Page Speed in SEO

Since 2010, Google has used page speed as a ranking factor. This is because Google knows that people want to quickly find answers to their questions. Think about the last time you visited a web page that loaded slowly. Did you stick around and wait or did you simply click away and look for the information you needed elsewhere?

Why Page Speed Matters

Everyone who uses the web wants the pages they visit to load quickly, including you. Google says that pages should take no longer than 3 seconds to load so users get what they want as quickly as possible.

The speed of your website can have a direct effect on your sales. SEO, and bottom line. Google penalise sites that load slowly by ranking them lower in the SERPs. Users also penalise sites with slow loading pages by not visiting them, bouncing off them, and refusing to make purchases. This means you lose out on a whole lot when your web pages don’t load quickly.

What Slows Down a Page’s Loading Time

Several factors can cause a web page to load slowly including:

  • Many images that aren’t properly optimised in the right formats
  • Many scripts that aren’t externalised
  • Unused scripts that load when the page is loading
  • A slow-loading server
  • Browser type being used

While page speed matters for both desktop users and mobile, it’s more of an issue on mobile. That’s because today, we’re very dependent on our mobile devices. And, mobile delivers more than half the overall web traffic, which is substantial.

It’s important to remember that the faster your site is, the more people will browse around to get to know your products and services. Your visitors will also be more likely to tell their friends about your website which will help you get more traffic. So page speed definitely has a positive ripple effect!

Checking Your Page Speed

There are many tools and plugins you can use to test page speed including:

  • Pingdom
  • Uptrends
  • GTmetrix
  • Mobile Speedcard & Impact Calculator
  • Page Speed Insights

The two last tools are Google’s own: Mobile Speedcard and Impact Calculator and PageSpeed Insights. The first shows the impact speed can have on your conversions. The second tool analyses the content on your web page then gives you suggestions to make the page faster.

Importance of Page Speed to SEO

Things like bounce rates, user experience, and conversion rates all have a significant impact on SEO and page speed affects each one. Conversions definitely impact how your site ranks. If your page speed is good and visitors complete the sales cycle, Google notices and considers moving you up a notch in the SERPs.

Google has always said that it emphasises making sure users have a great browsing experience. So when users become frustrated by a slow loading page, Google will act by dropping that page’s standing in the SERPs. In other words, if users are happy, so is Google. So if you have slow-loading pages, it’s time to speed them up by locating the cause and fixing it.