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I’ve said it before, site speed is typically one of the largest, if not the largest, SEO opportunity I usually uncover with sites that I work with. In the industry, there are many site speed tools that can be used to measure performance improvements and even companies that focus solely on improving site speed.

However, there are five site speed tools in particular that stand out above the rest, and which I prefer to use in technical SEO campaigns, largely in conjunction with each other.

There are places where each of the tools below cross over, allowing you to validate critical site speed issues and show that things were identified across more than a single tool. Additionally, each tool has it’s own unique characteristics that make it stand alone in terms of driving incremental value for your SEO campaign.

Essentially, these are the best site speed tools around!

1. WebPageTest.org

Overall site speed test result from WebPageTest.org

Link: https://www.webpagetest.org/

Why I like it?

  1. It’s one of the oldest and most respect page speed tools, and is backed by Google and other well-known entities in the space.
  2. It provides load times for both the first view and repeat view, which is not necessarily something other tools provide. This enables you to look at the effects caching has on repeat-visitors.
  3. While many other tools provide load times, it’s one of the only ones that I trust in terms of accuracy, many other tools give you simply a score from 1 to 100.
  4. One of the best tools to give you a detailed breakdown of page weight by content type
  5. Gotta love the video capture of a load attempt.
  6. Unique in that it measures use of progressive JPG’s and CDN usage.
  7. Can configure tests to simulate different geographic locations, user-agents, etc.

More screenshots:

Site speed performance breakdown from WebPageTest.org

Site speed content breakdown from WebPageTest.org

2. Google Page Speed Insights

Google Page Speed Insights example screenshot

Link: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Why I like it?

  1. First, it’s another Google-powered tool.
  2. While it doesn’t give you an actual load time, you do get a nice easy 1-100% score.
  3. One of the only tools that breaks things down by both mobile AND desktop and scores separately.
  4. Can actually pick up if you have a mobile-separate configuration and will score that site/code-base accordingly.
  5. Does a great job of helping webmasters prioritize key issues by severity and impact.
  6. Almost always surfaces up render-blocking issues, which is typically the #1 thing I see affecting the load times of most sites.
  7. Also separates out and scores the user-experience component for mobile.
  8. Really good documentation on site speed best practices

More screenshots:

Google Page Speed Insights render-blocking example screenshot

3. GT Metrix

GT Metrix overall site speed score example

Link: https://gtmetrix.com/

Why I like it?

  1. This tool is my personal favorite!
  2. As a tool, it probably includes the most data points and number of items that it takes into account.
  3. Probably the most extensive documentation on site speed best practices.
  4. Gives you both a load time and a score from 1-100%, so the best of both worlds.
  5. Allows you to schedule regular page speed monitoring.
  6. Includes a separate WordPress site speed component.
  7. Also incorporates and scores data from YSlow.
  8. Like WebPageTest.org, offers the option to see the page load attempt via video capture.

More screenshots:

GT Metrix site speed waterfall example

GT Metrix video capture page load attempt

4. Varvy Pagespeed

Vary pagespeed example score

Link: https://varvy.com/pagespeed/

Why I like it?

  1. This is more of a niche tool, but it does do some nice things!
  2. Developed by Patrick Sexton, Varvy offers maybe the most easy to understand explanations of key page speed issues. Here is a great example on render-blocking Javascript.
  3. Additionally, I really like the user-friendly way in which the tool visually represents the number of files including images, Javascript, and CSS files. As many sites often have too many of these files, and given that it’s hard to count when looking at source code, this tool is convenient in that way (and increases efficiency).

More screenshots:

Vary pagespeed example score

Vary pagespeed example score

5. Pingdom Tools

Pingdom page speed test example

Link: https://tools.pingdom.com/

Why I like it?

  1. While it’s not my favorite tool on this list, it is still one of the more respected site speed tools in the industry.
  2. Like GT Metrix, they give you both a 1-100% grade as well as an actual load time (though I often believe their times skew too low).
  3. They have made some nice upgrades recently in terms of the depth of information they share – even for free tests.
  4. Earlier this year, added the ability to regularly monitor site speed for paid customers.
  5. Run tests simulating different geographic locations.

More screenshots:

Pingdom page speed test example

Pingdom page speed test example

So, did I miss anything? What tools do you use?