YOAST SEO SLOWING DOWN SITE

Matthew Carter
Hello friends, my name is Matthew Carter. I’m a professional link builder for a large SEO agency in New York City.

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Think about what happens when you load a website. There are lots of different stages and many different parts which can be measured. If the network connection is slow, but the images load quickly, how ‘fast’ is the site? What about the other way around?

For example, a page which takes longer to ‘finish loading’ may provide a functional ‘lightweight’ version while the full page is still downloading in the background. Is that ‘faster’ or ‘slower’ than a website which loads faster, but which I can’t use until it’s finished loading?

Learning how to check your site speed doesn’t need to be daunting. This short guide will give you the basics, and point you in the right direction.

There’s no single metric.

We can monitor some of this from the ‘outside-in’ with tools which scan the website and measure how it loads. We recommend using multiple tools, as they measure things differently, and are useful for different assessments. For example:

First up, the physical hardware of your device needs to connect to the Internet. Usually, that involves moving data through transatlantic fibre cables. That means that you’re limited by the speed of light, and how quickly your device can process information.

WordPress has some great plugins for doing this kind of analysis, too – I’m a big fan of Query Monitor. This provides some great insight into which bits of WordPress might be slowing you down – whether it’s your themes, plugins, or environments.

They’ll provide charts and metrics around things like slow database queries and slow scripts . Armed with this information, you can get a better understanding if your hosting is up to scratch and if you need to make code changes to your theme/plugins/scripts.

We can measure the performance of the server with tools like NewRelic or DataDog, which monitors how your site behaves and responds from the ‘inside’.

From the moment when you click on a link (or hit ‘enter’ in your URL bar), a process begins to load the page you requested.

Understanding the loading process.

You can read more about these metrics in Google’s documentation.

This section can get a bit technical, as it’s focused on the performance of server hardware, databases, and scripts. You may need to ask for help from your hosting provider or tech team.

The first thing to understand is that there is no single metric or measurement for ‘speed’. There’s no simple number which you can use to measure how quickly your pages load.

These kinds of tools are great for spotting things like images which need to be optimized, where your CSS or JavaScript is slow, or where you’re waiting for assets to load from other domains.

1. Network stuff.

These are much more sophisticated metrics than “how long did it take to load”, and, perhaps more importantly, have a user-centric focus. Improving these metrics should correlate directly with user satisfaction, which is super-important for SEO.

Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments!

Despite all of these moving parts, there are a few universal metrics which make sense for all sites to measure, and optimize for. These are:

This stage is where the page needs to be constructed, laid out, colored in, and displayed. The way in which images load, in which JavaScript and CSS are processed, and every individual HTML tag on your page affects how quickly things load.

That process contains many steps, but they can be grouped into broad stages which looks something like this:

Pageviews:

In percentages, these increases mean:

If we compare the results with those we obtained before we have:

We have given you the numbers.

Do you want to know the results?

1. Does Yoast slow down WordPress?

Performance results of a Page full of content with Yoast installed.

We have Generated the Report.

This Post will be divided into 2 different parts:

3rd : We have compared the Results .

Yoast default configuration.

Performance results of a Page full of content without any Plugin installed.

We didn’t expect to have a 1+1 = 2 result, of course.

We have 1,000 users a week , again.

We have Generated the Performance Report without any Plugin installed.

As you can see, this is a very Popular Plugin.

2. Our Today’s Google Analytics report: Users and Pageviews we have.

The Site has only the Twenty Twenty Theme .

Local is a program that allows you to create WordPress Sites locally, on your own computer (not in your hosting) so you can try different things without affecting your real Sites (we are not sponsored, of course).

But, we can conclude that, these increases are constant increases, not percentage increases .

We have focused on the WordPress sample Post.

Then, we Installed Yoast, and generated the same report… Again.

The metrics that have worsened the most have been:

Performance Results of a new WordPress Site with Yoast installed.

1. Does Yoast slow down WordPress?

We have slowed down our Reference Page.

Users:

In case you didn’t know, this Tool measures your main speed metrics.

2nd : We have installed Yoast and tested its speed again .

As you can see, this Site has no Plugin at all.

Moreover, there must be decimals that have been rounded .

As you can appreciate, these results are much worse than those we had in our Empty Reference Page.

Therefore, we have decided to test whether Yoast actually slow downs your Site, “scientifically” .

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