As you probably already know, the speed of your website is a very important factor – not just for SEO, but for usability and sales as well. But if you have ever tried to optimize speed you probably also know how difficult, time consuming and expensive it can be.

Shopify Page Speed Fake

Maybe you have been tempted by cheap offers to do speed optimization. But be careful! Unfortunately, there is a lot of cheating in the speed optimization industry, which on the surface seems to work, but in practice does not.

But how is this cheating done? Let’s take a closer look …

Two types of Page Speed ​​measurements

The first thing you need to be aware of is that there are two different types of Page Speed ​​measurements that you can see via either the Search Console or Google PageSpeed ​​Insight. It is important to understand if you want to prevent being cheated with speed optimization.

  • Lab data test
  • Field data test

To make a long story short …

Lab data is calculated based on a predefined set of rules – including location and browser settings. This is what we call the lab or test environment.

Lighthouse is usually used for these calculations. This applies to both Google PageSpeed and GTMetrix. The purpose of lab data tests is to be able to make and repeat consistent measurements from test to test.

Field data on the other hand is collected by monitoring actual users’ visits to your website. And precisely because data is collected from actual users, it includes the specific browsers, network connection and geographical locations your visitors actually use.

One of the most important things to understand with field data is that it is not based on just a single measurement – but a series of measurements across many users. Some users may view the page quickly, and others more slowly – depending on, among other things, their location, browser, network connection, etc. Field data is the total data for all (measured) users.

Code cheating cheats lab data

One of the methods that I have most often experienced website owners have been cheated with is a very simple technique where Google’s PageSpeed ​​Tool gets a completely different version of your website. Often just a completely blank page.

If Google’s PageSpeed ​​Insight tool gets a blank – or very limted page, then it naturally returns a great PageSpeed ​​Score. Often close to 100 out of 100.

The problem is just that users are still left with the same slow website – and Google can easily see through this. So that kind of code-cheating benefits absolutely nothing – neither in terms of usability, sales, or SEO.

If you have this kind of “amazing” speed optimization done, you can often spot it by your lab data not getting better. It is based on the actual users’ experience – and it is the same as before you “optimized” your website.

You can also, if you know how to, look through the code on your website and look for conditional scrips, such as the one that e.g. is described here. 

Do not block the slow countries

Another method that is starting to emerge is to exclude visitors from the countries where your website may not have such a good speed.

Even if you experience one country your website is super fast, it may be much slower in  other countries. It depends a bit on how your website is set up, how it is hosted, etc.

It is therefore obvious why some think they can increase the average website speed by excluding the slowest countries from visiting your website.

And yes, in theory it would then give a better PageSpeed ​​Score based on field data.

But in practice, it will have no positive effect at all. Maybe even hurt your site. The latter is not the least the case if you excluded visitors from countries where you actually have visits and sales.

But even if you have no sales in the excluded countries, it does not make your website faster for all the others. So, it has absolutely no positive effect on either usability, sales or SEO.

It can be a little harder to identify if the ones you have had to do speed optimization of your website have used this method. But it will usually only affect field data – your lab data will not change. Another option is to try via a VPN connection, to visit your website from several different countries and see if you can access it.

Other methods of attempted speed cheating

There are off course other methods for attempting to cheat with speed optimization. The above are just the two I have most often come across lately.

You may have experienced other cheating methods. In that case, feel free to share your experiences below …

Unfortunately, we do not get around the fact that proper speed optimization requires both insight into your platform, how both users and Google perceive speed and then of course the ability and experience to optimize the things that affect speed in a real way.

And yes, unfortunately it often takes a lot of time and therefore also costs a little. But it’s definitely worth it all. A website that actually gets faster performer pretty much always significantly better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *