Google PageSpeed Insights – Do they correlate to the load speed of your dental website, and do they affect your dentist site in Google Rankings?
Recently I did site audits on about 25 dental practice websites. I found many good and many bad things about the websites for SEO purposes. One constant problem I found throughout the audit is that Dentist’s Websites consistently ranked very low on Google PageSpeed Insights. This is a service provided by google that allows you to see how quickly your site will load. Page load speed is a metric that google uses in their algorithms as a factor in how your website will rank.
Now, to be fair, many blogs such as this one debate the usefulness of PageSpeed Insights and its real world effect on the ranking of your website. They suggested a tool called pingdom which they said would have a much more useful assessment of your page speed and how it will affect your Google Rankings for your dental practice website.
In my experience I found PageSpeed Insights very useful.
For example, one dental website had the following PageSpeed Insights score:
Now these are horrendous scores! I need to point out that these scores are for a Dentist Website that I have not worked on, but that I was referred to as a possible client. This score on their Dental Practice Website is one thing I will bring up with them. I will make recommendations on improving their Google Search Ranking and invite them to become a client of DentalPracticeWebsite.com.
The Pingdom performance grade for the same website was a 90 out of 100! Ok, so what gives? Google says the site is a 22 out of 100 for mobile and a 32 out of 100 for desktop, yet pingdom gives them a 90 out of 100. Who is giving an accurate representation of this dental practice website’s speed and how its speed will affect its ranking in Google? We have to delve deeper into the Google PageSpeed Insights scores and the Pingdom Scores.
Google recommends the following:
Leverage browser caching
Pingdom on the other hand give the following advice:
Leverage Browser Caching
Remove query strings from static resources
Specify a Vary: Accept-Encoding header
Serve static content from a cookieless domain
These suggestions don’t tell us why Google’s score was so low and Pingdom’s score was so high. If we look closer at pingdom’s reporting, then we can see that they also give us some more useful information:
Why are Google PageSpeed Insights scores and Pingdom Performance grades so different for this dental website?
WOW! So a 90 Performance grade score correlates to a 5.67 second load time. I don’t know about you, but if I have to wait for a Dentist’s Website to load for almost 6 seconds I am probably thinking the website just doesn’t work and maybe the office closed down or something. A slow loading dental website can ruin your practice’s online marketing efforts!
This is why in my observation, I believe that Google PageSpeed Insights is a better metric to judge your dental website’s performance. Both Pingdom and PageSpeed Insights gave varying suggestions to improve the page load speed for the website of the dental practice. Personally I found googles suggestions to be much more useful. Earlier today, DentalPracticeWebsite.com had similar scores as the dental website that we just examined. I spent a good part of the day improving both my Google PageSpeed Insights score and my Pingdom Score. I found that implementing browser caching as both suggested was an excellent way to improve the loading speed of my website. As for the other suggestions, I found all of the suggestions to be useful. I would say that the Google PageSpeed Insights suggestions were much more helpful than the Pingdom suggestions.
Consequently, I love that Pingdom gives me an actual load time metric. I just wish that the Performance Grade better tied in to the load speed.
For Dental Practice Website .com, the google PageSpeed Insights score went from 65 mobile and 71 desktop to an 100 for mobile and a 95 for desktop!
The Pingdom website speed test for Dental Practice Website .com went from a performance grade of 62 to a grade of 95 and a load time of 2.71 seconds to a load time of .409 seconds!
I did a number of things following all the suggestions of both website optimization tools. I plan to share what I did in another blog post, so bookmark this page, and then come back to find out the nitty gritty details!
What have you done for faster loading times? How do Google PageSpeed Insights and Pingdom rankings affect and correlate to over all dental website google rankings? If you have questions or experiences with optimizing your dental website, let us know in the comments.