Page Speed has been spoken about a lot over the past two years. Google has made it a major ranking factor for search. They even made a special tool called AMP to show us all how to make pages load fast and be mobile-friendly.
I have taken all of this to heart myself and am always trying to ensure we have fast page speeds for all our websites. Anyhow, this article is not about page speed alone, it’s about LinkedIn and what it does to your page speed.
The Linkedin Insights Tool
I recently attempted to use LinkedIn Insights and it was very insightful. It’s a tool similar to Facebook Pixel or Google Adwords tracking code. At its core, it is meant to allow you to track users from LinkedIn on your website. You can then make an audience to market to these users with remarketing methods. Sounds like a wonderful idea. And it is, in fact, a really good idea.
I went to the LinkedIn insights tool and I added the specific code to my Google Tag Manager. It was a really simple process and after checking it was tracking, I thought nothing more of it.
A few days passed and I had on my schedule to do some page edits and refresh a few pages on my website. We are doing a full site audit at the moment to improve all pages for SEO and conversion etc.
Immediately I noticed some very odd messages in Google Chrome. Weird domains were loading lots of scripts. Immediately my mind jumps to the worst-case scenario and I’m left wondering if it was a Google Chrome extension or virus. At this point, I scanned my Mac using a malware tool and started to try and track down the culprit of this problem.
After running the scan and experimenting with an enable and disable on all my chrome extensions I realised the problem was my website. It was loading something weird. I had a sinking feeling. I was wondering how my site could have possibly been hacked and this script got onto my pages.
Then, it occurred to me. I had added the LinkedIn Insights tracking code. I went to my Google Tag Manager toolkit, turned on the preview mode and could see LinkedIn Insights. It was loading a bunch of total rubbish behind it. I mean, why on earth should a tracking code have such weight to it.
A deeper investigated into LinkedIn Insights was needed
Using GTMetrix I loaded a page speed report using Australia as my location. The last time I ran it I was just above one second total load time. This time it was 8.0 seconds! Not 4, not 3 but 8 seconds. I was finding this hard to believe. Anyone that knows how hard it is to get WordPress to load a nice site in 1.2 seconds will appreciate my disappointment. I had gained weight, a lot of weight.
This result reminded me of the fat-free yoghurt episode on Seinfeld years ago. In this episode, everyone started getting fat eating yoghurt that was thought to be fat-free. When they jump on the scale, of course, it was over, they had all gained weight. You can do a Youtube search to find the episode.
I too had bought into the dream of LinkedIn Insights and found it was fat. Very fast and was a weight on my page.
I went to Google Tag Manager and published a new version of my tag container code without LinkedIn Insights and re-ran the test. I was back at 1.7 seconds.
LinkedIn Insights takes over 6 seconds to load!
Simple maths here was telling me that the LinkedIn Insights code was adding a whopping 6.3 seconds to my load time. Yep, 6.3 seconds. WOW.
It was loading just 0.3 megabytes in 6.1 seconds and managed to take my page speed ranking from an A to a B. All the hype and sales marketing materials on the earth can’t make up for such a terrible tracking code load time.
I removed the Insights code and began to rethink my advertising strategy. However, the insightful side of myself (see what I did there) made me want to look further.
I’m merciless with a tracking code
You should be merciless too. You see, Google tells us that for every second we increase load time on our pages, we lose 25% of our customers. So effectively to lose all your customers you can just load LinkedIn Insights.
I have included the screenshots of the test comparison below. The red column is the load time for my site with LinkedIn Insights installed.
At my current page size, my biggest weight is Google Tag Manager at 0.5 seconds. GTM is giving me lots of good information with Google Analytics. After my site audit will also have the AdWords tracking code added to GTM.
When should you use a tracking code?
Acting on analytics will make a difference. Act on what you already have. After that, If you cannot get the insights you need from Google Analytics, use something else but uninstall what doesn’t work and use what you have installed.
Don’t load what you don’t need.
As for Facebook Pixel – I don’t use it on my site because I’m not using retargeting advertising. If you are, then you may want to use it but don’t load it just for the fun of it. All you will do is slow down your website to no advantage. You may, in fact, cause a disadvantage if your webpage slows and gets too heavy from the script.
One rule is the rule to rule them all in 2018, make sure your page loads fast.
When I say fast, GTMetrix should be giving you a total page load time of under 2 seconds with Google Analytics on no bandwidth restriction.
If you can’t do that, it’s time to get mean and get lean. Lose that page weight and get results. You can have the best website design ever, but if it loads slow no one will ever hang around to see it.
Should I use LinkedIn Insights?
I would say no. Unless a tracking code loads fast you should not include it. The only exception is when you absolutely must have the script to make your business work. For just about every customer I can think of, that means you should never install LinkedIn insights. Wait it out until they can get it loaded in under 1 second.