Drift and SEO

Optimizing For Page Speed: The High Price Of Drift In SEO

Live Chat – Conversion Generator Or Annoying And Pushy?

Sites of all kinds are adding them and in various degrees of ways.  Ultimate SEO added its live chat component but I’d call it a passive chat option.  Visitors had it available to them but the live chat didn’t use any means to start a conversation.  I actually find the “active chat” intrusive and fake.

No, Brian, who’s picture is next to some text, “Hi there, can I help you?” I’ve just landing on your site, give me a minute.  It’s like a shopping experience at The Buckle.  (For those of us who remember shopping for clothes at a mall). The Buckle was aggressive, they hounded you and tossed clothes at you on the way to the fitting room, regardless of how ridiculous you looked they always told you, to buy that!

Live chat can be that way too.  It can be a tool available to the visitor or a tool available to the web site owner and there is a difference.   Heres an example:

Intercom Live ChatAhrefs.com – Semi-passive, it is there and an option to you but after about a minute theres a red notification 1 and dialogue from “Helen” it takes up a sizable part of the screen and lacks an obvious way to close it.  They aren’t using Drift but a competitor Intercom Live Chat.  Same difference though to the live chat discussion.

I hate being asked stuff like that with these dialogue boxes.  I sincerely doubt that “Helen” is really trying to actively help me at that moment.  She’s a set of rules and timers that will pass me off to a sales person if I interact with her.  In many ways it is like dealing with the Phantom of the Opera.  ” Keep your hands at the level of your eyes!” if you make eye contact, it’s over.

 

Adding Live Chat To Your Website With Drift

This is just a quick note of Drift and SEO.  Drift is a chat plugin, or embed code and a Cloudflare App which allows a site owner or staff to interact proactively with web visitors.  It’s great for lead generation and I have a client that swears by it which is what lead me to test it out.

I used it for a month or so on this site with minimal appeal.  Alot of the useful stuff seemed to require a paid account.  I couldn’t for instance see how many visitor didn’t use the tool vs the one person who did.  Sure I have analytics that tell me page hits and unique visitors, but that doesn’t tell me how many of those had the Drift pop up box work on their visit.  It could have been blocked by some, but I wont know.  Assuming everyone got Drift delivered to them only one person ever messaged using it.  Annoyingly thats a very high price in terms of code sent to visitors that didn’t use it and that added processing time does affect a sites ranking.

How Much Did Drift Affect Page Load

Immensely.  Like a stupidly insane cost to page load was easily seen.  Its so bad I’ll tell ya out right I highly discourage Drift on any site attempting to rank on Google.  Here is the GTMetrix report for my site with Drift.

Page Speed With Drift

At 14 seconds the site is doing basically the worst I’ve ever seen.  Considering the page size and requests its not that big nor does it require a ton of requests.  I consider under 100 a safe place.  But that means nothing next to 13.5 seconds.

Now when I removed Drift and reran the test.  I got the results below…

Page Speed Without DriftThat’s what I mean by insanely stupid.  Simply removing Drift decreased the page requests by almost half!  The load time for the page drops to almost a third of what it was with Drift.  4.6 seconds vs 13.5 seconds is astonishing.  8.9 seconds … just call it 9 at that point.  The goal of course is under 3 seconds and Drift alone is 3 times the amount.  When we consider that 1000 visitors came to the site in the last month that would mean Drift added 9000 seconds to users wait time to load the homepage.  Imagine that Drift is on every page what that delay was PER PAGE!  The homepage alone would have taken 2.5 hours longer in visitors combined wait times.

It can’t be that bad….YES IT REALLY IS.  That’s horrific in SEO terms.  You had best get a huge amount of conversion and consider a PPC campaign because honestly your SEO rankings are set to tank in mobile searches.  Which begs the question, how important is it to conversions if no one comes to the site since its listed on page 3 because of Drift.

This was with using the Cloudflare App version, which should be the fastest way to do it.  It moves Drift closer to the visitors on the Cloudflare edge servers.

How Do We Fix Drift?

Drift has to address its sloppy coding experience.  Why they require 40 something requests is beyond rational thought.  The payload of your site’s pages isn’t going to clear the tower, Drift should rebrand itself Challenger.

Drift
** ADVANCE FOR USE FRIDAY, JAN. 28, 2011 AND THEREAFTER ** FILE – In this Jan. 28, 1986 file photo, the space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after lifting off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP Photo/Bruce Weaver, File)

I’m not trying to be over the top, but when one thing that’s supposed to help you, takes 3 times the total time you have to deliver your message … it’s not good.  I’d argue you’re better off with a page that loads in 4.6 seconds without it.

According to Google research each second over 5 seconds 10% of your audience abandons your site.  That’s nearly half the visitors lost if you can get the page to load in 10 seconds.

Drift Alternatives

Drift isn’t the only option either.  I haven’t tested these but they can’t be any worse…

LiveChat.com, twak.com, crisp.com, and there’s a ton more.

So summary…using Drift is like killing half your web traffic to ask 1 in 1000 how you can help.

 

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Summary
Optimizing For Page Speed: The High Price Of Drift In SEO
Article Name
Optimizing For Page Speed: The High Price Of Drift In SEO
Description
Drift a WordPress pluggin and chat service is popular with marketers for reaching web visitors and its lead generation capability. Its also a sloppy, poorly coded pluggin that can wipe out your site's technical SEO advantages.
Author
Ultimate SEO
Ultimate SEO LLC
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Matthew Leffler

https://ultimateseo.org

Matthew Leffler is a freelance SEO on Upwork.com and SEOClerks.com with 20 years of technical experience and a technical education background. In those years of experience he's worked in several technical roles in informtation technology and software training. Matt has worked at Hewlett-Packard and Gateway Computers. Matthew earned his BSIT, MBA in Technology Management and MEd in Instructional Design. He holds over a dozen active technical certifications including A+, Netowrk+, Security+, Project+, is a Certified Webmaster Professional, and a HDI Help Desk Analyst.