The Importance of Page Load Speed Crucial to SEO Rankings
Think about this:
You’ve decided to do some baking and are looking for the right recipe. It’s taking forever for pages to load – well, more than a second or two.
Do you sit around and wait or abandon it and choose another link in the search results?
As a professional SEO team, we are reasonably sure we know the answer.
Imagine if that was your website and visitors. Your page takes more than three seconds to load, and they give up, which means fewer conversions.
In this article, we explore the importance of page speed and the impact it has on your conversion rates and SEO. We then consider what can be done to improve the speed for a more significant effect.
Page Speed – What is it?
Page speed is how long it takes for a web page to load. You know it yourself that you don’t want to wait for it to load, and reports show that the optimal load time is three seconds or less.
Many factors impact speed, including image file size and server response time. However, when you start looking deeper into it, it’s not as simple as how long your page takes to load. Other measurements are relevant, including the following:
- Fully Loaded Pages – This is the easiest way to measure speed. It’s probably how most people understand the concept, which is the amount of time it takes for everything to load on the page.
- First Contentful Paint – This is about how long it takes for a page to load enough of the images, text, and graphics for the user to interact with the page. As an example, imagine your page takes 6 seconds to load fully. This is considered a long time. However, if essential information on the page loads quickly, your consumers may stop to read the content. This may be relevant; for example, if it’s a recipe and the pictures take a long to load, but the recipe doesn’t, then the user can start interacting straight away.
- Time to First Byte – Using this option is where the metric tells you how long the page will load.
There are many ways of measuring speed, but there isn’t one metric better than another. Essentially, the best course of action is to ensure your website loads quickly.
Let’s explore why page speed is essential.
Why is Web Page Speed Essential?
Google, the most popular search engine worldwide, expects web pages to be speedy. They use it as a ranking factor and have been since 2010. In 2018, Google addressed the importance of speed in a 2018 The Speed Update.
Users want information quickly, which is why search engines place such importance on it. Google, the search engine giant, is determined to continue offering the best and most relevant experiences and answers to users, which is why every minor factor is considered.
If your site is slow – remember, 4 seconds is considered slow in the internet world, then your rankings will be affected. The speed of web pages can also indirectly affect your ranking by increasing bounce rate and reduced dwell time.
So, how does Google measure your website’s speed? While we don’t have exact data on this, you can track it with the Google Page Speed Insights tool, which combines fully loaded page, first contentful paint, and time to first byte.
Improving Page Speed
We’ve made it reasonably clear how vital page speed is for ranking. You’re probably wondering how you can improve yours, and we have a few tips to help you.
- Compress Images – This is the easiest and most effective way to improve speed on your website. If you look at the ratio of images to text, you’re likely to find more visual elements, which is a good thing because we often retain information better this way. The only drawback is that these images can slow down the site. Using tools to compress your images will mean you can have compelling images without compromising the site’s speed and quality of the pictures.
- Content Delivery Network (CDN) – It’s not unusual for page speed to be affected by the distance between you and the hosting server for the website. CDN’s can assist with solving this issue by determining where your site visitors are located and sharing the resources on your website from a server closer to them.
- Minify Your Code – Take a look at your code and clean up any elements that are unnecessary. For example, are there widgets and plug-ins you’re not using or are no longer relevant to your content? Getting rid of these will help with speed, along with compressing your code with a tool like GZip.
- Upgrade Your Hosting – If you share your server with many other websites, then all the above won’t be near as effective as upgrading to a premium or dedicated hosting service. It’s well worth considering for a faster website.
There is information everywhere and usually within our reach within a matter of seconds. We are a society that wants things quickly and doesn’t want to way for pages to load, which means if your site is ‘slow’, you are likely to lose a conversion.
It can be easy to overlook the speed of a page, but if you want to continue to grow your audience, you need speed. You don’t need to worry because our team is specialists in this area and can optimise your website to start ranking higher in search engines, such as Google.
Click here to know more factors that influence SEO rankings.
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