Canonical Chronicle - Episode 47 - How to Speed up Wordpress with New Plugin

In this video

In this week's Canonical Chronicle we discuss all things speed with the new Google pagespeed insights plugin for Wordpress.


0:26 Google Removes Support for Flash by January 2020

1:30 Google buys Fitbit - what does it mean for SEO?

2:33 Google services plugged directly into Wordpress (puts on tinfoil hat)

4:30 Google give us their tips on speeding up your site in the recent #AskWebmasters video

7:12 Rank ranger report shows discrepancy between mobile and desktop featured snippets in Google Search Console

9:36 Outro

Links mentioned

Speed up Wordpress with the new page speed insights plugin, Google Sitekit: https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/google-site-kit/

#AskGoogle Webmasters Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HKYsJJrySY

Gerry White on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dergal

Chris Simmance - Site Speed Ad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMnNygCDg1Q

Rank Ranger Study: https://www.rankranger.com/blog/featured-snippet-url-match

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I’m Ross Tavendale, the managing director of Type A Media, a creative search agency based in London. I make videos about business leadership, web technology, SEO, PPC and how I turned being a Type A personality into a business.


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- If SEOs know one thing, it's that flashing on the internet is a bad idea. No, no, no, not that kind of flash. ♪ Flash ♪ ♪ Ah ♪ Not Flash Gordon either.

- I'm fed up. The more I clean this bath, the duller it looks.

- That's scouring powder. In time it'll scratch all the shine off. Use Flash.

- And not the 1980s bleach brand either. Although that is quite a nice segue. So just like that ad showing two housewives talking about cleaning is totally antiquated and behind the times, so is the web technology Adobe Flash. We all know that Apple devices don't even show Flash contents. So now Google has officially started to remove support for the technology, and says they're gonna stop indexing all the Flash content by 2020. So if you've got Flash content on your site, here are some things you will need to do. Step one, get in a fucking time machine and come back to the future. Step two, talk to all your technical stakeholders about retiring the technology and replacing its functionality with a newer technology. You know, like COBOL, or BASIC, or Regional Assembly Language. Step three, tell everyone in your organisation about the retirement of the technology, so everyone is aware. Perhaps hold a midnight vigil, light a candle, and shed a tear to mark its passing. Step four, subscribe to the Canonical Chronicle Newsletter to get a free slide deck of Google News to share with your team. That one's not a real tip, just plug. So one of the keys to dominating a marketplace is recurring revenue, high barriers to entry for new players, and vertical integration into the marketplace. Now, that's something that Google has got down in almost all walks of life. They've got the Chrome browser, Android phones, G Suite, pretty much every area is sewn up, apart from wearables. Of course, unless you're carrying Google glasses, a wearable, which isn't really a wearable, it's more of a prophylactic that screams please don't sleep with me.

- A good gift for once!

- Oogle Goggles.

- So, why is this gonna be important to SEOs? Well, with the growth of voice search and new innovations from BEAR, it's likely you're gonna see more and more devices in your search console reports with more random customer journeys, as people find new ways to access the data. Talking about accessing data, you should probably subscribe to our newsletter, link down below. So although it's not something that you need to start optimising for and implementing, it's something to be cognisant of, as we continue to develop our online experiences for our customers. Whenever Google launches something for free, I'm always like.

- I'm teaching your daughter riding, grooming, and at no extra charge pronunciation.

- Father, you made me the happiest girl who ever lived.

- Talking about a few things you should be suspicious of, we have a free weekly newsletter. Fuck it we just keep-- Last week, Google announced they are launching Site Kit, which is a free WordPress plugin, that allows you to create a dashboard of various Google services right within WordPress. So the service includes Search Console, Google Analytics, PageSpeed Insights and also AdSense. Now, most of the SEO community think that this is a great idea and everyone is installing it. But remember, when the product is free, then you are the product, as this angry guy in the news points out.

- If you are not paying for the product, you are the product. Now, if we follow the money trail, and work out why Google keep giving us all these amazing free resources, we come to a couple of things. One, if you show PageSpeed Insights inside of WordPress and we make our pages faster, they can rep our content quicker and save money on bandwidth cost at scale. Also, if they get backend access, to all these WordPress instances, they can fingerprint every single author that's logging into the system, and start to use that data. And if there's wide enough adoption, there's no reason why they can't start using internal metrics as trust signals and start building it into the algorithm. Once they're inside your CMS, they can pretty much easily Trojan horse other products and services into it. For example, get better adoption of Amp. So my prediction is, if there's mass adoption, we're gonna start to see more Google products baked into WordPress. Anyways, all the naysaying aside, if you want to implement to on Site, like the 30,000 people that have already done it, you can do so here. In a recent episode of Ask Google Webmasters, Google engineer and Matt Cutts for the woke generation, Martin Splitt, answered a question about how Google views PageSpeed, and in classic Google fashion we get a non-answer.

- We don't really have a threshold to give away, but basically the recommendation I would say is just make sites fast for users.

- Cool. Just make it fast for users. And if you want to rank just publish straight content, and if you want to get to links, just do something extraordinary. And if you want to grow your business, sell something people like for more than you bought it for. All the SEOs are essentially sitting there like.

- Obviously

- No, I am only joking. There are some actually really good tips inside of this particular episode about site speed. If you want to get the low down on how we look at PageSpeed with a free cheatsheet, we do have it in this week's newsletter. So if you're looking to optimise for site speed, what should you do? If you're in London on the 7th of November, go see Gerry White's talk, Ungagged, the link in the description. He's the tech lead on one the biggest sites in the world, and he's also on Twitter, so go annoy him. There's his Twitter account. So back to the video. From the video there was some handy acronyms you should know when talking about PageSpeed. First one is FID, this stands for First Input Delay. So this is the measurement time between when a user first clicks on something, versus the time the browser is able to respond to the interaction. Next one is TTI, which is Time to Interactive. This is essentially the amount of time it takes the page to be fully interactive. And also FCI, which is First CPU Idle. This is the amount of time it takes before there's no other work to be done on the page, like JavaScript loading, that the CPU needs to take care of. Some other things to know, I like to look at things like First Contentful Paint, and I also like to look at the critical rendering path, both of which can be seen in some form by looking at lighthouse report, or looking at the waterfall of resources, when you load it up and look at it by inspecting element in Chrome. To do this hit function F12 in Chrome, click on the Network tab, and then reload the page. And you're gonna get a waterfall of resources that are being loaded in order to render the page. And lastly, if you're looking for more people to pester on Twitter, who are very very good at site speed-based questions, there's a chap called Chris Simmance, who's the CEO of Opus Digital. And here's a little teaser video from Chris, that shows that he really does know what he's talking about, when it comes to site speed. Is yours or your client's website obese? Are you suffering from the likes of visceral CSS bloat?

- Link to the full video in the description. Thanks, Chris. A recent study by RankRanger has shown that featured snippets shown at desktop 88% of the time, compared to mobile, which is 73% of the time. So it's no surprise that desktop will sometimes show more featured snippets to mobile, because a lot of the time it's not device appropriate to show more information due to less screen real estate. Essentially, featured snippets on mobile be like. Now, you might be thinking, all right, so Google shows different URLs on mobile versus desktop, when it comes to featured snippets, but surely that isn't a big deal. Why do we care if they don't match? The reason why is because it shows a divergence of thinking between devices, so certain content may not be suitable for certain device types.

- My spoon is too big.

- So this means that your Search Console reporting is gonna look very different when you split the exact same URL and compare desktop to mobile. For example, if you have a position zero for a URL on desktop with the featured snippet, you might find that average rankings are much higher for desktop, impressions are higher, but clicks are lower. When you compare that to mobile, you would find that average possession was lower, impressions about the same, but clicks are higher. And you'll be looking at this going, what the fuck? You can be in a lower position on mobile, but have more clicks. But think about it, if it's just 10 blue links, and the query is no longer being answered directly in the SERP, you're gonna see more clicks and more synthesis on mobile, because there's not that featured snippet. So what should we do as SEOs? Well, for me this really highlights the importance of breaking out the reporting by device, so you can get a better understanding of what's going on. Now, massive caveat is that RankRangers conducted the study with 265 keywords, so it's not exactly some multi-vertical mega study. However, it is a big enough sample size, and seeing a 10% of mobile and desktop, should give SEOs a little bit of pause. Realistically, when you're building reporting, make sure you build in those device splits. Now, you don't need to go so far as building it out by device model in GA, but split out the apples from the oranges. You get the point.

- I am a banana!

- That's everything for this week's Canonical Chronicle, if you liked it, please click the like button to help us hack the YouTube algorithm and subscribe to validate my existence. And until next time, we will see you later.