of master this and use it for all of its technical resources. This is going to be a quick 20,000 foot view to make you aware of this resource.
Again, if you’re like a business owner or a marketing manager, maybe not doing the SEO on this, hopefully you can walk out of this being able to run your website through this, just to get an idea how it is for page speed and things like that. So you can talk to your webmaster, your design agency, your SEO pros, whoever it is about some of these things and become a little bit more educated before we get into that. I do want to mention our free instant SEO audit tool. If you’re looking to start your SEO somewhere on your website, not sure what to do first, run our audit tool on your website and on your web pages and it’s going to give you a punch list of some of the things you need to do to improve the SEO on that page, go out to localseotactics.com.
Look up on the top right corner for the yellow button for the free audit, instant SEO audit, click that it’s going to have you enter in the page. So just make sure you have the specific page you’re trying to optimize. It’s going to have you entering the page URL, if you will, and the term that you want to optimize it for. It takes a few minutes, you plugged that in hit the button. It takes a few minutes to analyze everything and then it’s going to give you a real snazzy PDF with, you know, what to fix. It’s going to give you scores in various areas and just a great punch list. For some things that you can start working on to actually improve the SEO on your website and start to improve your rankings, use it as many times as you want.
It’s completely free and you can also do your competitors. If you want to reverse engineer somebody else’s page or try to peek under the hood, it’s not going to tell you all their secrets, but when you run your page and get this PDF, you’ll kind of understand where you might want to look at one of your competitor’s pages just to kind of compare them. So check it out again, localseotactics.com, top right corner, free instant SEO audit. Use it until your heart’s content. We are happy to provide that service for you. All right. So back to the topic at hand here, talking about this great, another free resource here, just like our audit tool. A free resource here called web page test. This is a tool that we use and I’m going to share my screen here for a little bit. This is a tool that we use in addition to some others to take a look at the speed of any given webpage.
I don’t think it’s a secret that webpage speed loading times make a difference in your search rankings. Google has come out and said that is a direct ranking factor. One of only three or four direct things Google has said are for sure a ranking factor. So page speed matters. In addition to that, I think we are all in agreement at this point that mobile usage has outpaced desktop usage as far as browsing the internet in general. Now some industries that maybe hasn’t quite got there yet, but we’re at a tipping point where you’re going to have more mobile visitors on your website than desktop users. Some of you listening that happened years ago, some of you that’s maybe happening right now or will be happening this year, but the more that becomes the reality for you, the more your page speed becomes important.
Now yeah, if you’re in an urban area on 5G and you have maybe better bandwidth on your phone that I have here at Intrycks world headquarters in my house, the more power to you, then your pages are going to load on your phone pretty fast, but still for a large swath of the country out there, pages loading on mobile is not as good for speed as it is on desktop, where we have, our wifi, our hard lines and things like that. So you do have to pay attention to your page speed. Even if you, even if you know, 3G or 4G cell service, wasn’t an issue for you. Still, all things being equal, if you’re faster than your competitors page, Google should be ranking you ahead of them and I think this is kind of a loose that I should’ve pulled it up, most website visitors back out within the first second.
So if your page is slow to load, that also means aside from the actual ranking and the SEO impact, when somebody clicks on your link from Google search, if it’s not loading, if they’re impatient and they’re not seeing the stuff right away, they’re backing out you’re and they’re clicking on the next result that happens enough. Then Google will start to demote you and promote the people that are underneath you because they’re seeing you as not a good result because everybody behavioral wise keeps backing out and clicking on the next link. So underscoring, why page speed is important. Why you should care as a marketer, an SEO, or a business owner about this on your website, you need to care. It’s a factor for your SEO. It’s a factor for traffic on your page for business or your website and things like that. So now that you’re convinced, hopefully page speed is a factor.
This resource right here, and those of you watching on video, you can see it. It’s been up here for the last few minutes as I’ve been jib jabbing, webpagetest.org. This is one of many that are out there, but this is very reliable, we like it. This is a tool to test the page speed and I say page, because this is an individual page, in this case, we’re doing the homepage of surlybrewing.com. I live up in Minnesota here, Surly Brewing is in Minneapolis. Great beer, I’m a fan of beer. Maybe we should do a Surly for the next beer Friday episode here coming up. Surly furious. If anybody’s looking for a care pack, if you really want to melt my heart UPS me or FedEx meets them some Surly Furious and we’ll be best friends, its a red can.
Delicious beer. Shout out to Surly, if we’re looking to partner a little barter, SEO for beer. I’m your guy. Anyway I picked them just to kind of do an example here. They’re not a client, there’s no affiliation and sorry if I’m offending anybody at Surly by using your page here, but I just thought it would be a great agnostic page to kind of run this on and a brand that I’m familiar with. So what I did is I just plugged in the homepage for Surly and I’m not going to have you wait while it, while that runs the test for a minute or two. So I preloaded this in, before we started recording the episode here, just to have it ready to go kind of like any good cooking show. The turkey magically that comes out of the oven two seconds later, it was cooked before they started rolling.
All right. So a few things I’m going to run you through on the page here. Right at the very, very top. If you really don’t care about anything else, if you’re a business owner, marketing manager, and you don’t really know some of the granular details of SEO page speed and things like that, they make it easy right up here, stoplight colors, you’re red or green, good or bad and letter grades. You’re looking for greens and As, that’d be great. If you’re all As and green, super don’t bother anybody everything’s happening good. If you’re getting some reds, some Fs or anything in between then there’s going to be areas to address and re-done. Webpage test is really slick. I’m not going to click on these things, but you can see if I hover over it, click the grade to see a full security score detailed report.
First Byte, keep-alives, each of these is reporting a different section of things that are related to the speed here, but some of the more easy to read areas as well.
Right up here at the top of this table, they have this performance results and they kind of have them these four chunks, your overall initial stuff though, the core web vitals, the document complete times and information, and then fully loaded. Some things to note down here, and I’m going to skip ahead to, not going through each item and kind of what it means and what to do with it. That’s not the point of this episode. Maybe we’ll do that, if we get some feedback, if you guys want us to dive deeper into it, we sure can. I’m just going to point you to some of the low hanging fruit and if you’re finding that you’re scoring low, what are some of the areas to look at first where you’re probably going to find out where your problems are in a fairly easy to read and easy to digest way?
Because some of the information on this, this report here through this resource is pretty, pretty technical and may overwhelm you. So I’m just going to do some basic stuff here. Okay. So again, first thing here, you’re looking for things that are showing up in red or not looking good. See, we’ve got a lot of green, a lot, a hundred percent, some good stuff there. It looks to be, on this one here, some issues with the first byte time they scored an F. First byte here is 1.187 seconds. Some security issues. The LCP, the Largest Contentful Paint is pretty high. I guess I was going to say low, but it’s high as in, it takes a long time. So the long and the short of it is there may be some things that can be done to help this page out. All in all though, this page is pretty good.
So a lot of requests for various things here, but as far as the actual data, how it comes down and is rendered on the page, most of it is image and video. So there’s very multimedia, rich page here, which if you go on out to surlybrewing.com, you’ll see, they got a great looking homepage. Now, if we go up here and we click on details. Actually let me back up for a second. Why, why does this matter? If your page is running slow, going down here, if you’re seeing that you got some big chunks in your pie chart, that’s where it’s spending the horsepower and the resources to load that page. That’s where you’re going to look at to try to speed things up. Now, if you scroll back up to the top and click details, which a spoiler, this is just going to be the second thing I’m going to go through.
That’s it, there’s a lot of other links on here that we’re not going to explore this episode. So don’t be hanging out and waiting for this at the end. If you’re looking for me to explore some other areas, we’re not going to hear, or just diving into the details, I’ll show you a couple more spots for some low hanging fruit. So that’s this top header information is still the same between the summary and the details. You can see just a slight shift here. We get into this waterfall view. And this is a very interesting page to always look at for the results on your page speed. This is showing what is actually loading again, like I said, when you go to a webpage, you’re grabbing everything from that, effectively from the hosting company where the server is that the page and the website is hosted at. All that has to come down from that server down to your laptop, down to your desktop, Down to your phone, whatever device that you’re using. This waterfall view is going to show basically the order of those things, how they came down.
So all the requests that were made, start at 1, 2, 3, and they’re requested an order. So it shows that from top to bottom, then it’s also going to show us in this graph that goes from left to right. Again, if you’re listening on the podcast, go to our show page, localseotactics.com, and there’s going to be the YouTube video embedded in this or you can just jump onto YouTube and find it as well but if you want to see some of this, I’m talking in visual cues, you can follow along on the YouTube version. So you’re getting the listing from top to bottom in the order of the requests and then you’re seeing the file size, which is then also going to be, effectively like the loading time for the various elements that are coming down.
If you click on this, you can actually see, the actual image itself right there. So you can know which one that we’re talking about. So you can see the actual image there. Now, if you click back, takes us back to the report. You can do that for each image and there is, if I pull this little tab back up again, quick there’s more information that you can click on here and didn’t get the details on, I guess I didn’t even realize this. You can click on an object and get a little preview of that image there too. So you can know which one on page.
At any rate the point is you can click on all of these and get a little bit more information about each one. Now, where does this become useful? Let’s just say from the image standpoint, if you know that that page was loading really slow and you know that page was pretty rich on images. What you can do is use this to very quickly identify which items are the biggest and which items are taking the longest to load. It’s going to give you here the time that it takes to load, the size of the image. Again, direct references to what the image is. When you click on it, we can see down here for this video, that it’s a pretty good file size as well.
Scrolling down to the bottom of this page here as well. This is another good resource that just kind of helps you understand how this page loads really. So it says here before start render, before on-load, after on-load and it’s just going to categorize kind of like it was up top in the waterfall showing me order that these load in, because sometimes depending on your web page is set up, you may have some elements that load immediately on the page. Sometimes you may prioritize when certain things load. There is a thing called Lazy Loading for Images where the images don’t load right away, which can effectively make your page seem like it loads quicker, but just because it didn’t load all the information. So you can scroll down the page and explore more of that. Again, there’s a lot more on here. I’m going to stop sharing my screen that we didn’t get into but the intent for this is just for anybody who is not super technical to still use this tool.
When you run it, it looks very technical, but don’t be intimidated. You want to look at those ABCs up at the top, even F’s, if you’re having a problem, the color coding makes very easy to spot where you are having issues, and then you can just look down in that waterfall view under that details tab, and really see what’s loading on your page. You don’t have to know the coding. You don’t have to inspect the webpage or log into WordPress. This is a great way for you to be able to understand what’s happening. If you think your pages are slow to kind of corroborate that or to disprove it, maybe your pages are faster than you realized. The last thing I want to mention using this tool is just like our SEO audit. This is completely free. I believe there was like a daily limit on how many times you can use it if I’m not mistaken, but that being said, you can also run your competitors against this too.
So if again, if you’re sitting in number two wondering why you can’t kind of break through. You’ve tried to do your research and everything else, Hey, pull up your competitor, their page. That’s number one to your number two, run it through this here too and see how you compare on page speed. You may find that that is the last thing that you needed attack to hopefully overcome them in the SEO rankings. So, yeah. Great tool. There’s a bunch of other ones out there. If you just did a Google search for page speed, greater page speed test or things like that, I’m sure you’re going to find some other ones and maybe some look more visual.
Maybe some are more attractive to you. Feel free to explore them and check them out. We’re not affiliated or get any kind of commission or any reason to talk about webpagetest.org, other than it’s one that we’re very familiar with. One that we trust in use and had quite some time. So hopefully that helps you folks out. And again, if nothing else, I would just take a few minutes to plug your page in there. If you’re not familiar with this stuff and just see, like we say, you don’t know what you don’t know, and if this shed some light on anything for you, then you’re going to be better off for it.
All right, let’s get into our five star review the week. If you’re out there listening, and this episode maybe resonated with you or any of our previous episodes, if you’re getting value in what we do, we’d love to get a review from you to just kind of give us that virtual hug or the virtual high-five to let us know we’re making an impact for your business and giving you some good advice and some actionable advice going out to, localseotactics.com, scroll down to the bottom and click in the button for reviews and all the main platforms are there. We make it really easy. Google… Not Google Play, Google Podcasts now, Apple Podcasts, Google my business, Facebook, wherever you want to leave us a review. We’re happy to accept it and if you do leave us a review, we read them on the show, just like I’m going to do here now.
We’ve got a great five-star review from Ronald Sizemore. Ronald says I came across the Local SEO Tactics Podcast a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been devouring every episode as I drive to and from work every day, very practical advice, given in very clear and concise manner without a lot of unnecessary chatter. Super. I know sometimes we do banter a little bit Ronald between Sue, Bob and I but not as much as you’re going to get on some other shows. We try to keep it pretty topical and pretty actionable because that’s what we’d wanted as well when we listen. So appreciate the great feedback and again, everybody else we’d love to hear from you as well. That does it for this episode. I hope you folks out there have a great day and I hope this helps you out and until the next episode, we’ll talk to you later. Take care.
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