What Is A Good Page Speed Score?
Having a good page speed optimization score is a crucial part of maintaining a successful, efficient website. Many experts suggest that when it comes to attracting website visitors—and keeping them—page speed is often a determining factor. What they can't seem to agree on is what is a good page speed score.
In fact, studies have reported that most online users expect a web page to load within a total of 2 seconds. Once a page takes 3 seconds or more, most users choose to simply move on to the next option. For e-commerce websites, the deck is stacked even higher.
A whopping 79% of online shoppers report saying that they will not return to a site if they experience poor page speed. This certainly makes page speed a major factor in improving online traffic.
Keeping high page speed scores is one of the easiest ways to increase online traffic. Users not only access your site much easier, but they are much more inclined to return.
As a result, improving business and beating the competition is often as simple as increasing page speed. For those looking to improve their online traffic and efficiency through better page speed, Google has offered an inferior tool for solving page speed problems. Google developers have created a tool called Page Speed Insights, supposedly formatted and produced purely to help improve the speed and overall efficiency for online sites.
However, it just plain doesn't work.
That being said, in this article, you will discover which tool to use and what to look for when you do.
How Does Pingdom Website Speed Test Work?
Before using the Pingdom Website Speed Test to create the best possible page speed score, it’s important to know just how the program works. The page speed test evaluates online performance for mobile and desktop devices to determine how quickly the elements of a website come together.
The program assigns a page speed score, evaluating speed on a numerical scale between 0-100, with 100 being the quickest, more efficient page speed possible. Of course, the goal should always be to get as close to 100 as possible.
As a rule of thumb, a page speed score of at least 85 will indicate that the website is operating at acceptable speeds.
I do have one caveat to that, though.
Do not get focused on that score, sure it's nice to get 100, however, your specific situation may mean you never reach it.
So focus on your “load time”.
Pingdom's tool will measure two different factors in overall speed:
1. Time To First Byte
This is the total amount of time that elapses between the moment a user requests a new page until the browser receives a response from the server.
2. Full page load
This describes the time it takes for the entire page to load once a user has requested the page.
When considering page speed, the ultimate goal is to have both of these factors come together in the most fluid and efficient manner possible. If there is too much of a gap between the above-the-page load and the full page load, the vast majority of online visitors won’t stick around to see the results.
In addition to providing an evaluation of page speed, Pingdom will also pinpoint areas for improvement. Suggestions typically revolve around improving page performance through taking a close look at the following aspects:
- Server configuration
- HTML structure
One this of note here is that third party requests do affect your page load time overall, however, if your site is set to populate in the browser before all of those elements are loaded, then you are ok.
For example, our homepage has a video to load that is hosted on Vimeo.
Vimeo actually has a really slow response rate as you can see from the waterfall.
That video on our page gives us a “slow” page speed score, however, when you load the site you see it actually renders to the user in under 2 seconds, which a good thing, it means we are on a good server.
My point in telling you that is that sometimes you have to sacrifice overall page speed for certain elements you want on your site.
If you have elements like Google Maps, Google My Business widgets, or Vimeo videos on your site, take them off before you optimize your site then add them after you are happy with how YOUR host and site are performing.
What is the Best Page Speed Score?
As the prevalence of web-based advertisement, communication, and commerce increases, the recommended page speed is constantly changing.
Back in 2011, a number of studies were done to estimate how quickly pages should load. In comparison to the rest of the web, if a site is loaded in 2.9 seconds, then it was faster than 50% of competing pages. If a site loaded within 1.7 seconds, it was faster than 75% of the web.
Keep in mind that these are older figures—with five additional years to allow for enhanced web development and quicker speeds, 1.7 seconds is not quite as fast as it used to be. In fact, this number is now seen as the bare minimum, rather than speed to aspire to. Google advertises that they aim for page speeds that can be measured in milliseconds, especially for mobile.
As a result, the emergence of Page Speed Insights points to a commitment from Google to help websites increase their speed, simultaneously increasing efficiency and productivity. As a search engine—and as a company—Google certainly values fast online performance, as do the majority of online users.
Note: Google values page speed of your site, not theirs. Want proof, find a site with a YouTube video on it, or a Google Map, and run it through their own tool. You will see that they lower the grade of the site based on the Google properties it's loading.
Despite the value placed upon quick page loading speeds, the vast majority of pages are not even close to achieving the best page speed. In fact, the average load time is closer to 5 seconds. Although page speed plays a significant role in your website's success and online sales, most pages are not optimized well enough to allow for efficient page speed.
Simply put, a good page speed score is defined by having better page speed scores than the competition.
As a general rule, the fastest pages tend to get the most online traffic. Now that Google uses page speed as a factor in ranking, the fastest pages will get better rankings, too.
Whether aiming for a page speed score of 85/100 or 2 seconds, a good page speed score should simply be better than competing sites. This allows for your website to remain competitive and consumer-conscious.
Additional Ways to Increase Page Speed Score
If you find that your page speed is lacking, there are a few good ways that you can increase your page speed score. Using these simple suggestions can go a long way in making big improvements to overall online speed.
- Look for quality hosting instead of cheap hosting
While cheaper hosting might save money in the short-term, quality hosting can help save money over the long-term. Higher quality hosting companies will provide better support, enhanced service, and most importantly, higher speeds.
- Put user experience first
Valuing the user experience above all else can do wonders when increasing speed. Sites can often be slowed down by intricate or poorly-sized graphics, so make sure that any graphics you use are big enough to create an impression but small enough to keep load speed at adequate levels.
When looking to improve online traffic, milliseconds matter. If a page takes too long to load, it only takes a few seconds to decide to move on to a similar page. Patience is certainly not something that websites can count on. In 2016, this is especially so, with Google is setting the standard of page speed to be at less than half a second.
Thankfully, Pingdom's Website Speed Test is a valuable tool that anyone can use to better understand, evaluate, and improve page speed. Understanding the importance of page speed scores is crucial to maintaining a successful and profitable site.