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Learn Best Shopify SEO Practices To Increase Page Speed Optimisation

November 2, 2023

Does Page Speed affect your Shopify eCommerce store's SEO? Speed does affect SEO. Learn more today.

Page Speed

Page speed is a measurement of how fast the content on your page loads.

What is Page Speed?

Page speed is often confused with "site speed," which is actually the page speed for a sample of page views on a site. Page speed can be described in either "page load time" (the time it takes to fully display the content on a specific page) or "time to first byte" (how long it takes for your browser to receive the first byte of information from the web server).

You can evaluate your page speed with Google's PageSpeed Insights. PageSpeed Insights Speed Score incorporates data from CrUX (Chrome User Experience Report) and reports on two important speed metrics: First Contentful Paint (FCP) and DOMContentLoaded (DCL).

SEO Best Practices

Google has indicated site speed (and as a result, page speed) is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages. And research has shown that Google might be specifically measuring time to first byte as when it considers page speed. In addition, a slow page speed means that search engines can crawl fewer pages using their allocated crawl budget, and this could negatively affect your indexation.

Page speed is also important to user experience. Pages with a longer load time tend to have higher bounce rates and lower average time on page. Longer load times have also been shown to negatively affect conversions.

Here are some of the many ways to increase your page speed:

Online store speed report

Optimizing your online store speed can improve the shopping experience for your customers, make your store more discoverable, and increase conversion. You can learn how your store performs against industry standards and other Shopify stores like yours by viewing your Online store speed report.

Several factors impact your online store speed, including the following:

  • Apps
  • Third-party libraries and services
  • Analytic libraries
  • Theme code
  • The number and size of images and videos

Making improvements to your online store can raise your score and ranking. Improvements to similar stores could lower your ranking in comparison, even if you didn't make any changes to your store. For example, if a few similar stores optimize their images and remove unused apps, then the number of stores that are faster than yours might increase, lowering your comparative ranking.

Learn more about why your online store speed is important.

Viewing your Online store speed report

To view the report, you need to have the Reports staff permission.

  1. From your Shopify admin, go to Analytics > Reports.
  2. In the Behavior section, click Online store speed.

Your speed score

Your speed score measures how fast your online store performs in the Shopify test environment, based on Google Lighthouse performance metrics.

Your speed score is recalculated weekly. Due to the way the score is calculated, your score might not change immediately after you make changes to your online store. If your store is new or password-protected, then you might not have a score.

How your score is calculated

Your score is based on a weighted average of the Lighthouse performance scores for your store's home page, your product page with the most traffic over the last 7 days, and your collection page with the most traffic over the last 7 days. Weights are based on multiple factors, including the relative traffic to each of these page types across all Shopify stores.

The online store speed score is an average of multiple days of Lighthouse performance scores. This is because performance scores can vary slightly between tests, and an average over multiple days better represents your store's day-to-day performance. If your store is new or you just removed the password page, then your score might be less accurate. To view the score for each page type, click on the See how your score is calculated drop-down.

Lighthouse reports are run on the mobile versions of these pages. This is because 60% of sales made on Shopify stores are from mobile devices.

If you don't have a collection page, product page, or home page, or a page type has no views, then the page's score is listed as No data available. Your online store speed score is calculated using only the available pages and their weights. Your score is not negatively impacted.

To run a Lighthouse report on the specific collection page, product page, or home page used to calculate your score, click See how your score is calculated and then click on the link in the Pages column. Running a Lighthouse report lets you view more detailed metrics for the page. To learn about what these metrics mean, refer to the Google Lighthouse performance scoring documentation.

CAUTION: When you click a link in the Pages column, the Lighthouse report runs through Google PageSpeed Insights, rather than the Shopify test environment. Because the test conditions are different when run from Google PageSpeed Insights, your score might be different from the score listed in the See how your score is calculated table. Learn about the Shopify test environment.

What your speed score means

Your speed score can help you to understand your store's speed and its perceived speed for your customers.

A higher score represents an online store that’s fast for the wide variety of customers accessing it. Even a customer with a slow phone and poor mobile connection can have a positive buying experience.

A lower score represents an online store that might not be accessible to the full range of customers that want to make a purchase from your store.

A high Google Lighthouse score is hard to achieve, and becomes harder to improve as you achieve a higher score. Lighthouse compares your online store to all types of websites, many of which don’t offer the same functionality as an online store. To understand how your store is performing compared to other Shopify stores, view your speed ranking. You can then use your speed score as a measurement to help you to make your own online store better for your customers.

If you want to improve your speed score or ranking, refer to Improving your online store speed for some suggestions on where to start.

NOTE: Performance often degrades as you add features that add value to your business, like apps or images.

Your ranking

Your ranking represents how your online store’s speed score compares to Shopify stores similar to yours. Your online store might have one of the following rankings:

  • Slower than similar stores
  • Same speed as similar stores
  • Faster than similar stores

Your ranking is recalculated at the same time as your speed score. If your store is new or password-protected, then you might not have a ranking.

What your ranking means

If your store is faster than similar stores, then more customers can have a positive buying experience due to your store's speed.

If your store is same speed as similar stores, then it provides a similar buying experience to other stores like yours, and is not exceptionally fast or slow.

If your store is slower than similar stores, then your store might not be as accessible or user-friendly to all potential customers. You should consider making improvements to your store speed.

If your peers improve their stores' speeds, then your ranking might decrease even if you don't make any changes to your store.

What is a similar store?

Similar stores might have some of the following attributes in common. Other factors not listed might also be used.

  • Number of sales to date
  • Gross sales
  • Number of products and variants
  • Types of products
  • Traffic
  • Apps installed
  • Theme used

The Shopify test environment

Scores in your online store speed report might be different than scores you calculate using PageSpeed Insights, or Chrome DevTools. This is because the environment where the Lighthouse report is run impacts the report results, and because scores on all platforms only represent a point-in-time measurement of your store's speed.

Lighthouse reports run on the Shopify test environment do not fluctuate based on common factors like internet connection speed, device processing power, browser extensions, or antivirus software. Because all Lighthouse performance reports used for speed scores are run using the same Shopify environment, we can accurately compare your score to that of other online stores on the Shopify platform.

Other factors might cause your score to change from day to day.

Frequently asked questions

Why don't I have a score or ranking?

Below are some reasons why you might not have a score or ranking:

Your store is password-protected

If your online store is password-protected, then Lighthouse cannot access it to run a report. You need to remove the password page before Lighthouse can gather the data used to generate your score and ranking.

If you want to learn about your store's speed and don't want to remove the password page, then you can run a Lighthouse report manually using Chrome DevTools.

NOTE: Scores in your online store speed report might be different than scores you calculate using Chrome DevTools. This is because the environment where the Lighthouse report is run impacts the report results. Learn more about the Shopify test environment.

Your store is new or you just removed the password

You might not have had any page views yet, or your store score or ranking might not have been calculated yet.

To allow Lighthouse to evaluate your pages, you can visit your store's pages so you have views. The next time Shopify tries to calculate your store score, the pages that you visit can be used in the report. This process might take a few days. To get information about your store's speed right away, you can run a Lighthouse report on Google PageSpeed Insights.

Your store has not had traffic in the last 7 days

You might not have had any page views to your home page, a collection page, or a product page in the last 7 days.

To allow Lighthouse to evaluate your pages, you can visit your store's pages so you have views. The next time Shopify tries to calculate your store score, the pages that you visit can be used in the report. This process might take a few days. To get information about your store's speed right away, you can run a Lighthouse report on Google PageSpeed Insights.

Why did one of my scores change?

Your scores might change from day to day, even if you didn't make any changes to your online store. Scores can change because of the following factors:

  • The relative scores of other stores. If another store made improvements to their score, then your score might be ranked lower in comparison.
  • Other variability factors.

Your scores can also change when you make changes to your online store. For example, you might have imported several new products, created several new collections, changed your theme, or introduced a new app. Learn about the factors that can impact your online store speed.

Your score might not change for a few days after you make changes to your online store.

How can I improve my score or ranking?

To learn how to improve your speed score or ranking, you need to improve your store speed. Refer to Improving your store speed for suggestions.

Why do these scores use Google Lighthouse?

Google has done research and built useful tools to measure performance on the web. Many merchants already use their tools to measure their online store speed.

In addition, Google's web performance standards impact your search rankings, which can impact the discoverability of your online store.

The online store speed report builds on Google's research and tooling with context about Shopify stores and technology. Putting Google Lighthouse's scores in context can help you to meaningfully improve your online store speed and improve your customers' experience.

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