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A Data Benchmark Journey

Good morning SEO’s. Here is a real life example of how SERP Insights can keep your business on top, impress your client and help them grow!

I have a international client who required evidence, to take to his/her superiors, proving that desktop and mobile speed was causing some negative movements in their rankings.

The client is present in multiple countries and in a few different niches. They have recently made some changes to the site which went unnoticed and caused some speed issues.

Here are 3 examples out of the 70 pages analysed which provide some interesting insight into how Google views mobile and desktop speed as ranking factors and how Google brain reacts to changes in speed metrics.

Want to to benchmark too?

If you are an SEO and you want to track your clients data, click below and try out SERP Insights.

This is why you should track data!

SERP Insights was used to track all the data, this shows just how powerful these scheduled reports can be and provide just 1 example of how they can be used. (which now uses Lighthouse V5).

SERP Insights allows you to schedule reports, this should be done for every client. We do these reports weekly and track more than just speed scores, including domain and page scores as well as trust and citation scores. 

You can track data too!

The first step to benchmarking correctly is to run reports set to a weekly schedule. The data can then be compared from the start date to the current date. Doing this can show you how changes in key metrics effect the top 20 rankings.

Showing you how metrics have changed over the time period as well as any URL which fall out of or make their way into the top 20! 

In this case we were looking into speed metrics and how these can make a page rise or fall in the Google ladder that is ranking.

Using data to prove to clients that they have an issue which needs to be fixed, is usually the only way to keep the campaign on track. Most international clients will have completely separate departments which will need evidence before thy can make changes.

The key for the graphs represent:

  • MS – Mobile Speed 
  • SS – Desktop Speed
  • Rank – Rank

Does desktop speed effect rank?

Yes, Even though we are in the age of mobile first indexing, desktop speed can make a huge difference to rankings on Google.

We can see rank, mobile speed and desktop speed are all steady until 9/10/2018. 

Then mobile and desktop speed drop. Following this, we see the rank dropping to position 10.

Mobile and desktop speed then settle 15 points lower than at the start of the campaign. During this period ranks are restored back to rank 6.

We can speculate that if the speed had not slowed down, this rank improvement would have been from 6th position into a better position, rather than from 10th to 6th.

On the 14/12/2018 we see the desktop speed fall and see the rank follows. Ranks are currently improving.

Speed Decreases, Rank Decreases
Speed settles, rank improves
Speed Decreases, Rank Decreases
Speed settles, rank improves
Speed Decreases, Rank Decreases.
Desktop speed settles, mobile speed improves slightly, Rankings improve.
Desktop speed decreases, mobile speed improves, Rankings decrease.
Speed Decreases dramatically, Rank Decreases dramatically.

Still not convinced desktop speed effects rankings on Google so much?

A more detailed graph showing rank movements with changes in site speed.

With this example we are able to go into further detail.  Here, ranks improve till 1/10/2018. In this example, the mobile and desktop speed fall, and it becomes evident that rank drops are due to the fall in speed.

Ranks are then recovered. 8/11/2018 is the next speed issue for this URL, which is when we see ranks dropping again. Ranks are being recovered until the next speed decrease, 11/01/2018, where the speed decreases dramatically.

Again, the ranks begin to recover. It should be noted that without these critical falls in speed, ranks would be at a much better position, which was initially estimated at the start of the campaign.

What happens when speed stays stable?

When the page speeds stay stable, and around the average of the top 20, the rank improves month on month.

This is an example of steady mobile and desktop speed. Ranks are improving, starting at ranks 50+ and now between rank 3 – 5.  

Speed stays relatively stable and ranks improve month on month.

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If you have any thoughts on this case study or have something you would like to see added to SERP Inights then contact us and let us know!


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