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Page Speed Optimization: Metrics, Tools, and How to Improve — Best of Whiteboard Friday

This may be of some interest.

Posted by BritneyMuller

Page speed has always been a crucial part of SEO work, and as more companies make the shift to online operations, optimization becomes more important than ever. However, it’s a complex subject that tends to be very technical. What are the most crucial things to understand about your site’s page speed, and how can you begin to improve? To help you answer these questions, we’re sharing this popular episode of Whiteboard Friday (originally published in February 2019) where Britney Muller goes over what you need to know to get started.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we’re going over all things page speed and really getting to the bottom of why it’s so important for you to be thinking about and working on as you do your work.

At the very fundamental level I’m going to briefly explain just how a web page is loaded. That way we can sort of wrap our heads around why all this matters.

How a webpage is loaded

A user goes to a browser, puts in your website, and there is a DNS request. This points at your domain name provider, so maybe GoDaddy, and this points to your server where your files are located, and this is where it gets interesting. So the DOM starts to load all of your HTML, your CSS, and your JavaScript. But very rarely does this one pull all of the needed scripts or needed code to render or load a web page.

Typically the DOM will need to request additional resources from your server to make everything happen, and this is where things start to really slow down your site. Having that sort of background knowledge I hope will help in us being able to triage some of these issues.

Issues that could be slowing down your site

What are some of the most common culprits?

  1. First and foremost is images. Large images are the biggest culprit of slow loading web pages.
  2. Hosting can cause issues.
  3. Plugins, apps, and widgets, basically any third-party script as well can slow down load time.
  4. Your theme and any large files beyond that can really slow things down as well.
  5. Redirects, the number of hops needed to get to a web page will slow things down.
  6. Then JavaScript, which we’ll get into in a second.

But all of these things can be a culprit. So we’re going to go over some resources, some of the metrics and what they mean, and then what are some of the ways that you can improve your page speed today.

Page speed tools and resources

The primary resources I have listed here are Google tools and Google suggested insights. I think what’s really interesting about these is we get to see what their concerns are as far as page speed goes and really start to see the shift towards the user. We should be thinking about that anyway. But first and foremost, how is this affecting people that come to your site, and then secondly, how can we also get the dual benefit of Google perceiving it as higher quality?

We know that Google suggests a website to load anywhere between two to three seconds. The faster the better, obviously. But that’s sort of where the range is. I also highly suggest you take a competitive view of that. Put your competitors into some of these tools and benchmark your speed goals against what’s competitive in your industry. I think that’s a cool way to kind of go into this.

Chrome User Experience Report

This is Chrome real user metrics. Unfortunately, it’s only available for larger, popular websites, but you get some really good data out of it. It’s housed on BigQuery*, so some basic SQL knowledge is needed.

*Editor’s note: We’ve edited this transcript for accuracy. In the video Britney said “BigML,” but intended to say BigQuery. It’s hard filming an advanced-topic Whiteboard Friday in a single take! 🙂

Lighthouse

Lighthouse, one of my favorites, is available right in Chrome Dev Tools. If you are on a web page and you click Inspect Element and you open up Chrome Dev Tools, to the far right tab where it says Audit, you can run a Lighthouse report right in your browser.

What I love about it is it gives you very specific examples and fixes that you can do. A fun fact to know is it will automatically be on the simulated fast 3G, and notice they’re focused on mobile users on 3G. I like to switch that to applied fast 3G, because it has Lighthouse do an actual run of that load. It takes a little bit longer, but it seems to be a little bit more accurate. Good to know.

Page Speed Insights

Page Speed Insights is really interesting. They’ve now incorporated Chrome User Experience Report. But if you’re not one of those large sites, it’s not even going to measure your actual page speed. It’s going to look at how your site is configured and provide feedback according to that and score it. Just something good to be aware of. It still provides good value.

Test your mobile website speed and performance

I don’t know what the title of this is. If you do, please comment down below. But it’s located on testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com. This one is really cool because it tests the mobile speed of your site. If you scroll down, it directly ties it into ROI for your business or your website. We see Google leveraging real-world metrics, tying it back to what’s the percentage of people you’re losing because your site is this slow. It’s a brilliant way to sort of get us all on board and fighting for some of these improvements.

Pingdom and GTmetrix are non-Google products or non-Google tools, but super helpful as well.

Site speed metrics

So what are some of the metrics?

What is first paint?

First paint is he first non-blank paint on a screen. It could be just the first pixel change. That initial change is considered first paint.

What is first contentful paint?

First contentful paint is when the first content appears. This might be part of the nav or the search bar or whatever it might be. –That’s the first contentful paint.

What is first meaningful paint?

First meaningful paint is when primary content is visible. When you sort of get that reaction of, “Oh, yeah, this is what I came to this page for,” that’s first meaningful paint.

What is time to interactive?

Time to interactive is when it’s visually usable and engage-able. So we’ve all gone to a web page and it looks like it’s done, but we can’t quite use it yet. That’s where this metric comes in. So when is it usable for the user? Again, notice how user-centric even these metrics are. Really, really neat.

DOM content loaded

The DOM content loaded, this is when the HTML is completely loaded and parsed. So some really good ones to keep an eye on and just to be aware of in general.

Ways to improve your page speed

HTTP/2

HTTP/2 can definitely speed things up. As to what extent, you have to sort of research that and test.

Preconnect, prefetch, preload

Preconnect, prefetch, and preload really interesting and important in speeding up a site. We see Google doing this on their SERPs. If you inspect an element, you can see Google prefetching some of the URLs so that it has it faster for you if you were to click on some of those results. You can similarly do this on your site. It helps to load and speed up that process.

Enable caching & use a content delivery network (CDN)

Caching is so, so important. Definitely do your research and make sure that’s set up properly. Same with CDNs, so valuable in speeding up a site, but you want to make sure that your CDN is set up properly.

Compress images

The easiest and probably quickest way for you to speed up your site today is really just to compress those images. It’s such an easy thing to do. There are all sorts of free tools available for you to compress them. Optimizilla is one. You can even use free tools on your computer, Save for Web, and compress properly.

Minify resources

You can also minify resources. So it’s really good to be aware of what minification, bundling, and compression do so you can have some of these more technical conversations with developers or with anyone else working on the site.

So this is sort of a high-level overview of page speed. There’s a ton more to cover, but I would love to hear your input and your questions and comments down below in the comment section.

I really appreciate you checking out this edition of Whiteboard Friday, and I will see you all again soon. Thanks so much. See you.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com


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Advanced Hack: How to Improve Your SEO in Less Than 30 Minutes

This may be of some interest.

digital marketing

I’ve been testing a new SEO hack and it works no matter how old or how new your site is.

Heck, you can have barely any links, and I’ve found it to work as well.

Best of all, unlike most SEO changes, it doesn’t take months or years to see results from this… you can literally see results in less than 30 minutes.

And here’s what’s crazy: I had my team crawl 10,000 sites to see how many people are leveraging this SEO technique and it was only 17.

In other words, your competition doesn’t know about this yet!

So what is this hack that I speak of?

Google’s ever-changing search results

Not only is Google changing its algorithm on a regular basis, but they also test out new design elements.

For example, if you search for “food near me”, you’ll not only see a list of restaurants but you also see their ratings.

food near me

And if you look up a person, Google may show you a picture of that person and a quick overview.

elon musk

Over the years, Google has adapted its search results to give you the best experience. For example, if you search “2+2” Google will show you the answer of “4” so you don’t have to click through and head over to a webpage.

2 plus 2

But you already know this.

Now, what’s new that no one is really using are FAQ-rich results and Answer Cards.

Here’s what I mean… if you search “digital marketing” you’ll see that I rank on Google. But my listing doesn’t look like most people’s…

digital marketing

As you can see from the image above, Google has pulled FAQ rich results from my site.

And best of all, I was able to pull it off in less than 30 minutes. That’s how quickly Google picked it up and adjusted their SERP listing.

Literally all within 30 minutes.

And you can do the same thing through Answer Cards anytime you have pages related to question and answers.

qa example

So how can you do this?

Picking the right markup

Before we get this going with your site, you have to pick the right schema markup.

FAQpage schema is used when you offer a Frequently Asked Question page or have a product page that contains frequently asked questions about the product itself. This will let you be eligible for a collapsible menu under your SERP with the question, that when clicked on, reveals the answer.

faq rich result

It can also let you be eligible for FAQ Action that is shown on Google Assistant. This can potentially help get you noticed by people using voice search to find out an answer!

faq action

Q&A schema is used when people are contributing different types of answers and can vote for which answer they think is the best. This will provide the rich result cads under your SERP and shows all the answers, with the top answer highlighted.

qa rich result

After making sure you understand what these are used for, Google also has additional guidelines on when you can and can’t use these schema’s for:

Google’s guidelines

Google has a list of FAQpage schema guidelines.

Only use FAQPage if your page has a list of questions with answers. If your page has a single question and users can submit alternative answers, use QAPage instead. Here are some examples:

Valid use cases:

  • An FAQ page was written by the site itself with no way for users to submit alternative answers
  • A product support page that lists FAQs with no way for users to submit alternative answers 

Invalid use cases:

  • A forum page where users can submit answers to a single question
  • A product support page where users can submit answers to a single question
  • A product page where users can submit multiple questions and answers on a single page
  • Don’t use FAQPagefor advertising purposes
  • Make sure each Question includes the entire text of the question and make sure each answer includes the entire text of the answer. The entire question text and answer text may be displayed.
  • Question and answer content may not be displayed as a rich result if it contains any of the following types of content: obscene, profane, sexually explicit, graphically violent, promotion of dangerous or illegal activities, or hateful or harassing language.
  • All FAQcontent must be visible to the user on the source page.

And here are the guidelines for Q&A schema:

Only use the QAPage markup if your page has information in a question and answer format, which is one question followed by its answers.

Users must be able to submit answers to the question. Don’t use QAPage markup for content that has only one answer for a given question with no way for users to add alternative answers; instead, use FAQPage. Here are some examples:

Valid use cases:

  • A forum page where users can submit answers to a single question
  • A product support page where users can submit answers to a single question 

Invalid use cases:

  • An FAQ page was written by the site itself with no way for users to submit alternative answers
  • A product page where users can submit multiple questions and answers on a single page
  • A how-to guide that answers a question
  • A blog post that answers a question
  • An essay that answers a question
  • Don’t apply QAPagemarkup to all pages on a site or forum if not all the content is eligible. For example, a forum may have lots of questions posted, which are individually eligible for the markup. However, if the forum also has pages that are not questions, those pages are not eligible.
  • Don’t use QAPagemarkup for FAQ pages or pages where there are multiple questions per page. QAPagemarkup is for pages where the focus of the page is a single question and its answers.
  • Don’t use QAPagemarkup for advertising purposes.
  • Make sure each Questionincludes the entire text of the question and make sure each Answer includes the entire text of the answer.
  • Answermarkup is for answers to the question, not for comments on the question or comments on other answers. Don’t mark up non-answer comments as an answer.
  • Question and answer content may not be displayed as a rich result if it contains any of the following types of content: obscene, profane, sexually explicit, graphically violent, promotion of dangerous or illegal activities, or hateful or harassing language.

If your content meets these guidelines, the next step is to figure out how to implement the schema onto your website and which type to use.

How do I implement Schema and which to use? 

There are two ways to implement it… either through JSON-LD or Microdata.

I recommend choosing one style and sticking to it throughout your webpage, and I also recommend not using both types on the same page.

JSON-LD is what Google recommends wherever possible and Google has been in the process of adding support for markup-powered features. JSON-LD can be implemented into the header of your content and can take very little time to implement.

The other option is Microdata, which involves coding elements into your website. This can be a challenging process for some odd reason, I prefer it. Below are examples of how each work.

FAQpage Schema JSON-LD:

<html>

<head>

<title>Digital Marketing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Neil Patel</title>

</head>

<body>

<script type=”application/ld+json”>

“@context”: “https://schema.org”,

“@type”: “FAQPage”,

“mainEntity”: [

“@type”: “Question”,

“name”: “What is digital marketing?”,

“acceptedAnswer”:

“@type”: “Answer”,

“text”:”Digital marketing is any form of marketing products or services that involves electronic device”

]

</script>

</body>

</html>

FAQpage Schema Microdata:

<html itemscope itemtype=”https://schema.org/FAQPage”>

<head>

<title>Digital Marketing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Neil Patel</title>

</head>

<body>

<div itemscope itemprop=”mainEntity” itemtype=”https://schema.org/Question”>

<h3 itemprop=”name”>What is digital marketing?</h3>

<div itemscope itemprop=”acceptedAnswer” itemtype=”https://schema.org/Answer”>

<div itemprop=”text”>

<p>Digital marketing is any form of marketing products or services that involves electronic device.</p>

</div>

</div>

</div>

</body>

</html>

Q&A Schema JSON-LD:

“@context”: “https://schema.org”,

“@type”: “QAPage”,

“mainEntity”:

“@type”: “Question”,

“name”: “Can I tie my shoe with one hand?”,

“text”: “I currently have taken a hobby to do many actions with one hand and I’m currently stuck on how to tie a shoe with one hand. Is it possible to tie my shoe with one hand?”,

“answerCount”: 2,

“upvoteCount”: 20,

“dateCreated”: “2019-07-23T21:11Z”,

“author”:

“@type”: “Person”,

“name”: “Expert at Shoes”

,

“acceptedAnswer”:

“@type”: “Answer”,

“text”: “It is possible to tie your shoe with one hand by using your teeth to hold the other lace”,

“dateCreated”: “2019-11-02T21:11Z”,

“upvoteCount”: 9000,

“url”: “https://example.com/question1#acceptedAnswer”,

“author”:

“@type”: “Person”,

“name”: “AnotherShoeMan”

,

“suggestedAnswer”: [

“@type”: “Answer”,

“text”: “It is not possible to tie your shoe with one hand”,

“dateCreated”: “2019-11-02T21:11Z”,

“upvoteCount”: 2,

“url”: “https://example.com/question1#suggestedAnswer1”,

“author”:

“@type”: “Person”,

“name”: “Best Shoe Man”

]

Q&A Schema Microdata:

<div itemprop=”mainEntity” itemscope itemtype=”https://schema.org/Question”>

<h2 itemprop=”name”>Can I tie my shoe with one hand?</h2>

<div itemprop=”upvoteCount”>20</div>

<div itemprop=”text”>I currently have taken a hobby to do many actions with one hand and I’m currently stuck on how to tie a shoe with one hand. Is it possible to tie my shoe with one hand?</div>

<div>asked <time itemprop=”dateCreated” datetime=”2019-07-23T21:11Z”>July 23’19 at 21:11</time></div>

<div itemprop=”author” itemscope itemtype=”https://schema.org/Person”><span

itemprop=”name”>Expert at Shoes</span></div>

<div>

<div><span itemprop=”answerCount”>2</span> answers</div>

<div><span itemprop=”upvoteCount”>20</span> votes</div>

<div itemprop=”acceptedAnswer” itemscope itemtype=”https://schema.org/Answer”>

<div itemprop=”upvoteCount”>9000</div>

<div itemprop=”text”>

It is possible to tie your shoe with one hand by using your teeth to hold the other lace.

</div>

<a itemprop=”url” href=”https://example.com/question1#acceptedAnswer”>Answer Link</a>

<div>answered <time itemprop=”dateCreated” datetime=”2019-11-02T22:01Z”>Nov 2 ’19 at 22:01</time></div>

<div itemprop=”author” itemscope itemtype=”https://schema.org/Person”><span itemprop=”name”>AnotherShoeMan</span></div>

</div>

<div itemprop=”suggestedAnswer” itemscope itemtype=”https://schema.org/Answer”>

<div itemprop=”upvoteCount”>2</div>

<div itemprop=”text”>

It is not possible to tie your shoe with one hand

</div>

<a itemprop=”url” href=”https://example.com/question1#suggestedAnswer1″>Answer Link</a>

<div>answered <time itemprop=”dateCreated”datetime=”2019-11-02T21:11Z”>Nov 2 ’19 at 21:11</time></div>

<div itemprop=”author” itemscope itemtype=”https://schema.org/Person”><span

itemprop=”name”>Best Shoe Man</span></div>

</div>

</div>

</div>

When you are implementing it on your website, feel free and just use the templates above and modify them with your content.

If you are unsure if your code is correctly implemented or not, use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool and you can add your code snippet or the page that you implemented the schema on and it will tell you if you did it right or wrong.

Plus it will give you feedback on if there are any errors or issues with your code.

google structure data testing

You can also try Google’s Rich Result Tester. This will give you a brief look at how your structured data will look like in the results!

google rich snippet

Getting results in under 30 minutes

Once you make the changes to any page that you think is a good fit, you’ll want to log into Google Search Console and enter the URL of the page you modified in the top search bar.

add url

You’ll then want to have Google crawl that page so they can index the results. All you have to do is click “request indexing”.

request indexing

And typically within 10 minutes, you’ll notice it kick in and when you perform a Google search you’ll see your updated listing.

Now the key to making this work is to do this with pages and terms that already rank on page 1. That’s where I’ve seen the biggest improvement.

Will Schema get me to rank for People Also Ask and Featured Snippets?

Will this help with People Also Ask and Featured Snippets? So far, there has been no correlation between schema markup and People Also Ask or Featured Snippets and you do not need them to be featured in them.

Optimizing your content for this will not hurt you though and can potentially improve your chances to be on here.

Google has been testing out how they can show these types of Q&A, FAQ, and How-To results and looking at structured data to help understand them.

It’s better to be early to the game and help Google understand your pages, as well as possibly participating in any of Google’s experiments.

snippet

Will this get me on voice search?

With more and more people using mobile devices to find answers to questions, this is a very relevant question!

Especially considering that over half of the searches on Google will be from voice search in the near future.

Answers from voice search get most of their answers from featured snippets.

And adding structured data on your website increases the chances of getting you into featured snippets, which increases the chance of you getting featured on voice search.

Conclusion

This simple hack can potentially increase the visibility of your brand and help improve the authority of your website. It’s a simple solution that can take a single day to implement across your main question, product, or FAQ page.

I’ve been using it heavily for the last week or so and as long as I pick keywords that I already rank on page 1 for, I am seeing great results.

And as I mentioned above, when my team analyzed 10,000 sites we only found 17 to be using FAQ and QA schema. In other words, less than 1% of the sites are using this, which means you if you take advantage now, you’ll have the leg up on your competition.

So what do you think about this tactic? Are you going to use it?

The post Advanced Hack: How to Improve Your SEO in Less Than 30 Minutes appeared first on Neil Patel.

Thank you for reading.

How to Improve Your Social Video Content: 10 Tips From the Pros

This may be of some interest.

Want to create better social video content? Looking for tips and tools to try? In this article, 10 video experts share the tactics and tools they use to create successful video content. #1: Simplify Live-Stream Production Flow With Elgato Stream Deck One of my favorite live-streaming tools is Elgato Stream Deck, a video switcher that’s […]

The post How to Improve Your Social Video Content: 10 Tips From the Pros appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

Thank you for reading.