No matter how much technology advances, how fast a webpage loads is always important.
Experts in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and search engines keep telling us that making websites load faster is important for success.
This is because of how fast page loads can affect SEO. It can change how users feel about a website and how high it ranks in search results. A website that takes too long to load can cause problems. So, it’s important to understand how page speed and SEO are connected if you want to do well online.
In this article, we’re going to talk more about why page speed and SEO are linked and why it’s so important to make sure your website loads quickly.
How Important Is Page Speed for SEO?
To do well in organic search results, it’s not enough to just have great content with the right keywords.
If your website takes too long to load, people might leave before seeing your good content. For your website to rank high in search engine results pages (SERPs), you need both high-quality content and quick loading times.
Google suggests that a webpage should load in 1 to 3 seconds to keep people from leaving your site quickly. If it takes longer than that, there’s a higher chance that visitors will leave your site before seeing what you have to offer.
How Long Loading Time Affects Crawlers?
This is how Google looks at SEO:
- First, Google’s crawler, or Googlebot, searches the web to find and index content.
- Then, Google reviews these pages to see which ones are well-optimized for search and includes them in its index.
- When someone searches for something, Google shows the most relevant results based on its detailed analysis.
However, if your website is slow to load, Googlebot might skip your pages and go to the next ones in line. This can impact your website’s crawl rate and crawl budget, which means how often and how much Google scans your site. On the other hand, websites that load quickly allow Google’s crawlers to visit more frequently and do more in less time.
How Core Web Vitals Affect Page Speed?
Google’s Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics designed to assess the user experience on a webpage. These metrics focus on three key aspects: the speed of the webpage, its interactivity, and its visual stability.
The Core Web Vitals consist of three specific metrics:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), which measures the loading speed of the main content on your page. The ideal loading time is 2.5 seconds or less. Longer loading times can lead to visitors leaving your site for another.
- First Input Delay (FID), which evaluates the time it takes for a user to interact with your site. A delay exceeding 100 milliseconds can result in a frustrating user experience.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), which tracks the frequency of unexpected layout changes on your website. For example, a high CLS score can occur if a banner ad loads and shifts the page content, disrupting the reading experience of a user.
Factors That Affect Your Page Speed
Many things can affect how fast a webpage loads, and you might already know about some of them. But one thing you can’t control is how good your user’s internet connection is. Besides this, other factors can influence your page’s loading speed, including:
Bad Hosting Service
Choosing the right hosting service is crucial for your website’s performance because it provides the server where your site is hosted. The performance of their server directly affects how well your website works.
Several things influence how well your hosting service performs, like how the server is set up, how often it’s up and running, the quality of its facilities, and the specifications of the machines running the servers. If you choose a reliable and efficient hosting service, it helps make sure that your web server can quickly manage all the requests and activities on your website.
Poorly Written Code
Not every website developer is skilled at writing efficient code. As a result, some websites end up with large chunks of code that don’t do much. This can cause websites to be poorly coded and slow to load.
To enhance your website’s performance, focus on cleaning up your code. This means fixing any errors and getting rid of extra lines that don’t add much value.
Too Many Plugins And Widgets
If you manage a WordPress development website, you likely use various plugins and widgets to enhance its functionality. Plugins offer a wide range of features and can significantly improve your site. However, using too many plugins can slow down your website’s speed.
This is because each plugin adds extra load to your site, similar to carrying additional weight in a backpack. The more plugins you add, the heavier your site becomes, which can affect its performance. Moreover, if these plugins are not well-optimized, they can significantly slow down your website, much like carrying a heavy rock in your backpack.
Absence of a CDN
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a system of servers and data centers located around the world, designed to store static content from your website, like images and CSS files.
Using a CDN helps deliver your website’s content more quickly and efficiently to visitors, especially those who are far away from your main server. Without a CDN, your website might experience slower loading times and decreased performance, particularly for users located in different parts of the world.
Tools to Check Your Website Speed
To make sure your website is performing optimally, it’s important to have a standard for comparison. There are several tools available to test your website’s speed and identify any areas that need improvement. Some of the most widely used tools include:
- Google PageSpeed Insights: This is Google’s own tool for testing page speed, offering metrics based on real user data. When you run a test, it provides a score out of 100 for both the desktop and mobile versions of your page.
- WebPageTest: This tool helps you assess your website’s speed by showing a visual breakdown of how different elements load on your page. It’s particularly useful for pinpointing slow-loading resources and bottlenecks.
- Lighthouse for Google Chrome is a highly effective tool for measuring website performance, providing a broad array of metrics and insights. You can refer to our guide for more information about this tool.
- GTmetrix is another excellent resource that provides comprehensive details about your page’s speed and performance score. It also suggests solutions for any issues identified during the test.
- Pingdom Website Speed Test is a free tool that evaluates the loading time of a specific page and offers recommendations for speeding it up. It focuses on analyzing a single URL rather than the entire website.
Best Practices to Improve Your Page Speed
When you use a page speed tool to analyze your site, you’ll typically get a range of suggestions to enhance its performance. Some of these improvements might be straightforward, while others could require more technical expertise.
Nonetheless, there are four common strategies to consider for improving your page’s loading speed:
1. Optimize your Images
One of the main reasons for slow-loading web pages is the use of large and unoptimized images.
Compressing your images is one of the quickest methods to enhance your website’s speed. While this might result in a slight reduction in image quality, optimizing your images can greatly decrease their file size, leading to faster page loading times.
The goal is to minimize image size as much as possible without negatively affecting their quality or the overall user experience.
2. Cache Your Web Pages
Caching stands out as a highly efficient way to improve your webpage’s loading speed.
This technique involves storing copies of your site’s files, which greatly lessens the amount of work needed for the server to create and deliver pages to visitors’ browsers.
By reducing the resources required to load a page, caching substantially decreases the Time to First Byte (TTFB), enhancing overall page performance.
This process involves eliminating unnecessary elements such as spaces, characters, and comments from the code. While manually reviewing each line of code might seem a difficult task, tools like the free plugin Autoptimize can handle this task efficiently.
Autoptimize not only combines and reduces the size of your scripts and styles but also cleans up the code, leading to a neater and faster-loading website. Although setting up the plugin might initially seem complex, the improvements it brings to your page speed and overall user experience are well worth the effort.
4. Reduce Excessive Redirects
Having too many redirects on your website can negatively impact the user experience by causing longer loading times.
Each time a page redirect occurs, it extends the request and response process, which can be frustrating for your visitors. While certain redirects are necessary, such as when transitioning to a new domain, it’s important to remove any unnecessary redirects to enhance the speed of your page loading.
Page speed is a critical component of SEO. Optimizing it not only enhances user experience but also significantly improves search ranking and website performance.
Improve your website’s speed and SEO with the expertise of Optamark Digital. Our team is dedicated to enhancing your site’s performance.