Landing a top ten spot in the Google search results for any given keyword is only the first step to increasing your site’s conversion rate. Once prospects take a look at your website, you probably already know that you need to present them with an accessible, highly-optimized webpage to get them to stay on your webpage for more than a few seconds. In fact, in the first five seconds after a user clicks on your webpage in search results, conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of load time.
Using a tool like the Google PageSpeed Insights Scoring Tool can help you determine how fast your page loads. A perfect score of 100/100 is ideal for the highest conversion rate possible. Let’s review how the Google PageSpeed Insights determines your score, and a few tips for achieving a 100 score on Google PageSpeed Insights.
How does the Google PageSpeed Insights scoring tool work
The Google PageSpeed Insights tool is a program used to analyze, rank, and score the performance of your site. The site can help you determine the loading speed of your site across various platforms, including iOS, Android, and PCs. As mentioned, having a good loading speed is critical to improving your site’s conversion rates. The highest e-commerce conversion rates occur on pages with load times between 0-2 seconds, and consumers’ opinions back up the statistics. Almost 70% of consumers say that pages’ loading times impact their willingness to buy from an online retailer.
Why is my Google PageSpeed Insights score important
A site’s loading time, both on PC and mobile, is highly correlated with the number of people who not only stay on the site for more than a few seconds but also highly correlated with the number of people who actually end up making a purchase. You might be surprised to learn how many people turn away from websites because of high loading times; if a mobile site's loading time is more than three seconds, it is likely to lose 53% of its users. At the same time, though, the average website’s loading time is as high as 22 seconds. As such, to stand out from competitors and ensure that prospects stay on your site and actually take the time to look at your content, you should take care to lessen your load times.
The Google PageSpeed Insights Scoring Tool is a great way to benchmark your website’s loading times on PC and mobile. Furthermore, because it presents information to you in a simple and easy-to-understand way, you can track changes in your website’s success both immediately after you make changes and over time.
Google PageSpeed Insights Scoring Tool scores
The Google PageSpeed Insights tool ranks pages on a scale from 0-100, depending on how well they perform. A higher score means that a page is highly optimized and performs well both on mobile and PC platforms.
The tool ranks pages into three distinct categories:
- Good (80-100): There are few to no ways in which the page could be further optimized. The site loads quickly is not bloated with too many excess elements and follows best practices. Pages that fall in the Good range tend to have high conversion rates.
- Medium (60-79): The page is somewhat optimized. The site loads fairly quickly, but there are some aspects - such as poorly optimized images, excess code, or tender blocking - that prevent your page from falling into the Good range. Pages that fall in this range tend to have varying conversion rates, depending on the severity of issues and whether they impact PC or mobile users.
- Low (0-59): The page is not optimized. There are many ways in which the page could be updated and optimized to perform better. Pages that fall in this range tend to have low conversion rates.
While your page will receive an overall Google PageSpeed Insights score on a scale of 0-100, you will also receive specific information about each page metric.
How to improve Google PageSpeed Insights score
While your Google PageSpeed Insights score might be different from what you wish it was the first time you run your site through the tool, it is thankfully not challenging to improve your Google PageSpeed Insights score. You can optimize your webpage in numerous ways to quickly lessen your load times. The Google PageSpeed Insights Tool should provide you with specific tips for optimizing your website, but here are a few low-effort, high-impact changes that absolutely anyone can make.
As you might know, the size of the image files you use on your site contributes to your web pages’ load times. According to Google, through compressing images and text, 25% of pages could save more than 250KB and 10% can save more than 1MB. Using less data means your pages will load faster.
There are multiple ways to compress the images on your website, thus decreasing your load times and likely increasing your conversion rate.
- Manual compression - If you don’t have a lot of images on your website and only need to compress a few of them, manual compression is one option for you, though it still may not be the best one. To manually compress your images, you can open them in software like Photoshop to resize, compress, re-save, and re-upload your media to your website.
- Image optimization plugins - If you use Magento to power your site, you can easily install and use image optimization plugins to immediately compress your images. If you go this route to optimize your images, you won’t need to download any software like Photoshop to manually edit each picture.
- Online image optimizers - If your site isn’t on Magento or you don’t want to use a Magento plugin for any reason, a good alternative is an online image optimizer like Compress JPEG or Optimizilla. Using these free sites, you can upload and compress as many as 20 images at once.
- The file size of your images is one of many factors contributing to load times. You should also alter your images' display size and file type to ensure that they load as quickly as possible and take up minimal resources.
When developers write code for a website, they write comments and add extra information and attributes to add context. Extra lines of HTML in the code might be helpful for those developing the website, but it can slow down web pages’ load times once they go live. As such, it is best to remove extra code before setting a page live to minimize load times. The process of removing excess HTML is called minifying HTML.
Just as you can minimize images manually or use an easier alternative, you can either minify your HTML yourself by opening the code and removing extra attributes and comments, or you can use plugins or programs to help you.
Here are just a few of the ways you can minify your code and improve your page speeds:
Utilize browser caching
Browser caching temporarily stores recent web pages in browsers, allowing them to load more quickly when opened again. Caching is a best practice that speeds up your site. When you cache files, your computer only needs to retrieve them again from its own database, not from online servers. To enable browser caching, you’ll need to mark certain parts of your page as data intended to be cached. These aspects of your page will then update at the intervals you’ve set.
Limit the impact of third-party plugins
You probably use at least some third-party scripts and plugins on your site, even if you don’t think about it. For example, if you track page statistics using Google Analytics, embed YouTube videos, or embed Twitter posts or Facebook posts, you use some form of third-party script on your site.
Third-party scripts can be helpful for tracking, storing information about your site, and uploading content, such as in the case of YouTube embeds. Thankfully, most of them are optimized to take up as little space as possible while continuing to perform their job. That said, they can slow down your site if they load before the rest of the content on your page.
There are a few ways you can limit the impact of third-party scripts on your load times:
- Locally host any third-party scripts you can.
Use redirects wisely
Redirects are used to direct traffic from one page to another. They are often used when a page has been moved and recreated or deleted entirely. Redirects can be helpful for assisting people who navigate your website and ensure that none of your traffic ends up on dead pages, but overusing them can significantly increase the amount of time it takes to send data to the server and back. As such, to improve your pages’ load times, it is best to use redirects only when necessary.
Load times have a huge impact on your web pages’ conversion rates. In fact, an overwhelming majority of consumers state that page speeds are a factor in their decision to make a purchase. You can use the Google PageSpeed Insights Tool for more context and information about how well your page is optimized. Reaching a Google PageSpeed Insights score of 100/100 might seem intimidating, but the benefits are more than worth the effort you’ll need to put in; you’ll likely increase your conversion rates while improving customers’ experiences and impressions of your business across the board.