A constant strive of internet surfers and an alluring light motive for webmasters, page speed has been the talk of the town for quite some time. Being one of Google’s official ranking factors, optimizing for speed will continue to be the hot topic of the SEO world for years to come. Google’s experts have stated that the most important aspect of website speed is for owners to make their sites perceivably fast for users. However, deeper research on this topic will show you that there is a lot of debate online about the real impact of page speed on SERP positioning. This is why our web development company evaluated the top Google search result across 1,000 different queries. In today’s article, we bring you the average PageSpeed score across major website categories.
Table of Contents
- How big a part does page speed play in Google rankings?
- Which website categories did we examine?
- The average PageSpeed scores by website categories
- Final thoughts
How big a part does page speed play in Google rankings?
Our research shows that the number one Google search result across 1,000 different queries had the average mobile PageSpeed score of 40 and the average desktop PageSpeed score of 60.
Also, the average mobile PageSpeed score for publishers was 31. We can’t state with a high degree of certainty that achieving high page speed will boost your Google rankings, but one thing is sure: There is a positive correlation between page speed and search engine results page rankings.
Which website categories did we examine?
Here are categories of the highest-ranking websites for each of the 1,000 queries that we examined.
As you can see in the graph above, more than 26.9% of websites were of the referential category. These websites contain so-called evergreen content that talks about eternal truths since the accuracy of the content mostly remains unchanged over time. For example, there is a large number of websites that talk about different types of mountain massifs on our planet. On the other hand, the websites that talk about technology usually have their content updated very often since the branch of industry in question is fast-paced and ever-changing, and due to the frequent updates, the average page load time could be longer due to file sizes and the need to optimize images.
After referential websites, other top categories for which we examined the average PageSpeed score were health, technology, food and drink, and education. However, these scores can be affected by load speeds and how quickly a page loads, which in turn can be influenced by how well the site compress images and content. Understanding these metrics is essential because longer to load times can negatively impact user experience and SEO rankings.
While the website categories probably don’t affect which websites were the top search result, our data suggest that they do affect the value of ad inventory. This is due to the fact that audiences from certain website categories are more valuable to advertisers than others. For instance, a faster site speed can improve user engagement and subsequently, ad revenue potential. From all the categories we examined, the websites with the highest ad revenue fall under automotive, family, and home and garden. Moreover, site loads times and page load speed are crucial metrics for mobile users, hence optimizing for mobile sites also improves your site’s overall performance.
The average PageSpeed scores by website categories
The average PageSpeed scores by website category on mobile devices suggest that many publishers have a hard time achieving high website speed. Only websites that fall under categories of culture and family achieved an average mobile score of over 50.
As expected, the average PageSpeed scores by category for desktop were higher than for mobile. Again, only websites that fall under categories of culture and family were able to achieve good performance scores by Google Page Speed Insights standards (between 80 and 100). Other categories had moderate or poor performance scores.
The fastest websites overall regardless of the category
Here is the list of the fastest websites overall, along with their PageSpeed score based on the mobile score of the URL for the query:
- AlphaEfficiency – speed score of 98
- Insta Followers – speed score of 97
- Time.gov – speed score of 95
- NASA – speed score of 92
- Downshiftology – speed score of 91
- Wikipedia – speed score of 89
- Downshiftology (different page) – speed score of 89
- Wikipedia (different page) – speed score of 89
- Rapid Tables – speed score of 89
- Pocket-Lint – speed score of 89
The fastest websites by category
Here are the websites with the highest mobile PageSpeed scores in each of the categories we examined:
- Technology: Insta Followers – speed score of 97
- Reference: Time.gov – speed score of 94
- Science and nature: NASA – speed score of 92
- Travel: Pocket-Lint – speed score of 89
- Food and drink: Downshiftology – speed score of 89
- Lifestyle: Wikipedia – speed score of 89
- Culture: Wikipedia – speed score of 89
- Entertainment: Google Support – speed score of 86
- Family: Wikipedia – speed score of 86
- Education: Math is Fun – speed score of 79
- Business and finance: Victoria.gov.au – speed score of 62
- Health: Natural Cycles – speed score of 51
- Home and garden: Handy – speed score of 47
- News: Newsweek – speed score of 40
- Games: YouTube – speed score of 31
- Sports and hobbies: CBS Sports – speed score of speed score 18
- Automotive: Dummies – speed score of 5
The slowest websites overall regardless of the category
Here is the list of the top 10 slowest websites overall, along with their PageSpeed score regardless of the category:
- T-Mobile – speed score of 1
- Spectrum – speed score of 1
- Travel.state.gov – speed score of 1
- Family Handy Man – speed score of 1
- Her Campus – speed score of 2
- SBA.gov – speed score of 3
- Rotten Tomatoes – speed score of 4
- Almanac.com – speed score of 5
- Dummies – speed score of 5
- Dummies (another page) – speed score of 5
Ever since 2010, page speed has been one of Google’s official ranking factors. Furthermore, in January 2018, Google stated that page speed would also become an official ranking factor in mobile search rankings. However, through our research, we weren’t able to determine a direct link between high page speed and high ranking spot on Google’s SERP. Furthermore, SEMRush doesn’t even mention page speed on their 17 Most Prominent Google Ranking Factors list. In fact, after direct website visits, the following top 3 spots on their lists are user experience metrics. These are:
- Time on site
- Pages per session
- Bounce rate
We can argue that high page speed positively affects all of these metrics, and Google’s latest Core Web Vitals update only adds to the significance of premium user experience as a ranking factor. So, there is obviously a positive correlation between high-ranking spots and higher than average speed scores. Bear in mind that page speed largely depends on the content management system used for website creation. From our experience, the Sage WordPress theme is the best basis for fast websites, perfect for search engine optimization.