Bulk Testing Google PageSpeed Insights

Posted on May 31, 2019

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Pagespeed Insights(PSI) is a great tool for quickly checking the score of a single page but when you need to test more than one URL, it becomes a time-consuming task to complete. You have to paste individual URLs into the PSI interface and wait for each one to complete.

PageSpeed Plus is the solution to this problem, enabling Bulk Testing Google PageSpeed Insights across every page on your entire site.

full-site-700.png Results of a full site scan

Start a bulk PageSpeed Scan

Contents

PageSpeed Plus

PageSpeed Plus is powered by version 5 of the PageSpeed Insights API which uses Lighthouse data.

It allows you to scan your entire website daily, weekly and on demand. These scans can be set to run on a schedule or triggered manually when you decide. When a scan starts, we grab every URL in the sitemap.xml file and pass each one through the PageSpeed API for both mobile and desktop. After all URLs have been processed, users receive an email with the average score. An in-depth report of every page is available on the PageSpeed Plus dashboard.

This allows you to inspect your site on a page by page basis, sort by score or URL and gradually build a picture of which pages on your site are slow. Each site also has an overview section so you can quikcly see your average score and whether any monitored URLs are slow.

summary-tiles.png Site summary

Why we built it

We started our PageSpeed journey by pasting URLs into the PageSpeed Insights UI but only ever tested the homepage and a few other random URLs on our site. We would optimize them and fix the issues only to come back a few weeks later to find that the score had changed again.

Our testing was only ever reactive and we only covered a small percentage of the pages on our sites.

The next step was to try and automate things so we found a few tutorials that stitched together a google sheet and some functions but it was to difficult to scale and hard for non-technical people to use.

We then tried a number of free and commercial tools but none of them were able to scan our entire site reliably at the required intervals to give us the data we need. Worst of all, they destroyed our analytics and usage limits on tags because the PageSpeed Insights UI executes JavaScript.

We wanted to put PageSpeed at the heart of all decisions made by our team but to do that requires a reliable tool, with a nice UI that can send alerts and integrate with other systems. We realized that the only way we could get there was to build our own tool. After discovering there is a PageSpeed Insights API, we made the decision and started building.

How to run a scan

Now that you know what it does and why we built it, let’s explain how to start a scan in less than 20 seconds.

  • Go to the dashboard and click Add Site

add-site.jpg

  • Give it a name.
  • Enter the homepage URL
  • Enter the path the to the sitemap.xml file
  • Click Start

Every page listed in your sitemap.xml file will now be measured with the PageSpeed Insights API. Obviously, the more pages your site has the longer it lasts but we can do multiple URLs in parallel to accelerate the process. You can see the progress and view pages as they complete.

Once a scan finishes you will receive an email and can view the full contents of the report from your dashboard.

After the initial setup scan, we will automatically scan your site daily or weekly from then on, depending on the settings you choose. If you are on the Pro plan, you'll have access to the on demand button. Just click that and your scan will start.

Once a few scans have completed, your analytics will begin to take shape so you can see how the average score changes between scans.

analytics-700.png

How it works

PageSpeed Plus integrates with version 5 of the PageSpeed Insights API. We scan every URL to get its desktop score and then a second time to get the mobile score. These requests are done using your Google API Key. This allows you to view analytics in the Google API Explorer and means you can scan many more URLs than other services that have a limit on the number of pages that can be tested per day.

Benefits of Bulk Google Pagespeed Scans

The obvious benefit of full site scans is that you can see the score of every page on your site instead of one. This allows you to identify pages that are ripe for optimization which could return quick wins in SERP rankings if a little performance work was carried out.

Future scans are then automated so you don’t have to log in every time you want to run a scan. Just decide whether you want daily or weekly test and we will take it from there.

Email alerts notify you when a scan is complete and tell you the average score. If the result is good, you may not even need to login to PageSpeed Plus and analyze the results but of course, if you want, just tap the link in the email to go directly there.

A key offering of PageSpeed Plus full site scans is that you can specify a URL parameter to be appended to every request. This allows you to filter these requests out of your analytics and any other tracking to avoid your data being distorted or usage limits being exceeded. We recommend ?referrer=pagespeedplus.

Comparison

We’ve sung the praises of PageSpeed Plus but let’s not forget that PageSpeed Insights from Google is where it all started so it’s only fair to compare both tools so you can see which one suits your use case better:

Google PageSpeed Insights
  • Test single URLs only
  • Test One URL at a time
  • Manual
  • No alerts
  • Free
PageSpeed Plus
  • Test every URL in sitemap.xml
  • Test multiple URLs in parallel
  • Automated
  • Email alerts
  • Paid

You can choose which one suits your needs.

Conclusion

PageSpeed Insights from Google is a fantastic tool for people at the beginning of their web performance and technical SEO journey but anyone who takes these seriously will quickly outgrow the feature set.

Automation is the only way to truly stay on top of PageSpeed for large websites and agencies who want to measure their Google Pagespeed in Bulk. You can build your own solution or use an off the shelf tool like PageSpeed Plus. If you choose to do that you won’t be disappointed.

Along with the other features of PageSpeed Plus that we haven’t discussed such as URL Monitoring, URL Analytics and Slack Alerts we can keep track of our PageSpeed and know exactly when we need to take action.

Try PageSpeedPlus Now

If you have a feature request or any feedback about PageSpeed Plus, get in touch. All suggestions are welcome.