How Google’s Website Ranking Factors Rank Website Providers

How do you measure?

In our previous two articles, we covered how Google uses its software to assess website performance, from page speed and technical SEO, to download rates and accessibility compliance. The first article looked at page speed, your Speed ​​Index score, and SEO rating, while the second article looked at Google’s accessibility and best practices score. Both of these articles focused on the performance of OEM websites against each other and independents.

The subject of this article will be to examine the performance of website providers against each other, as seen through the eyes of Google.

Our data source consisted of over 35,000 dealer websites.

Google’s Speed ​​Index score is based on the average time it takes for visible parts of the page to display. For this study, we only looked at mobile devices, as approximately 80% of car shoppers shop through a mobile device, while over 90% of Hispanic shoppers shop the same way.

Let’s look at the data…

As an industry, we can do better than that. I identified two critical thresholds – at 5 seconds and at 10. Ideally, mobile load times should be 3-4 seconds at most. Any longer, and you start experiencing an increasing volume of dropouts.

I chose the 5 second mark just to be practical, recognizing that some OEMs are time consuming and load time consuming features. But even with that said, it’s hard to justify the speeds we see here. I imagine some vendors might not like this article and say our data is wrong or should be ignored. That’s good, they can discuss this argument with Google. These are Google numbers after all.

Brian Pascha well-known automotive veteran, quite aptly launched an initiative to bring the automotive community together on some GA4 standards in the hope of developing common and usable standards for the industry. Based on these numbers, we would do well to apply the same thought process to automotive website performance to ensure that we deliver highly usable and fast Google claim websites to our dealership customers.

To do this, we should identify what slows sites down (think third-party code), what metric we’ll use to gauge success (think Google since that’s the 8,253-ton gorilla in the room), and make sure that all providers play by the same rules. Otherwise, we will continue to get results like you see below for Google’s sister metric to speed index, i.e. their Google PageSpeed ​​score. Not good.

As I said in my previous two articles, you can’t hide your head and try to ignore Google’s ranking factors. You need to learn how to work with them to optimize your client’s website performance. Google cannot be ignored, but it serves as a neutral metric to gauge website performance. If your provider is listed here, see where it ranks against its competitors and contact me for further analysis, or just use Google Page speed information tool to do your assessment. Speed ​​matters, and your website should be as fast as possible on your customers’ mobile and desktop devices. Otherwise, you risk losing potential customers who don’t want to wait for your website to load.

Part 2 of this vendor review will follow in a few weeks…stay tuned.

Charles J. Kaplan