Why do I get a low score on Google Site Speed Tools?

Google promotes a couple different tools, Test My Site and Page Speed Insights, to help you understand what could be improved on your website to make it faster. At the end of each test, Google gives you a score for mobile and desktop to indicate whether you have areas that could improve in order to be a fully speed-optimized site by Google’s standards.

The most import thing to note about these tests is that they are actually not a good reflection of how fast Google thinks your site is. This is not the intended use of this tool. It is meant to give you an idea of what items to tackle if you are trying to improve your speed. You are not penalized by Google for having a low score on this test.

Most sites fare poorly on these tests

It would be very unusual for a large content website to score high. Large content sites generally have a lot of third party integrations that include files that do not meet Google’s speed standards, even if most of their files do. Most sites have many things they could do to go faster. For example, at the time of writing this article, both NYTimes.com and WNBC.com got poor scores on the Test My Site tool.


NYTimes.com score

 


WNBC.com score

TownNews takes your site performance seriously

TownNews monitors best practices and takes page speed seriously. We use a tool called https://www.webpagetest.org/ to test how fast our sites are. This site is an open source project supported by Google to find a good way to test actual page speed. The metric that is emphasized in this report is called  ‘Speed Index’ which determines how quickly the visual content is painted onto the browser window.

Note: See the TownNews Site Performance Goals article for more details on how we test and evaluate our site’s page load times.

We are constantly balancing factors such as design, ease of use, integrations, monetization, and speed. As new ideas and best practices emerge, we will make changes to ensure that sites on the TownNews platform are stable and speedy.  As Google notes:

“Since PageSpeed is a performance optimization tool, its recommendations are biased in favor of speed. However, we recognize that web development is complex, and our suggestions might be restrictive for an individual web site.”

More information

Here are two other good articles on the topic: