Page speed is a measurement of how long it takes to fully load the content of your page, and is something many people overlook when creating a website. However, with statistics that tell us all it takes is a slight delay of anything over 400 milliseconds before a visitor clicks away, it’s now more important than ever to understand the metrics that go into creating a fast and speedy website.
Page Speed Impacts on SEO
As well as slow page speeds deterring potential clients away from your site, a poor speed ranking will also have a direct impact on SEO rankings and organic traffic to your site. This is because page speed is used as a ranking factor when measuring a quality user experience; a fast site speed will result in a better user experience and a slow site, a poorer one. A user will typically stay and engage on the site longer if the page speed is faster. For this reason Google has made it a key factor when determining rankings for SEO.
Page Speed Affects AD Visibility
Sites such as Google and Facebook also favour websites with higher page speeds when it comes to ads. As mentioned previously, the faster the speed the better the user experience. Facebook and Google are much more likely to push ads from sites with fast page speeds, because a fast page speed indicates a better user experience, and they want to show their users the best results for any searches made. So, speed sells.
Measuring Your Site Speeds
There are various ways to measure website speed. The most popular tend to be Google’s, PageSpeed Insights and GTMetrix, but there are several others you can use. They work by running an analysis of your website URL to then produce a report which shows your website analytics and categorises areas for improvement.
You can use this report as a baseline to discern what optimisations can then be made to your website to improve page speed. The report will highlight any bandwidth-heavy images, videos or inactive plugins and you will be able to see a comprehensive breakdown of your site and what elements are contributing to a longer loading time.
Ways to Improve Your Page Speed
After you’ve ran a report, you’ll want to then think about ways to optimise your page speed times, this will of course vary depending on the site, but some examples of ways you can do this are:
- Optimize images to reduce file size
- Remove unnecessary or redundant data
- Adjust content for slower connections/devices
- Prioritise visual content and reduce the size of above the fold content
- Utilise multi-region hosting to improve server response time
If you’re tech savvy you may be able to do some of these things yourself, however if not, it’s recommended you find a good website developer who will be able to help you with these issues.
To summarize, a slow loading website can negatively impact your business. Engineers at Google have found that a barely noticeable load time of 0.4 seconds is enough to cause users to give up on your site and look elsewhere. Ensuring that your website loads promptly is crucial to increasing engagement, expanding your reach towards your target audience and ranking higher in search engine results.
If you want to test your website’s load speed scores on mobile and desktop devices, check out Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
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