How can you judge just how well your website is performing without having the right Website Performance Tests? Is it doing exactly what you want it to do? What are the criteria to measure the success of a website anyway?
These questions are all answered in this article. Read more to get a better understanding of what it really takes to interpret the success of a website and learn about the best Website Performance Tools.
If you are looking to determine the overall health and quality of a website, then an SEO audit should be your first step. An SEO audit is the primary Website Performance Tool necessary for the updating and overall management of any website. Audits also provide feedback on what is working and what is not.
SEO audits help a website with a variety of problems. If a website is suffering because your page loads slowly, an audit will recognize this. Site speed tests are important because loading speed is a key SEO ranking factor.
From there, you can adjust for a more positive experience for your site visitors. When making changes to a website based on the results of an SEO audit, make sure to consult with your web designing consultants for best practices.
Website audits evaluate more than just your SEO results. They cover topics like staying on top of Google updates, conversion rates, website security, Ecommerce performance, and search. This comprehensive article, Website Audits, covers all these aspects.
Website audits, and in particular SEO audits, can produce an extensive list of items to upgrade and optimize. For a comprehensive list of SEO audit effects and general SEO, see the 2020 SEO Glossary.
User Experience (UX)
User experience is a defining feature of your web performance. Well designed websites usually translate into a positive user experience and can convert a passerby on your site to a brand loyalist and regular. Website audits will help to define issues with user experience.
38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout are unattractive (Hubspot).
So it’s not only the visual design, but often, more important is the management and actual functionality of a website that is significant. If things aren’t running smooth and easy, visitors will leave your site.
UX and SEO
A while back, optimizing search meant using a lot of keywords. However, with a variety of updates to Google’s algorithms over the years, the metric for search has shifted to more sophisticated qualities. One of the factors that Google is ranking very high is user experience and the presence of relevant content.
User experience is increasingly seen as a defining metric of how Google rates websites. In the most recent Google core update, it has become clear that E-A-T (Expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness) is a massive piece of the Google algorithm.
Don’t know what E-A-T means, check out this article, Google’s Core Update May 2020, about the most recent Google core update that focuses on E-A-T. The article also discusses how important an SEO audit is in staying up to date with Google’s algorithm preferences.
E-A-T and other Google metrics focus on the user experience and overall relevancy. All these measurements give the Google algorithm an idea of how satisfied people are when visiting a website.
User experience is affected by all things from loading speed, website design, intuitive content, and relevant materials. It is also important to diversify a website with multiple media types like photos, videos, quotes, text, and so on.
In most cases, a website serves as a common landing place for the majority of digital traffic. Whether it’s on a mobile platform or desktop, a website and its design are important features in driving interaction with a company’s services or products.
Therefore, optimizing your website is crucial. Google Analytics is a tool to measure your optimization. Google Analytics is the biggest and baddest website performance tools. Being optimized for Google is going to make a massive difference in website traffic.
Google Analytics is one of the most sophisticated programs that you can use to analyze a website. Google Analytics will constantly register first party data and use it to present problems with a website in real time. Essentially it’s the easiest way to see what the visitors to your site are doing.
Google Analytics has the ability to merge with other platforms. For example, Google Ads is able to merge completely with Google Analytics to offer insight into both paid search and organic optimization.
This platform helps you understand the demographics of who is visiting your site. It helps to understand the source location of visitors, check what social platforms are driving traffic, track internal site searches, make custom reports on your data and finally, and measure whether or not the website is achieving its key goals.
While these analytics are helpful, they must be addressed with a clear and powerful strategy. It’s important to not confuse Google Analytics with an SEO Audit. Having a team of search professionals look over a website and implement real changes is the best way to optimize a website.
Google Analytics is a powerful tool that has a bunch of unique features.
What are the Website Performance Tools Measuring Specifically?
Google Analytics rates faster websites as higher priority when receiving searches. This can be the difference between a loading time of 5 seconds to a loading time of 2-3 seconds. Page speed tests are one of the most reliable website performance tools available.
Increasing your site’s loading speed from 8 seconds to 2 seconds can boost conversion rate by 74% (Vendasta).
There are a number of ways to speed up a website, most of them should be taken on by the website consultant agency that manages the website. Often, solutions to a slow loading speed analysis will be included in an SEO audit, along with ways to address this issue.
Some solutions and common practices for increasing a website’s speed can be found here, 20 Ways to Speed Up Your Website and Improve Conversion in 2020.
Backlinks are one way links that transport readers to another page. Ideally a website would like for their content to have links to their page.
Backlink activity to a page is seen by Google as a method for establishing credibility. Thus the Google algorithm will rate pages with considerable amounts of quality backlinks higher than a page without many backlinks.
Gaining backlinks is somewhat of a fishing exercise. Although, it is clear that with time, high quality website content that is credible and easy to understand will be backlinks eventually. Of course, the more backlinks the higher search results for that page. This will result in more backlinks.
Conversions are a big reason many compiles want traffic on their website, so being able to measure how visitors get to a conversion is very helpful. If you have people on a website and are looking for an eventual goal of converting on a sale or business specific action, behavioral analytics will help you understand what is driving consumers to convert. In order to optimize for this a lot of work needs to be put in place.
One way of getting a website to drive high conversions is the habit of constantly testing a website. When you have an understanding of real time data, informed decisions about whatever isn’t working can be reached quicker and more effectively. Unfortunately, several websites are not running website performance tests often enough.
One of the most important things to test in order to drive conversions is the user experience. UX was talked about earlier but with no relation to how it drives conversions. So, let’s dive in.
This tracks interaction that is different from loading pages or specific forms laid out. This is helpful for seeing the engagement with popups, video clicks, ad clicks and much more.
Additionally, event tracking can let you know which aspects of your website are attractive to viewers, and in turn help drive optimization that is based on real time behavior.
Understanding and knowing your target audience is so important to making clear and easy UX for your viewers to interact with. Some people might think that a website has a consistent audience that doesn’t change.
However, testing and analyzing audience demographics can influence UX design dramatically. It is important to know a website’s audience at all times. Often, there is no such thing as too many tests or SEO audits.
Bounce rate refers to the people that landed on a web page and exited without moving past the first landing page. This isn’t always a bad thing, and often can be fixed with little tweaks. However, if a high bounce rate persists with no change to the website then there is a real problem.
Other metrics like page views, page view duration, goal conversion rate and behavior flow all offer their own insight into the potential for optimization in a website. Ultimately it is very clear that assessing a website along with doing an SEO audit is crucial to driving conversions.
This article, What The Highest Converting Websites Do Differently, gives a really good insight into just how important assessing one’s website is to conversions.
Assessing a website has become more and more complex with the increased sophistication of Google’s algorithm. It can be a lot to handle as a webmaster, and your best option is to trust SEO professionals. Reach out to SEO Design Chicago today for web help and even free SEO Analysis!