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SEO 15 min read September 28, 2020

How To Correctly Measure Website Speed

How To Create An Efficient Advertising Banner
Josh Bruce
Konrad Caban
At a time when technology develops at the speed of light, the first impression becomes ever so important. It is the moment that only happens once — it should be perfect because there won't be a second chance. This rule also applies to all kinds of websites (whether private or commercial) and web applications.
Attracting a user to a website is only the first step to success. Then we focus on the conversion — and that's what the landing pages, home pages, product pages, and others are optimized for. But for all these tricks aimed at intercepting the user to work — the user must stay on the website for more than a few seconds. And this becomes more and more dependent on the website's loading speed.

The contemporary Internet users are not patient, especially mobile ones. If they have to wait for the page to be fully loaded for more than 2-3 seconds, they will most likely give up and leave. And this usually means switching to the competitive website. It is almost always synonymous with the fact that they will never come back after such an experience.

That's why the owners and creators of websites make every effort to minimize their loading times. This is where the tools (mostly free) come in to help you measure the loading speed and check on page optimization. In addition to the analysis itself, many of them offer hints on how to improve the site in terms of speed.

We will discuss the best tools in a moment.
Why is the website loading speed so important
The aforementioned aspect of users' lack of patience is the basic argument for optimizing websites for loading speed. But it isn't the only one.

For a long time now, Google has included website speed in its rating and ranking algorithm used by the search engine. This means that pages that load faster (= are better optimized) have bigger chances for higher positions.

Interestingly, Google doesn't simply measure the loading time (which can also be very relative, taking into account Internet connection speed, location, etc.). To a large extent, it focuses on optimization—or rather on the degree to which a specific list of optimization recommendations was followed.

Let's also remember that we live in the times of mobile-first — i.e., the speed of loading a website on mobile devices is even more important than its speed on computers. A situation where the site works fast on a computer but is extremely slow on a smartphone is very common. The above mentioned (and listed below) measuring tools come to the rescue.
19 Easy Ways To Improve Your Site Speed
How to correctly measure the website's speed
The measurement results can vary—and taking into account the fact that we base optimization actions on them, the measurement of page loading speed must be correct. Here are some tips:
Choose a good tool or two. Compare test results only within one tool. Comparing between different tools is pointless. They differ in infrastructure, methodology, and many other factors. Countless applications measure the loading speed. Below are the top 10.
Select a measuring station that's as close as possible. Not every tool allows you to choose a location, but many of them offer this feature. The point is for the measurement to be as unaffected by factors beyond your control as possible—that is, for example, delays on inter-operator connections. Ideally, the measuring point should be in the country where your users are (or most of them).
Take measurements before and after each optimization, comparing the results. You need to know what the effect of each modification is. It may turn out that one of the changes will adversely affect the page's speed—then you must revert it.
Perform several measurements in a row. Some tools — e.g., the WebPageTest described below — perform several tests independently, averaging the results. In other cases, it is worth doing it manually to not base the measurement on a reading that was the result of a momentary "clogging" of the server.
Measure all-important subpages. Measurement should never be limited only to the main page. Users often go to a website starting on entirely different pages (e.g., from a specific article or product). The point is not to measure all subpages' speed — but to test the most critical types — e.g., homepage, list of products, product card, article, etc.
Consider constantly monitoring the speed of your site. The fact that today a website works quickly does not mean that it won't change. All you have to do is publish heavy, unoptimized graphics to make the loading time increase drastically.
You can measure site speed quick and easy with the help of Serpstat Website SEO Checker. Just start the page analysis and receive a report with desktop and mobile speed level and get recommendations on improving it.
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10 tools for measuring the speed of websites
Here is a quick overview of the top ten applications (mostly free ones) for measuring website loading time.
Google PageSpeed Insights
When Google decided to include speed as a ranking factor, they created their own mechanism to measure the loading speed or the optimization level to improve loading time. That's how Google PageSpeed Insights — the most important measuring tool for all those who optimize websites for Google (and not for their users) —was created.

In November 2018, Google presented a completely new measurement engine for PageSpeed, based on the open-source Lighthouse, previously used in the development tools of Chrome. This caused quite a stir because the results changed almost overnight, forcing people to optimize websites from scratch.

Insights shows the speed and optimization results for mobile devices and computers separately—displaying the former first (since the introduction of the Lighthouse).

In addition to "laboratory" data, Google PageSpeed also provides real data. These are the results of measurements carried out during visits of real users—and are not available for all websites, only for those recording traffic above a certain threshold.
Google Mobile Speed Test
The Google Mobile Speed Test works similar to PageSpeed Insights, but it's 100% focused on usability on mobile devices. It evaluates websites stating whether the page is optimized for mobile or not. If not, it lists errors that need fixing quickly. is another tool from Google, which just came out of the Beta phase. It's also based on Lighthouse, but it displays the results differently and offers a lot more optimization recommendations than the Google PageSpeed Insights described above.

There's no desktop/mobile split, but the results and recommendations are split into four groups:

  • Performance
  • Availability
  • Best practices
  • SEO.

While reaching a result of 100/100 in the SEO category is not difficult, in the case of Performance it is a real challenge.
WebPageTest is the most extensive of the tools presented on our list. Created and developed by Patrick Meenan, whose skills and experience are also used by Google.

Here, a test can be run very quickly — just by entering the URL — or you can devote some time to configure the test in detail. There are many settings available. The most important one is the location of the test server (dozens of options available) and the choice of the browser.

The test itself takes a while — mainly because WebPageTest checks the page three times by default and then averages the results. But the amount of information available in the report rewards you for waiting. This tool will show us how long it took individual elements of the page to load in the form of a cascade diagram, scores (A..F) in five different areas, a "checklist" of optimization along with recommendations, breakdown of content by file types, the list of hosts, breakdown of the connection by stages, screenshots and many more.
GTmetrix is characterized by the fact that it combines results from various sources — including Google PageSpeed and YSlow (engine originally created by Yahoo). It offers interesting features (e.g. video recording of loading), but the most interesting ones are not available for free. A useful option (free) is to export a report to a PDF file — in order to send to, e.g. the boss or a customer.
KeyCDN Speed Test
KeyCDN Speed Test is a quick and easy tool for measuring web page speed. It provides all basic information—and its main advantage is the considerable selection of measurement locations that use the global KeyCDN network.
Pingdom Website Speed Test
The Pingdom test is one of the oldest and most widely known websites offering free measurement of website loading speed. 7 locations and attractive presentation of the results are the main features of this tool. Unfortunately, there are also cons—often the queue of users is long and you have to wait for your turn.
Super Monitoring Page Speed Test
The Page Speed Test from Super Monitoring measures the page load time using the proprietary algorithm, supplementing its results (including a cascade graph) with Google PageSpeed results.
GiftOfSpeed is another simple speed test, carried out from one of 8 locations. The results include a cascade graph, a list of the most severe internal and external resources as well as optimization recommendations.
Dareboost, which allows you to perform only one test without registering or subscribing, closes the list of tools for measuring the page loading speed. The Dareboost report looks very nice, a bit like the one from Pingdom. An interesting feature is checking and displaying the technologies used on the tested website.
Continuous speed testing
At the beginning of the article, there was a suggestion that website speed should be constantly monitored. Of course, this doesn't mean you should be manually checking your pages on a daily basis but using a service that will do it in an automated way. When using such a tool, we can count on alerts in the event of a sudden slowdown of the site, which will allow us to react quickly and make adjustments before Google or users notice a drop in speed.

Among the tools described above, speed monitoring is offered by GTmetrix, Pingdom and Super Monitoring.
How To Find Bugs That Impede Your Site Promotion
The tools for measuring and monitoring the speed of pages provide very specific information to determine what else can be improved on the page to make it load faster. The decision which one to use is yours. But remember that the implementation of many recommended modifications requires specialist knowledge. Sometimes it's enough to install and configure a plugin or convert image files. But sometimes programming changes or even reconfiguration of the server will be needed.

In any case, it's definitely worth working on optimization. And the success, which will be demonstrated by the high values of Page Speed indicators, will surely translate into actual effects—higher positions in search results, increased traffic and, finally, greater user engagement and better conversion.

We wish you successes in the fight for the shortest loading times!
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