Never Send Your Developer a Speed Report from Google

One of my least favorite things to see in deliverables from SEO folks is recommendations like this:

Your webmaster needs to leverage browser caching and compress images.

Thanks. Super helpful.

Being in SEO is in part a technical job and nothing screams ineptitude in this area like copy/pasting unspecific recommendations from a third party tool. Unfortunately, this is only getting worse. With Google’s pending update to make mobile speed a greater factor and the somewhat recent release of a new speed testing report, speed is a greater concern for everyone. But their new “tool” lacks any concrete information. You just get fear mongering like this:

Which causes SEOs to send developers reports like this:

You want your suggestions to get ignored? Send crappy suggestions like this. At the very least, use the older Pagespeed Insights tool (and send a link, not screenshot) so folks can see exactly which resources you’re saying must be compressed or minified or whatever. But before you do that, use that report in conjunction with a waterfall report like at WebPageTest.org to find the objects in question and see just how much they’re contributing to real-world load time. Just because your page takes 7 seconds to load AND you’re not minifying CSS doesn’t mean your page takes 7 seconds to load BECAUSE you’re not minifying CSS. Don’t send developers on a wild goose chase only to shave a few milliseconds off load time.

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