Website Speed SEO
Page speed has a big influence when it comes to search engine ranking algorithms; More importantly, it can greatly impact your customer’s satisfaction and user experience when visiting your site.
Mobile sites that loaded in 5 seconds earned almost double the revenue of sites that took 19 seconds to load. By optimizing your speed you are heavily increasing your odds of making a sale or getting a customer. Faster sites are proven to have better site interaction a lower bounce rate than slower sites.
What is Page Speed in SEO?
Page speed is how long it takes for a website to load. Page speed in SEO is something that can have a big effect on a website’s search rankings, conversion rates, and bounce rates. SEO agencies try to limit the factors slowing down a site’s speed like large images, server response time, too many plug-ins, and more.
Nowadays people are very impatient. Since search engines such as Google are looking to please their users they have begun making loading speed a more significant ranking factor in recent years. This means that optimizing a page’s site speed can greatly benefit it in the rankings.
Page speed affects all parts of SEO making it one of the most important aspects of SEO. A good site speed positively influences search rankings, rating scores, user experience, and is also very beneficial for conversion rates.
How to Speed up Your Website?
If your website has poor loading speeds that should be a top priority for you. Speeding up your site can sometimes be a simple fix to a significant problem. Below are a few of the best practices and techniques to increase your website’s load time. It is recommended to try and use more than one of these solutions as they all do different things to help your site speed.
Plug-ins are one way to increase your website’s loading speeds. Most plugins are pretty simple as all you have to do is download them and sign up.
The plug-in we use to better optimize our site speed is Nitropack for WordPress. Nitropack is a tool that helps cache and lazy load your site. There are other tools and plugins that are very similar to Nitropack that can make optimizing your site speed a lot easier and efficient.
Caching tools are one of the most commonly used ways of speeding up a site. They help your website’s page load time and can greatly improve a website’s speed score. A cache is the storing of something frequently used (like a website) closer to those who are using it. For example, a search engine like google or a tool like nitro pack stores a backup/copy of the pages on your website when someone opens it. The copy that was made is now stored on the application or browser that it was first been opened in. When the next person goes to open your website it will simply pull the copy of your page from their browser making it load significantly faster than having to pull it from another server.
Lazy loading is another effective way to greatly increase website speed. The premise of lazy loading is simple and many plug-ins or other companies provide the ability to lazy load your website.
Lazy loading is when your site only loads what the visitors can currently see and not your entire website. After everything that is visible to the user loads in then, it starts to load the rest of your site. This helps increase your page speed because now it only has to focus on loading one page at the beginning instead of loading tens to hundreds of pages all at once.
If one page is loading slowly on your website it could be having an effect on your entire site’s speed. Removing a minor loading problem like a large picture can benefit that pages loading speed along with the rest of the site’s load time. If you’re not using lazy loading a search engine will have to load your entire site at once and if there is just one page that is slower than the rest it will affect them all since they load together.
To look at specific load time problems your website may be having we have a great tool that helps break down exact speed issues.
When you’re on the website you want to test you will want to inspect the element which is control+shift or you can right-click with your mouse and at the bottom of the list will be inspected.
Next, you will want to go to the network tab on the top of the inspect page.
From there all you have to do is run the test. To this, you will need to do Ctrl+R.
Now that you have run the test it is time to analyze it. To start you will want to look at the time and waterfall sections of the test. The waterfall sector shows a visual representation of how long it takes to load. The longer the bar is the longer that section of your site takes to load. I like to pick out the longest 4 or 5 bars and inspect them to see exactly what they are.
After you have picked out the slowest portions of your website it is time to fix or remove them. Image compression is one easy fix to a very common issue. Some problems don’t always have the easiest fix. Removing what you have analyzed as the slowest section of your site and finding a replacement is not always wanted but can be necessary as there aren’t always simple solutions.
Another tool that can help you find the flaws in a website’s speed performance is Pagespeed Insights by Google. After running a site it will provide you with the findings. If you scroll to the bottom it gives you diagnostics. The diagnostics will show you the problems by providing screenshots of exact instances that slowed down your site when it began the tests. Whether the problem is content, images, or something else it will provide its findings in an easy-to-read format.
How to Test Page Speed
You can look at many different ways to measure your site’s speed like “page load time”, “time to first byte”, or “first meaningful paint”. These are all different measurements you can look at and evaluate to see where exactly a website may need help or where it is thriving
You can evaluate any website’s performance with the use of Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Google’s PageSpeed analyzer is a great tool to use because you don’t need to know exactly what every number means. It gives you a speed score out of 100 after completing a speed test for your site.
The score analysis shows you many different speed measurements then averages your times and compares them to what is considered good, bad, or average, to finally give your site both a mobile score and a desktop score. This tool help will highlight what speed issues a site might have.
Page Load Time
Page load time is how fast it takes for your site to completely load. It is measured by taking the average time between first clicking and when it has finally completed loading everything. This is the easiest and most common way to look at page speed loading time.
Time to First Byte
TTFB is the time it takes from when you first click on something till the loading process begins.
First Meaningful Paint/First Contentful Paint
The first contentful paint is the time it takes for the part of the site that the user is viewing to load.
Does Site Speed Affect SEO?
Yes! The simple answer is that site speed does affect SEO. Site speed has been a factor in search engine ranking algorithms for ages now but in recent years they have made it more and more important to have a fast loading speed.
Site speed can affect the users of the website greatly. Studies show that when a site is loading slow users are less likely to browse through a website lowering the overall page views. This means a slow load time for any site is going to create a lower conversion rate and higher bounce rate than a site with a fast load time. You want people to enjoy their time on your site and stay as long as possible but a slow load does just the opposite.
Google also penalizes slow-loading sites by not ranking them as high even if they have great content. Slow sites mostly affect the user’s experience but they can also have a negative effect on the bots that crawl your site.
A slow site is a waste of time for the bots as they don’t have all the time in the world to look at one website. Because of this crawlers and spiders give each website a time restraint on how long they will spend on that site for that crawling session. If your site is loading slow a crawler may not be able to get through your entire site in one session.
This means that it will take more time for new pages and updates to get discovered or indexed. The longer it takes for the bots to find new updates and pages the longer it will take for your content to start ranking.
What is a good Website Speed?
An adequate page speed is anything 2 seconds or less. Two seconds is Google’s recommendation for page load time. Google its self has stated that they aim for half a second for their load time and that’s what you should be shooting for.
Page speed has an effect on many different aspects of SEO so making it as fast as possible is your best-case scenario. We strive to be as close to a one-second loading time as we can. In the digital world, we live in, a one-second change in page load speed can be the difference between hundreds of people abandoning your website or hundreds of people interacting with your site and having a great user experience.
Case studies show that you should be shooting for your page load speed to be in the range of 1-2 seconds. This will provide a better user experience and greatly help your chances of ranking better. The faster you can get your site to load the better off you will be but your starting goal should be a load time of 2 seconds.
Is Site Speed a Ranking Factor?
Yes! Site speed is a ranking factor in all search engine algorithms. Search engines try to please the user the best they can and site speed is one of the best pleasing factors they can look at.
A site with great speed and average content can easily outrank a site with average speed and great content. Google and others have to take into consideration user experiences more frequently in the recent core algorithm updates, meaning that content isn’t everything when it comes to search rankings. Both search engines and website creates want to please their visitors as best they can so they will posable come back and one of the best ways to do that is through load time. Therefore speed optimization has and will continue to become a very influential ranking factor.
There is an algorithm update coming out in mid-June of 2021 which is the highly anticipated core web vitals update to the Google ranking process. At the time of writing this, the update is still not live, but from what we know so far the new update will rely heavily on using LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) FID (First Input Delay) CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift). these are all aspects of how fast a website loads so we know for sure that the June Core Web Vitals update will be user experience and speed-oriented.
SO in short, yes site speed is a ranking factor. It has been for quite some time now, but Google is really starting to crack down on those slow sites and start favoring sites that load faster. Google wants to please its customers, and ranking slow sites isn’t cutting it anymore.