Clicky website scores over 90% on Google PageSpeed

You might have noticed that the Clicky website has undergone a bit of a transformation lately. If you haven’t then our CEO & Founder, Oli Yeates, has put together a bit of an overview of what we were trying to achieve with the latest instance of the Clicky site.

The main focus was on site speed. With user experience being arguably one of the most important aspects on the web and with Google’s mobile speed algorithm update looming, it’s never been more important to have a blisteringly fast website.

Why is site speed important for organic search?

Of course, I’ve also been concerned with the speed of the site from an SEO perspective. Studies such as this from Neil Patel have shown that a fast site speed can be directly correlated with higher rankings in Google’s search results pages.

However, speed has more than just a direct impact on rankings – there are indirect effects that we all need to consider too. Last year, the head of Google Brain at Canada let slip that click data gets used for rankings. This includes taking into account factors such as pogo-sticking as a ranking factor.

What is pogo-sticking, and why am I talking about it?

Pogo-sticking is a colloquial term used to describe the process of a user clicking on a site in the search results and then returning to the search results page instead of clicking through the site. It’s also known as a bounce.

Google’s algorithms see this kind of behaviour as an indicator that your site hasn’t returned the content they were looking for when searching for a particular keyword. Their logical solution is therefore to rank other sites above yours for that keyword as they may be more relevant.

Although, the example that I’ve given above doesn’t take site speed into account. Think about the last time you encountered a particularly slow website when searching for something in Google. Did you wait for it to load entirely, or did you hit the back button and select another page from the search results?

If your answer to that question was the latter, then you’re part of the majority. Most people don’t have the patience to wait around for 5-10 seconds (or more) for a site to finally load. Think With Google found that the probability of a bounce increases by over 100% if page load goes from 1s to 6s for your website.

That bounce will then be noted by Google to help them determine which sites are more relevant to rank for specific queries. Put simply, if your site speed is slow enough to cause a user to pogo-stick, then you’re going to see a rankings drop as a result.

How fast is the new Clicky website?

During development, our web team spent hours testing the Clicky site using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool and implementing any suggestions that were thrown out. As a result, the site is being scored at 99/100 for mobile and 98/100 for desktop.

Obviously, this had us all a little excited so I caught up with Rich Tarr, our Senior Front End Developer, to get a bit of insight into how the team had achieved such a fantastic score:

Images were a big focus for us, they usually make up the biggest chunk of a website’s size so massive gains can be made by compressing and optimising them accordingly. We also took advantage of lazy loading for images – this basically means that they aren’t downloaded by the user’s browser until they need to be viewed (e.g any images below the fold of the page.)

We obviously had to consider the more technical aspects too – high-performance web hosting is something that we ensure is used for all of our clients and the Clicky site is no different. We partner with UKFast for this.

You might have noticed that in one of our previous blogs we talk about render blocking resources (scripts and assets that need to be loaded before the page can be visible); we reduced these as much as possible. We then minified any scripts to make them as small and easy as possible to download. In terms of requests, a big focus was to keep them to a minimum as this can seriously impact performance (although this approach will likely change when HTTP2 is the default standard.)

In a nutshell, a lot of hours and technical optimisations from our web team went into making the Clicky site as fast as possible. We hope that our approach has given you a few ideas on how to speed up your site too. However, if it all seems a bit daunting then feel free to get in touch with us for a chat about how we can help to optimise your site.

Written by Alex Wright

Head of Search