RebelMouse Talk to Us
Signed Exchange: Case Studies on Performance

RebelMouse is a cloud-based enterprise CMS for high-value sites that take digital seriously. As a platform, we are always looking for ways to increase performance. This is because performance is a vital part of our clients’ growth and business model, due to the fact that it has a direct impact on user traffic, pageviews, and revenue.

In our pilot test, we found that Google Search’s support of prefetching signed exchanges (SXG) via Cloudflare delivers better site performance for users on Android devices. Currently, SXG only works for Android users, but it’s a feature that’s specified and encouraged by standards bodies such as IETF and W3C, and Google hopes that other browsers will soon adopt support of it as well.


Case Studies

The following case studies demonstrate the improvement in traffic and site performance after taking advantage of SXG.

For the three sites in our pilot, we compared Android-device traffic in the 30-day period before and after SXG was implemented. The results were fantastic for all three participants, and resulted in a reduction of average page download time by over 97% for each site!

PAPER Magazine

PAPER is a storied and beloved cultural site featuring stars like Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus, and thousands of other celebrities. The site performs very well when it comes to search traffic, and has an audience that returns to the site frequently. While their content is known for “Breaking the Internet,” PAPER’s site has always been stable and performant, which has helped them build an incredibly loyal audience over the years.

For PAPER, the impact of using SXG was immediate.

Page Speed Metrics From Google Analytics

  • Decrease in Avg. Redirection Time: -75%
  • Decrease in Avg. Server Response Time: -22%
  • Decrease in Avg. Page Download Time: -99%

Impact on Core Web Vitals

  • Decrease in LCP: -10.1%
  • Decrease in TTFB: -8.4%
  • Decrease in FID: -36.9%

User Behavior Impact

  • Increase in Sessions per User: +27.7%
  • Increase in Avg. Session Duration: +127.1%

Narcity

Narcity is a local news site based out of Canada that covers 18 cities across Canada and the U.S. Traffic from Google is a key component of their audience.

Page Speed Metrics From Google Analytics

  • Decrease in Avg. Page Load Time: -1.9%
  • Decrease in Avg. Redirection Time: -25%
  • Decrease in Avg. Domain Lookup Time: -33.3%
  • Decrease in Avg. Page Download Time: -97.6%

Impact on Core Web Vitals

  • Decrease in CLS: -11.7%
  • Decrease in LCP: -41.1%
  • Decrease in FID: -11.7%

MTL Blog

MTL Blog is another local news site that’s run by Narcity, and it specifically focuses on the Montreal, Québec area.

Page Speed Metrics From Google Analytics

  • Decrease in Avg. Page Load Time: -21.3%
  • Decrease in Avg. Redirection Time: -50%
  • Decrease in Avg. Domain Lookup Time: -33.3%
  • Decrease in Avg. Server Connection Time: -40%
  • Decrease in Avg. Server Response Time: -25%
  • Decrease in Avg. Page Download Time: -98.3%

Impact on Core Web Vitals

  • Decrease in LCP: -3%
  • Decrease in TTFB: -13%
  • Decrease in FID: -16.1%

Lessons Learned: Watch Device Detection

In our first implementation of SXG, we noticed that while some numbers like server response time improved, the average page download time increased. After further review, we realized that we were not serving the mobile version of the sites to the Googlebot that was doing the prefetching.

RebelMouse normally serves highly optimized pages based on device and network speed that automatically adapts to serve smaller image sizes and HTML code, but we unintentionally skipped that in our first implementation of SXG.

If you see your average page download time increase in your implementation, it’s highly likely that you need to configure your server response to give the mobile version of your site to Googlebot. (We use RegExp based on the value(s) specified in this Google crawler documentation.)

Technical Configuration

We implemented SXG using Cloudflare’s SXG feature. We had to change our TTL for post pages to have a 23-hour cache control using this setup:

cache-control: public, max-age=82800

Since editorial teams need to be able to update content that is timely and doesn’t get delayed by a long cache, we implemented ETags to accommodate for this.

At RebelMouse, we obsess over processes like SXG to ensure that our clients deliver a superior site experience to their users. If you want to transform your publishing experience and keep up with the speed of the web, request a proposal today and let’s start working together.

What Is RebelMouse?
Request a Proposal
The Most Secure CMS of 2022
Featured

The Most Secure CMS of 2022

Why RebelMouse Is the Most Secure CMS on the Web

Delivering a secure, high-performing environment with extreme reliability is essential to all of our clients at RebelMouse. We only use industry-leading, reliable approaches to host our infrastructure. This ensures maximum stability and security for all of our clients’ data. Here are just some of the reasons we’re able to maintain a hard-bodied product that’s flexible, too.

Keep reading... Show less
Google Made Major Changes to Its Formula for Page Speed. Here’s What to Do About It in 2022.
Rebel Insights

Google Made Major Changes to Its Formula for Page Speed. Here’s What to Do About It in 2022.

Make sure your site is set up for success in 2022.

In the spring of 2020, Google let the world know that its Core Web Vitals would become the new benchmark for measuring a site's performance in its search results, known as the page experience update. Fast forward to more than a year later in August 2021 when, after much anticipation, Google's page experience update became official.

Since its rollout, developers have felt the impact of how their publishing platforms stack up against the new standard. Important decisions around the architecture of your site can now make or break your site's performance in the eyes of Google.

HTTP Archive, a tracking platform that crawls the web to identify trends and record historical patterns, has revealed how top content management systems (CMS) have weathered the page experience update through the creation of its Core Web Vitals Technology Report. RebelMouse consistently outperforms major CMS platforms on Google's most critical metrics since its rollout and into 2022:

Getting superior scores on Google's performance benchmarks isn't easy, either. The Ahrefs blog analyzed Core Web Vitals data from the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX), which is data from actual Chrome users, to see how the web stacks up against Core Web Vitals. Their study found that only 33% of sites on the web are passing Core Web Vitals.

data from Ahrefs tracked on a line chart finds that shows only 33% of sites on the web pass Google's Core Web Vitals From Ahrefs.

Luckily, performing well on Core Web Vitals is possible with thoughtful, strategic changes to your site’s codebase. Here's what you need to know and how we can help.

Keep reading... Show less
Interested in a Free Website Health Check?Check Your
Website's Health
Get Your Free Analysis Now