How do the top 5 UK websites rank on Google Page Speed?

We all know now that Google care a lot about site speed when it comes to ranking your website. It makes sense, especially in a mobile world but on desktop too, that a slow website is annoying to use and statistically we all have limits to how long we are prepared to wait for pages to load before we give up and look elsewhere.

To help web developers & digital marketeers Google have made a quick tool which ranks your website out of 100 for speed on both mobile and desktop – it’s a really nice tool which we use a lot when developing websites or running digital campaigns.

The problem is that often some of the more visually attractive elements of web design like videos, big images etc cause delays but it’s all about achieving a balance of good looks and ease of use.

I know that our own website (the one you are on now) is good looking but slow to use and could be much quicker. Because of this we are currently going through a complete rebuild to try and achieve the best possible looks to speed ratio (watch this space!).

In the research phase of our website rebuild I thought I would take a look at the top 5 most accessed websites in the UK and see how they perform on Google’s PageSpeed test and it produced some interesting results…

1. Google UK!
Yes Google (as you might expect) is the most accessed website in the UK. Surely their own site gets a 100/100 score right? Wrong. They come pretty close but the tool suggests a few tweaks to help it improve things!
Mobile Score : 70/100 / Desktop Score : 89/100

2. Facebook
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Facebook is the UK’s 2nd most accessed website and although their home page isn’t really their priority as most people will login to their feeds or via the app it still gets a pretty low score! 49/100 on mobile could easily be improved.
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Mobile Score : 49/100 / Desktop Score : 81/100

3. YouTube
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3rd most accessed website in the UK is YouTube which is owned by Google and surely has a top score on the PageSpeed test? Nope! They get a “Poor” rating of 63/100 and Google is helpful again with some top tips for improvement!
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Mobile Score : 63/100 / Desktop Score : 70/100

4. Amazon UK
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Shopping heavyweight Amazon is the UK’s most accessed online retail site and the 4th most accessed website in the UK. Their entire business is based on speed and they know every millisecond counts when winning the online retail war. Their site fairs pretty well but with some room for improvement on mobile.
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Mobile Score : 70/100 / Desktop Score : 88/100

5. eBay UK
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And finally eBay is the UK’s 5th most accessed website and it ranks pretty poorly all round. With only 56/100 on a mobile device it performs even worse on Desktop with just 32/100! Some massive room for improvement!
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Mobile Score : 56/100 / Desktop Score : 32/100

And the conclusion is…
Mobile speed is big business and getting pages loading quickly on our clever smartphones is key to success in the new digital economy. Devices are helping by getting quicker to render pages and 4/5G connection speeds are helping too but getting your site loading as quickly as possible will only help conversions.

Google’s involvement in this is good for consumers in my eyes. Businesses care about rankings and want traffic. By involving page speed into the ranking algorithm businesses have extra incentive to improve the user experience of their websites.

The key thing to do is to understand your audience and make sure the lowest spec device on the poorest connection can get a reasonable and usable experience.

I dont feel we should neglect the visual all together as we all shop with our eyes but focus on the thing the client wants to see. If you sell online make sure the wait for the page to load is for the thing they are waiting for – the image of the product! Try to keep the rest of the experience clean and simple.

The tests above show that even the biggest online giants don’t get it right either (even Google themselves)! They play the same balancing act between looks and usability which we all do and as long as it is reasonable wait for content then users are willing to wait. I would suggest though that if you are a new entrant to the retail space you can get ahead by beating them at speed – you have much less constraints about your decisions and spending time on optimisation is almost always going to yield a great ROI.

Here at Clicky we are often carrying out speed optimisation for our clients and if you need help optimising your website speak to our team today.

Written by Oli Yeates


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