Why Worry About Google PageSpeed When Even Amazon Isn't?

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Hey everyone!

I know a lot of people are fearful of low Google PageSpeed Scores, to the point of halting their website/business progress to focus on the intricacies of trying to get 100/100 ranking. But some of these efforts are likely being done in vain, and while important, I want to ease your "PageSpeed" brain if this has been a big worry for you.

First off, what do PageSpeed Scores actually mean. Many folks think these scores are the end-all-be-all for their websites when, in reality, it's can be a bit more nuanced than that. PageSpeed Scores are a measurement of how quickly content on your page loads.

But this isn't just about raw speed; it's also about user experience. Google certainly considers it when ranking sites, but it's only part of the picture. Quality and helpful content is always going to prevail, as no magic "pagespeed" number will guarantee a top spot in search rankings, especially if the content doesn't provide value to the user.

A slow site with exceptional content typically outweighs a fast site with poor content in the eyes of both users and search engines.

When you build websites here at WA, you can expect your websites to be fast, in fact, 99/100 or 100/100 out of the box.

Here is an example site that I built here, and the associated scores.


You can't get higher PageSpeed scores than this. Of course as you start to add content (primarily images/video), and things like Plugins and different Themes, these can all contribute to a slower ranking.

Now, if you want to assess your own PageSpeed Scores, Google provides a handy little tool for this, which you can find at pagespeed.web.dev. You can check out your website scores, and individual ratings on your posts.

The importance of contextual interpretation of PageSpeed Scores can't be overstated. High scores are not a free pass to the front page, and low scores don't necessarily mean you're out of the race. Your website is more than just a number, and it demands a holistic look to really determine what improvements can be made. So, don't worry too much about scoring perfect marks.

Now, speaking of low PageSpeed Scores, let's talk Amazon. This e-commerce GIANT isn't exactly acing the PageSpeed test, especially on mobile, where their score hovers around 30 out of 100, well below the threshold many SEO gurus "preach".

And yet, Amazon continues to dominate online retail, and in many cases, rankings. I want to take a look at a few examples...

The Amazon Phenomenon. Ranks Well, Despite Low PageSpeed Scores.

I'm going to let you in on a secret—PageSpeed isn't the be-all and end-all of website success; just look at Amazon, and what the pagespeed scores are on their product pages. In this case, I am going to have a look at the Resinta 10 Pieces 8 Ounce Stainless Steel Cups product page.

You can see mobile is only 30 out of a 100.

Page speed on desktop is marginally better (37 out of 100), certainly not close to our over 80+ goal that we have for mobile and desktop.

Pretty surprising for such a digital heavyweight.

But, but but...if I type this search term into Google, the Amazon page is ranked #1 overall in the natural SERP's.

Mind you, this isn't an ultra-competitive search phrase, but Amazon is ranking under all variations of this phrase at the top of Google's search results.

This suggests that Amazon knows something important: speed is a factor, but it doesn't trump everything. They focus on a reliable user experience, vast selection, and convenience—which pays off more than just a fast load time...and sometimes requires a slower load time to make happen.

Google is after relevance...and quality. That supersedes a lower performance rating in terms of load times for a website.

I think there's a valuable lesson in Amazon's approach for all website owners. Sure, strive to improve your speed, but also focus on building your brand, providing excellent service, and ensuring your site delivers a valuable experience to your visitors. That's the kind of strategy I recommend you leverage.

Crafting Your Successful SEO Strategy.

SEO isn't just about numbers and algorithms, it's much more about creating a well-rounded, user-friendly experience. Sure, PageSpeed is a piece of that puzzle, but it is not the only one. High-quality, authoritative and helpful content is where the focus should be, and leave the speed to us and our state-of-the-art hosting.

You're going to find out that the most successful websites don't always have the highest PageSpeed Scores, even under some of the most competitive search terms. We can seek out other examples of this through a highly competitive search term like "make money online".

When I perform this search, the first result that comes up is a post by NerdWallet.com.

You would think under one of the most competitive search terms out there, that Google would demand a 90+ Performance score. While NerdWallet.com achieves a 96 on Desktop, their mobile score (which they also rank #1 in Google for), has much to be desired at 46 out of 100.


And I have checked many other examples, indicating that Performance is certainly not the "de facto" ranking mechanism that Google uses.

If Google had two pieces of content that head to head were the same quality, you would probably see them lean more towards the site that had a higher performance score, but that is an untold story, and very much an assumption.

So aim for high scores, yes. But don't let a little bit lower score ruin your day though, because if you are producing high quality content you are going to be able to outrank the best of the best.


Share your thoughts, opinions and questions below. Let's get this conversation rolling on Google PageSpeed and it's impact on rankings and the level of priority of "speed" made within their ranking algorithm.

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Recent Comments

82

Thank you. My theme uses a lot of plugins. It's a buggy theme and not a lot of folks are happy with it, but even though I look around often for a competitor, to date, there are none that offer the functionality they do for the type of site I'm trying to build. The low page speeds have been doing my head in, so I'm happy to be able to focus much less on those and actually continue building.

This was a great to-hear post, Kyle.

I use a couple of these speed test sites, which give me conflicting reports, but the bottom line is that my site only scores 100 on SEO.

Everything else needs work, and despite my best efforts (e.g., removing unused Plugins and compressing images before they get uploaded), I am not winning.

It isn't very encouraging.

But the one thing that is secure is the Value of the content, as I am pursuing authority in my niche.

So I will focus on that, and seeing that Amazon is in the same boat, I will stress less about it.

Again, thank you; this was well-timed and needed.

Dino





I aim toward quality, although I used to freak out a bit that some of my pages were a bit slower than 80. Most of them are good speed. But speed isn't my first priority, it is good, reliable and valuable content. I don't know if "content is king" but when I go to a site that I am interested in, I will wait a bit for it to load.

Karin

Yeah, you are doing just fine. If your website loads really slow, it won't rank...but you don't have to worry about that here with our hosting as you are getting world class hosting and caching to help you run the fastest in the industry.

Now if you combine that with quality content, and a bit of authority you are going to start to see penetration in the search engines. ;)

Thanks, Kyle. I appreciate the confidence boost!

Karin

I take your point, but as others have mentioned, domain authority is also at play here. Also, most of our sites point to Amazon, which makes their backlink count ridiculous, lol.

Also, site speed is as much about visitor retention as it is rankings. Faster websites encourage repeat visits. After all, no one is in a hurry to bookmark sites that take ages to load unless the content is priceless.

However, your point holds because creating quality content must come before chasing pagespeed rankings and other glossy features. Spend time getting useful content made rather than money on fancy speed optimisers. It's a fair point.

That said, I don't think it pays to lose sight of pagespeed. An edge is an edge, after all. Optimization plugins can save you and visitors a headache wondering... why... everything... is... so... slow!

Of course it is, authority will make a difference as well. A "tie" though, speed will make a difference and Google will not index or rank low performing websites.

Backlink count has VERY little importance these days, though some old school blackhatters will tell you otherwise. The writing is on the wall, Google is chasing longer tailed content...as that is where their search lacks, and that is why they are ranking so much UGC content.

We have world class caching here, so there is no need for caching plugins, but cleaning up plugins that are high bloat, not being used, or in some cases plugins that do all of that work for you can be good to add to your speed.

Good morning Kyle,

That's a very interesting blog post with some fascinating facts and figures!

I think we all like to have a website that's fast and responsive; however, I must admit in the live chat, I often see people fussing about page speed, etc I think that time could be better spent writing posts! I mean that in a constructive way, as we are all learning.

There are just potentially so many things that can hold us back unnecessarily.

Thank you for a very interesting post and have a great day.

Roy

The difference between fast and really fast typically is not noticeable to the human eye, but Google appreciates this and understands this in particular for the mobile experiences as people are often times needing websites to be a lot more lightweight if they are on a slower mobile device, or slower connection (mobile typically has much inferior hardware to a desktop).

Content should be the focus, and if speed is really low, there are going to be pretty obvious reasons for that and they can be addressed. Generally speaking though, all websites here will be fast loading. ;)

I know where you're coming from, Kyle. Sometimes, I believe that trying to sort out other problems like speed issues, is an excuse to avoid writing content! In other words, it makes us feel like we're doing something! I could be wrong and have been wrong before!

Have a fantastic weekend.

Roy

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