By SEO Mofo | May 4, 2010
I hereby declare the Google Webmaster Central Blog’s latest video post, Site Performance For Webmasters, a bunch of bullshit. Without exaggeration…this is absolutely the worst Google video I’ve ever seen. The video contains all kinds of bullshit, but I’ll just mention the things that really annoyed me. Go watch the video, then come back and listen to me bitch about it.
Need for Speed
The first part of the video addresses the question: “Why does Google think speed is important?” Only it doesn’t. Instead, the video makes the following 3 points:
- Fast = Increased conversions
- Fast = Satisfied users
- Slow = everlasting devastation
The problem is…that answers the question: “Why should webmasters make their sites faster?” That has nothing to do with Google. People don’t like to wait–we know that already. We want to know why Google is telling us to make our sites faster. What’s in it for you, Google?
Faster on the frontend: for little or no money down!
This is incredible…look at the first slide from this part of the video. The video references the work of Steve Souders–who is an employee at Google–and yet they misspelled his name?
First of all…if you’re trying to make a video that urges “beginner to intermediate” webmasters to take the first steps toward speeding up their sites, then maybe you should use tools and software that those webmasters are most likely to be familiar with. For example…let’s say you want to show webmasters how easy it is to throw a few caching directives into their .htaccess file. Personally, I’d show them how to do it using cPanel or FileZilla–you know, something a lot of people can relate to.
What I wouldn’t do…is show how to edit an .htaccess file using an SSH terminal and a command line interface. And if I did use an SSH terminal and a command line interface, then I’d at least try to copy and paste the .htaccess directives without inexplicably dropping a line of code and making the entire thing useless…
What’s a good response time to aim for?
Google’s answer: according to one study (that Google didn’t conduct), for e-commerce sites…aim for 2 seconds. Google aims for under half a second.
In other words: if you own an e-commerce site, then aim for the totally-unrealistic-and-arbitrarily-chosen time of 2 seconds. If you are part of the team of Google engineers that works on making Google’s search results appear faster, then aim for under half a second. Everybody else…go fuck yourself.
Does progressive rendering help users?
Google’s answer: Yes
In other words: yes, progressive rendering makes users think your site is faster…but Google has absolutely no way of knowing whether or not your site uses progressive rendering, so it will NOT help your search engine rankings…at least not until our overzealous engineers have sufficient time to write an entire algorithm to compute progressive rendering…and even then, it wouldn’t work…because our engineers are narrow-minded, antisocial nerds and no one checks their work.
How can you implement progressive rendering techniques on your site?
Google’s answer: put stylesheets at the top of the page. This allows a browser to start displaying content ASAP.
In other words: I have no fucking idea. Go buy Steve Soundgarden’s books and stop bothering me.
3 Steps to Success
- Check out Site Performance in Webmaster Tools
- Install Page Speed
- Explore! Check out tools like YSlow, WebPagetest.org, hang out in the “Make the Web Faster” forum
I’m confused…how do those steps lead to success? Is knowing your site is slow the ultimate goal? Are you saying identifying the problem IS the solution?
Site Performance is bullshit, Page Speed and YSlow are virtually identical, and no one knows WTF this forum is. The only decent recommendation is WebPagetest.org. Other than that…this entire section of the video is useless bullshit…and it’s nothing more than a rehash of the material from the “Available tools” section.
Looking ahead: Performance and SEO
Check this out…right when the video gets to the part all of us SEOs wanna see…it violently erupts into a thermonuclear meltdown of astronomical bullshit. The first piece of bullshit can be found in the following slide. Notice how the “Measurable SEO value” is the result of several factors that have absolutely nothing to do with SEO. Honestly…I’m 90% sure that the person who created that slide doesn’t know what SEO stands for. Look at this bullshit:
If by some miracle you’re not completely confused by that bullshit slide, then surely the following quote will leave you scratching your head:
Let’s summarize by taking a look ahead at how performance can actually impact the SEO industry.
If a faster site has now been proven to increase conversions, page views, and time on site, meanwhile lowering bounce rate and operating costs…
In fact, Shopzilla found that by just speeding up their site, it decreased their operating cost by 50%.
You like that? It’s like a season finale cliff-hanger on your favorite TV show…but then the following season opens with a new cast and a new location, and the show never resolves the cliff-hanger from last season. Good times.
In my opinion, this video is a sobering reminder of how little Google monitors the quality of information they publish. The quality of this video is comparable to something I would expect from a college football player delivering a speech in front of his Public Speaking class…on a Monday morning…after a long weekend of partying. I find it absolutely disturbing that Google can hype up website speed as much as it has…and at the peak of the hysteria, they throw this garbage at us?
Clearly, Google needs to overhaul their internal structure to incorporate a better system of checks and balances. Their current system of autonomous teams continues to fail, because it produces results that are only as good as the team’s strongest link. Google needs to increase communication between these groups to ensure that everything Google publishes or releases to the public has been double-checked, triple-checked, etc. Too much isolation and independence can be harmful to a company’s brand, as we’ve already seen with Google Buzz. For a company as big (and wealthy) as Google, it’s very difficult to justify mistakes that would have easily been prevented by an additional layer of quality control. Google needs to stop measuring success by the rate at which they produce stuff, and start focusing more on the quality of their current services.
Oh wait…I almost forgot to link gratuitously to my own website. So…um…be sure to check out these informative posts about page speed, learn how to make a custom Twitter background, use this free tool to optimize your Google SERP snippets, and download free middle finger cursors. Peace, I’m outta here. -SEO Mofo