Most WooCommere store owners love Google while others despise them. Google has so much power over your traffic if you rely on them for organic customers rather than paying for ads. This puts you at the mercy of Google because you have to play by their rules – the almighty Google can send you tons of visitors but can also very easily take them away overnight.
At some point in 2021, Google is going to officially factor in the PageSpeed scores into SEO rankings for your online store running WooCommerce, so it would be wise to get ahead of this so your traffic doesn't fall off a cliff due to poor core web vitals!
Google PageSpeed Insights measures the user experience and visual render time of your site which is very important for conversions according to the data. Speeding up your site has several awesome effects. Performance optimization should lead to higher conversion rates and also better SEO rankings so it is a win-win!
Increased traffic from Google + Happier visitors = More spending $$$ 😉
For many WooCommerce sites, they rely heavily on organic traffic from the SEO efforts on Google. It helps reduce advertising and paid traffic costs on Google AdWords or Facebook ads.
We like to step up to performance challenges here at WP Bullet.
Let's find out if we could make this store owner's ambitious dreams come true of getting their WooCommerce store from the red poor zone to the good green zone on Google's web vitals.
In the e-commerce world going from Google ‘poor' speed to ‘good' can literally mean going from financially poor to rich in both revenue, conversions and rankings!
In our optimization process, we defer to Google-approved techniques and measure improvements with the latest version of PageSpeed Insights.
There is hope! We can make your performance dreams a reality with carefully tailored optimizations for your WooCommerce store to improve Google PageSpeed metrics and core web vitals.
In 2021 and onward, the web may become a very different place in terms of rankings as sites struggle to improve their user experience and get good PageSpeed Insights scores unless they are willing to make significant changes to the site.
We keep seeing users trying a myriad of performance optimizations using countless plugins and techniques but with no real results. Everybody seems to be looking for a silver bullet to reach the coveted 90+green zone on Google PageSpeed. The performance game has changed completely since this update and shortcuts simply no longer work but you are welcome to try.
In our experience with improving PageSpeed scores, stores must now seriously consider the following for their WooCommerce site to compete in their vertical on Google:
- Hosting changes and/or upgrades
- Site design revamps
- Infrastructure adjustments
- Theme refactoring or replacements
- Plugin audits and custom development to reduce bloat from commercial plugins
- Database tuning—in the right places—can reduce TTFB which research shows is critical for Google rankings
- Advanced frontend optimizations not currently available in any mainstream plugins
- Site-dependent changes that no plugin can do out-of-the-box because it is unique to your site
Over the last few years, we have been developing WordPress plugins to address our clients' PageSpeed scores which are currently only available to our private clients we work with on our favorite expert WordPress platform.
In this case study we will show you how we took a WooCommerce store from the ‘poor' red zone on PageSpeed to the ‘good' green zone after roughly a month of intense, in-depth optimizations.
As a funny side note, this site was actually going to be sold and the marketing head was in charge of ensuring the PageSpeed scores were sufficient for the sales slide deck.
The site was already fast on desktop devices when you browsed around shopping so it felt excessive to focus on scores alone.
We joked about how silly pursuing better PageSpeed scores was but we of course had to please the site owners with green scores no matter what!
If you would like to learn about our Google PageSpeed optimization process see this post.
Results Before Optimizations
In this section we show the Google PageSpeed scores before we took on the project, focusing on the homepage, a product page and the product category pages because they wanted the entire site to be in Google's good green graces – say that 3 times fast!
The client was very tech-savvy and had tested many optimizations with no luck – still no good Google scores but his boss demanded them:
- There are 52 plugins active and required on the WooCommerce store
- WP Rocket was installed and configured according to their documentation
- Changed to a light theme
- Tested a couple of managed hosts they hoped would lead to good Google scores (this almost never happens)
These optimizations barely moved the needle, imagine doing several weeks worth of work only to see your scores stay ‘poor' in the red zone. Even if you go from 16 to 39, that is still in the poor red range.
In the Google PageSpeed world, any out-of-the-box solutions are going to hit a performance wall. The performance game has changed and tailored optimizations for your store are the way to go for robust, long-lasting results.
We favor bespoke optimizations for stores which bridges the gap left by commercial plugins and performance hobbyist advice from blogs. When a holistic approach to performance is used we can get the results you are looking for in the green.
Due to the complexity of Google PageSpeed, we begin with a discovery phase of the store so we can create a performance roadmap to execute over the next several weeks. We prioritize the optimizations with the greatest impact first so your user experience can improve as quickly as possible.
Homepage Before Optimizations
The homepage scored a pretty sad 16 despite using a lean theme and powerful managed hosting.
Product Page Before Optimizations
The product page was scoring a 33 which will not be doing any favors to visitors or rankings.
Product Category Page Before Optimizations
The product category pages scored around 20 and these are very popular!
The category pages get quite a bit of traffic due to the number of products listed on the page which Google seemed to like.
We won't go into the technical details but this was a month of detailed auditing and optimizations starting with a week-long discovery phase.
- All 52 plugins still run on the site!
- Tailored configuration of our in-house plugins
- Customized theme refactoring of a popular light theme
- Theme asset optimizations to remove bloat
- Font optimizations
- No caching plugins used 😉
- Hosting change and upgrades
- Page layout design alterations
- Image optimization
- WooCommerce customizations to remove unnecessary code
After Optimizations for Google PageSpeed
Homepage After Optimizations
After these thorough optimizations, the homepage scored a 93 which is a 77 point improvement!
Product Page After Optimizations
The product pages all had the same layout so we only tested their most popular one.
The Google score increased from an unimpressive 33 to an admirable 91 – a 58 point improvement 🙂
Product Category Page After Optimizations
The product category pages scored similarly to the product page reaching 91 up from a terrifying 20 – a 71 point improvement!
We cannot stress how lucky we are to work with such amazing clients who value performance and quality optimizations as much as we do.
This was our first, but certainly not last, Google PageSpeed optimization project for WooCommerce after the June 2020 update. Will your store be next?
This project has a funny ending. The marketing head who was the project lead. Yes, who we originally laughed with about how this project was funny given the incredible desktop speed was excellent.
He shared that the site did feel even faster than before, a very welcome surprise for the skeptical 🙂
That's the power of cumulative optimizations, the site both measures and feels faster meaning more conversions and happy Google!
Do you Want Green Google PageSpeed Scores for WooCommerce?
Are you tired of trying to get green ‘good' Google PageSpeed scores for your WooCommerce store?
Have you finally read enough blog posts that are only taking you one small step on your marathon performance journey?
Are you ready to accept there is no low-hanging fruit to magically make your Google PageSpeed scores green?
Are you worried how Google's new core web vitals PageSpeed algorithm will affect your store's SEO rankings?
If you are no stranger to Google's updates, you know that some major traffic drops or increases may await you in 2021. We urge you to get help, even if it is not us, so your site does not suffer unnecessarily!
Reach out for a Google PageSpeed audit to see how we can get your store into Google's green zone!
P.S. Even if you run display ads on your store, there is hope.