This is part 2 of An introduction to SiteImp Reports, an 11 part series about SiteImp audits, designed to help you learn more about your new SiteImp report. If you would like to follow along, you can download it here. (Note - it will open in a new tab.)
Last article, I talked about the report summary. The report summary is where the website owner and I talk about their website. In the sample report, I only had one thing to talk about - cumulative layout shift.
This article, you’ll see why I was so upset with my site’s CLS scores. Here is precisely why:
I’ll define each column as I go from left to right. But first, I want to talk about how these numbers are generated. They are primarily based upon Google Lighthouse scores. To understand how they’re created, you have to understand how SiteImp works.
The process starts with an automated crawler that starts at your home page, makes a big list of every link it finds and builds a giant map out of the results. From there, it feeds the list of pages over to performance testing tools. SiteImp calculates scores and observes a variety of metrics for each page.
The average scores report shows the average of all your individual page scores. It’s a useful report to focus on at first because most websites have major structural problems that keep them performing poorly. This report and the site recommendations report give you a really good place to start - between the two (and the report summary), you’ll have actionable recommendations and measurements. All you have to do is implement some changes (or hire me to), measure again and check your performance.
The first column measures performance. It looks at everything from the moment a browser requests a page to the moment you can start using it. The number also gives special weighting to the three core web vitals, which are the last three columns on the right.
The second column measures accessibility. Accessibility measures how easily people with lower levels of vision can navigate your site. It considers everyone, from people with trouble seeing certain colours to those who use screen readers. SiteImp is in its version 1 stage and doesn’t provide advice about improving accessibility. In later versions, it will.
The third column measures search engine optimization or SEO. It looks at all the onscreen signals your website sends to search engines like Google. SiteImp will likely never be an SEO tool because there are already extremely good ones on the market.
The fourth column is for best practices. These are just as the name implies - best practices. Is your site served over https? Do you make use meta tags structured data properly? SiteImp doesn’t provide advice about best practices yet, but it will in a future release.
The fifth column is incredibly important. This column measures the average total bytes transferred across your entire website. This column is important because if you want to make your website fast, start by making it as small as you can. Get rid of everything you can live without and make it as small as possible.
The final three columns measure your average scores in core web vitals. Core web vitals speak to user experience and they speak to the heart of what performance optimization should provide. We want our websites to be fast so they deliver the best possible user experience. So, if your site improves in these core web vitals, you can argue that your site provides a better user experience.
The first core web vital is largest contenful paint (or LCP). Largest contentful paint is about loading time. How long does it take for the biggest piece of content on the page to render in a browser?
The second core web vital is first input delay (of FID). First input delay is about how long until the user can see things happen. Poor scores here mean that your page seems unresponsive while it’s loading.
The final core web vital is cumulative layout shift. It is about visual stability. Have you ever been on a page where the content really jerks around on you? It’s annoying, especially when you’re on mobile, trying to use a form or on an especially slow connection.
In siteimp.com’s case, I scored poorly on cumulative layout shift. We’ll figure out why in the next article.
Next article, I’m going to write about the all pages report. This report lists every page that our crawler found along with its scores.