You’ve decided to bake some cinnamon rolls and are looking for a recipe. But, the page you opened takes forever to load (and, by “forever,” we mean more than a few seconds.)
Do you wait or do you hit the back button and click on another link in Google search results?
We think we know the answer.
Your visitors feel the same way: if a page doesn’t load quickly, they will simply be ave it. And, that can cause you a conversion.
So, in this article, let’s talk about page speed: why is it important, how it can affect your conversion rate and SEO, and what you can do to improve your site speed.
You might also be interested in WHY IS IMAGE SEO IMPORTANT?
What Is Page Speed
Simply put, page speed is the amount of time it takes for a web page to load. Reports show that the optimal page load time is three seconds or less. Of course, how fast your page loads can depend on several different factors, such as the size of your image files or the server response time.
That said, understanding page speed isn’t as straightforward as calculating the amount of time it takes for a web page to load. And the reason has to do with the fact that there are different ways of measuring page speed, such as:
- Fully Loaded Page: This is perhaps the simplest and most straightforward way of measuring page speed and it’s what most people think about. It shows the amount of time it takes for all the elements and resources of a page to load.
- First Contentful Paint: The time it takes a web page to load enough content (text, images, and graphics) for the reader to be able to interact with the page. For example, let’s say that it takes your page 6 seconds to fully load. That’s a very long time! But, if the essential information on your page loads quickly, then the user might actually read it. For instance, if the video and animations for your blog post about how to bake cinnamon rolls don’t load quickly but the actual recipe does, then users can start interacting with your page almost instantly.
- Time to First Byte: This metric tells you how long it takes for a page to start the loading process. If you click on a link and are welcomed by a white screen at first (even if it’s just a millisecond,) that’s time to first byte.
While there are different ways of measuring page speed, there isn’t one metric that’s more valuable than the other. The bottom line is that you should ensure that your website loads quickly.
How Important Is Page Speed Really?
It’s no secret that Google cares about page speed. It’s been using it as a ranking factor since 2010 and has highlighted its importance in 2018 in The Speed Update.
The reason Google and other search engines too care so much about speed is because users want really fast websites. And, since the search engine giant is determined to offer the best and most relevant answers and experiences to its users, it’s going to ensure that every single factor is taken into account.
That said, if your website is too slow (and remember, in Internet time, 4 seconds is considered slow,) then that can affect your search rankings. Page speed can also affect your ranking indirectly by increasing your bounce rate and reducing dwell time.
How does Google determine your site’s speed?
Well, we don’t know exactly. But, by looking at the metric you can track with the Google PageSpeed Insights tool, we can safely say that it’s a combination of fully loaded page, first contentful paint, and time to first byte.
How to Improve Page Speed
By now, we’ve probably made it abundantly clear that page speed is important. So, let us also give you tips on how to improve page speed.
Compress Your Images
Compressing your images is perhaps the most efficient and straightforward way of improving your site’s speed. Open a page on your website and look at the ratio between images and text. Most probably, you have more visual elements than text. And, that’s a good thing – we are visual creatures and retain this type of information better. But, while having images on your web pages is a good thing, if they slow down your site, then they aren’t really helping you. Use tools like WP Smush for WordPress or Caesium to compress your images. This will help improve page speed without compromising the quality of your images.
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Numerous factors can affect page speed, but sometimes the delay may be caused by the physical distance between you and the website’s hosting server.
Content delivery networks can help you solve this problem and shorten latency. They work by determining where your visitors are physically located and then serving them your website’s resources from a server close to them.
Minify Your Code
Or better said, take a close and careful look at your code and clean any unnecessary elements. Are there any plug-ins or widgets that you are not using or aren’t really serving a purpose? Then you should get rid of them as quickly as possible. To make your website even faster, you can also compress your code by using a tool like GZip.
Consider Upgrading Your Hosting
While compressing your images and cleaning your code might make a difference, it won’t mean much if you share your server with a few hundred other websites. If you really want to improve your page speed, then you should consider upgrading to premium or dedicated hosting.
We are bombarded by information from everywhere and with so much content at our fingertips, we don’t have the time or patience to wait one extra second for a page to load. But, for you, that one extra second can mean a lost conversion.
Page speed might be an afterthought for you. After all, you are busy selling your products and growing your business. But, if you want to reach your online audience, then you have to make sure that your website is lighting fast.
Don’t worry! You’ve come to the right place. We are SEO, web design, and digital marketing experts and will use our expertise to optimise your website and help it rank higher in the search engines.
Contact us now to learn more about what we can do for you.