Faster than the speed of Google

You’d be forgiven for thinking that web page performance optimisation is an incredibly dull subject. We agree that it’s very very boring, until you realise just how important it is to winning new customers…

The screeching 90s

Back in the good old days of the early commercial Internet, website performance optimisation mattered. Every laborious browsing session was accompanied by the dulcet tones of a 28k modem screeching it’s way onto the so-called information superhighway. In reality, it was more like joining the M25 at 5pm on a Friday with only Thrash Metal FM for entertainment.

Images rendered pixel by pixel in a mosaic of expectation. HTML drip dripped down a mesh of decaying copper wire. Web designers spent half their time squishing content, the other half ignoring the world with a permanently engaged telephone line. During the 90s, these web design hermits needed a virtuous blend of patience, precision and pedantry.

The asynchronous 00s

Throughout the 80s and 90s some boffins at US firm Bellcore were researching ways to speed up data connectivity over traditional phone lines. Led by growing consumer demand for greater connection speeds, ADSL broadband became widely available in 2001.

For the web developer this quantum leap was a truly life changing experience. No longer need we flog ourselves with a Spectrum ZX81 mouse mat for omitting to minify a 50kb Javascript. Deploying high quality photos, beautiful animations and even video content, we could go bytesize bonkers. Download speed just didn’t matter anymore. The shackles were off and anything was possible, even telephone conversations.

The mobile 10s

Sadly, these short-lived cyberspace celebrations abruptly ended with the emergence of the smartphone. As we’d just rediscovered the art of conversation, mobile phones started to learn new tricks. For the web developer, this sudden surge in mobile web activity was like your parents finding 57 of your mates dribbling unconscious around their formerly immaculate home. The party was over.

With half of online audiences now using mobile devices, it was time to relearn the noble art of compression and numerous other performance enhacing methods. So mission-critical was it that in April 2015, Google introduced a two-tier search algorithm that factored in mobile user experience. With little warning, it sent search marketing and web design professionals into an optimisation frenzy. The rule is quite simple; optimise for mobile or risk losing traffic in the deep chasm of search engine obscurity.

We recently ran a Google PageSpeed Insights test to pit our optimisation skills against the mighty Google themselves. Surely, we couldn’t outperform using their own test?


Initial page speed tests have proved succesful.

Given the limited content on, we were pleased to find that Vivid’s image and video content-rich and mobile responsive website outperformed Google by three points on the desktop test and 23 points on mobile.

The results weren’t too surprising, as we’ve paid a lot of attention to pagespeed optimisation and technical performance as part of our wider SEO strategy. As detailed in our recent post, this is paying real dividends in terms of site traffic, mobile usage and lead generation.

The terabit 20s

Looking to the future, it’s anticipated that by 2021 the UK will launch a new 5G network. Near 100% coverage will be required as the network will carry data for safety critical systems such as emergency services planning and autonomous vehicle management.

Whilst trials of the new technology have achieved terabit speeds, Ofcom expects average connections will be around 10-50 gigabits on launch. To put that in context, at top speed you’ll be able to wirelessly download five feature length HD movies in just one second. That’s 3000 times faster than current average UK broadband speeds.

Through these hypersonic speeds, perhaps we can finally break free of page speed considerations. Until then, we’ll just keep on squishing.

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