Why Does Page Speed Impact Your SEO?
Load speed matters for users, and it matters for search engines
What happens if you visit a website that takes too long to load? You leave. Google understands this, so it penalizes websites that are too slow. Put it differently, the search engines reward the sites that are blazing fast! The faster your website is, the better rankings and web visitors it will have, and as a result, the more lead prospects it will convert.Behind the successful running of your websites are experts who perform website maintenance tasks, including updates and edits, and other essential roles such as troubleshooting website and server issues, and constantly test your site for functionality, ease of use and load time. Professional Webmaster & Page Optimization Services.
Google Cares about Page Speed
Since 2010, Google has considered page speed as a ranking signal. This is all part of Google’s focus to deliver the best on-site user experience possible.
Logically, page speed is something that impacts a user’s experience. If a site loads quickly, it’s likely that users are going to stay on the site. Their experience will be positive. Of course, just having a page that loads fast does not mean that the rest of the user’s experience will be positive. But it is an important factor.
Google doesn’t over reward fast loading websites. However, it does not severely penalize websites that are not as fast. If your website is ridiculously slow, that’s a different factor altogether. In 2010, Google said that only one percent of search engine results are penalized because of the page speed factor.
Your Visitors Care about Page Load Speed
Google cares about page speed when determining your ranking. However, it’s important to note that page speed has a huge impact on how users experience your site. If users do not have a positive experience on your site, they are going to leave. If they stick around, the chances of them converting into buying customers diminishes if your site is slow.
There are several ways that a fast website leads to a positive user experience.
- If you are selling products, a page that loads quickly will help your visitors get a full picture of what you have to offer. They are able to quickly complete order forms and purchase from you.
- If you are generating revenue from advertising on your site, a fast page load speed will make it easier for your visitors to navigate from page to page. This will lead to an increase in your total page views per user.
There are several elements that need to work together in order to boost your page speed. Page speed is important for all websites, but it is especially important if your website is an e-commerce place. For e-commerce, page speed should be top priority (Check out our “Shopify Store Development Services“). The slower your page is, the more money you are going to lose.
It would be foolhardy to think that other e-commerce stores are not concerned about page speed. And we are not just talking about mom-and-pop e-commerce marketplaces. We are talking about the largest retailers on the planet.
Take Walmart as an example. Walmart compared themselves with other retail websites, such as eBay and Amazon.com. They realized that they were faster than their competition. But that was not good enough. Walmart decided that they wanted to kick their performance speeds up to the next level. What they saw was surprising.
- For every second of improvement in page load speed, they had a two percent increase in conversions. Two percent may not seem like a lot until you realize that Walmart is a multi-billion dollar company. Every second of improvement meant tens of millions of dollars in increased revenue.
- Walmart also saw that for every 100 ms of improvement, their revenue grew incrementally by one percent. Again, millions of dollars were at play.
You may not be operating on the same level as Walmart. Still, a small increase in page speed can lead to noticeable improvements in revenue and conversions. The same is true in reverse. Just a small decrease in page load speed could lead to significant loss of customers, revenue, and conversion rates. If a customer abandons your website, they are going to continue looking for the product or service they want to purchase. They are just going to go to your competition.
What Causes Your Page Speed to Be Lower?
There are several optimizations that need to work together to increase your page speed. At the same time, there are several elements that can work against you, leading to a poor load time.
Apps, Plug-Ins, and Browsers That Have Not Been Optimized
Using an app that relies on flash can seriously lower your page speed. It is good to optimize your web page for different browsers. You need to test your website on different browsers to see how it behaves. If you only test it on Google Chrome, for example, you may be oblivious to issues that users who run on Firefox face.
Cheap Web Hosting
Cheap web hosting is rarely cheap. There is a direct correlation between your website’s performance and the quality of your hosting. Quality hosting costs money. In the long run, cheap hosting will lead to low page speed performance. When determining which hosting company is right for you, you need to consider the amount of traffic you get and the size of your business. If you are serious about your website, price will not be the first criteria.
A Complicated Theme
The theme that you use can affect your website’s performance and its load time. There are some themes that have been poorly designed and are heavy. You don’t get anything good in return for this heaviness. All you have is lowered page speeds. Usually, these complicated themes have a lot of effects and designs that distract and turn away quality customers.
Too Many Ads
You are never going to find a legitimate customer who wants to visit a website that has a ton of ads. If your page has too many ads, you are bothering your visitors and are just going to lower your page speed.
HD images look nice. However, if they are not properly optimized, they are going to have a serious impact on your page load speed. It is preferable that you compress visuals using PNG. This allows you to maintain the high quality of the image but lower the file size. If you are going to upload pictograms or logos, we recommend that you use JPEG instead.
Widgets, when used wisely, can add functionality to your site. However, cluttering your site with calendar widgets, social media buttons, comment areas, and other unnecessary widgets will only damage your page speed.
HTML and CSS coding can impact your load time. It’s recommended that you optimize your code so that it performs better.
Embedding media from outside websites can add value to your page. But you have to recognize that is going to lower your page speed. It might be better to save the videos on your host as a way of saving time.
Ways to Analyze Your Page Speed
There are several tools available that can help you analyze your page speed performance. What follows is a list of some of the “best” tools available. It is good for you to become familiar with the features that each of these tools offer, which will help you in deciding which tool will be right for your needs. SEO experts may use a combination of these performance analysis tools, even if there’s some overlap in the insights reported.
- PageSpeed Insights
- Web Page Test
In greater details…
PageSpeed Insights is a tool that is designed to analyze the content of your web page. After reviewing your web page, it makes suggestions on how you can make your page faster. If you are able to reduce load times, you should be able to reduce bounce rates and hopefully increase conversion rates. If you are using Chrome, Page Speed Insights is built in. It’s easy to access the tool by opening Tools> Developer Tools.
This software has several pros and cons. First among the list of pros is that the software is free. There’s no charge to download it, and there is no subscription fee.
A second pro is that it offers an in-depth report of its findings. After you test a website with Google PageSpeed online, you receive a score of how fast your website is. But you are also given concrete steps that you can take to improve the speed.
Some of the suggestions you might be given include minifying assets, leveraging browser caching, and optimizing images. If you are able to make the improvements that are recommended, your page speed score will increase, which could play a role in increasing your rankings in Google search results.
Pay close attention to the Core Web Vitals assessment, which includes:
- First Contentful Paint (FCP)
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
- First Input Delay (FID)
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
For all of its benefits, there are some cons.
First, Google Page Speed Insights does not give you the option for the location of the test. While the results you are going to get are going to be accurate and amazing, you don’t have the option to choose where your website gets analyzed from.
A second con is that the amount of actionable data you receive is limited. Sure, you are going to get some helpful insights, such as to eliminate blocking JS. That’s a no-brainer, but the question is, what is JS blocking? More actionable data would be beneficial.
Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that if you try an attain a perfect grade by implementing all the suggestions Google PageSpeed makes, you will lose your sanity pretty quickly. You cannot take too literally all of the suggestions from Google PageSpeed because sometimes they are unrealistic or impossible, specially those optimizations for mobile. Otherwise, YouTube would have a better PageSpeed score, don’t you think?
GTmetrix | Website Speed and Performance Optimization
GTmetrix is a free tool that analyzes your page’s speed performance. Using PageSpeed and YSlow, GTmetrix generates scores for your pages, reveals why it’s slow and discovers optimization opportunities.
Field Data: Over the previous 28-day collection period, field data shows that https://m.youtube.com does not pass the Core Web Vitals assessment.
GTmetrix by default, tests from Vancouver, BC, Canada; This means Guest tests (tests initiated when not-logged in) and the default page settings for analysis. Learn more about GTmetrix performance and speed analysis tool for bilingual websites.
Pingdom Website Speed Test
This is another tool that provides valuable feedback on your page speed. At a glance, you are able to see the files that are lowering your performance. You will also get performance tips with information that is specific for your site.
There are several pros to using this speed tester. One feature is the ability to schedule automated speed tests. This means that you can set speed tests to automatically happen at certain intervals or at certain times of the day. This will help you to see how your site is running during high traffic times and then compare it with low traffic times. Since the speed test are automated, you don’t have to remember to run the test. It will just be done.
A second pro is the option to review several additional features. These include ping, trace route, and DNS health. These additional features are valuable because your website is not the only reason why load times are increasing for your visitors. In order to identify the reason for the additional load, you might have to search features like DNS health, ping, and trace route to get to the heart of the problem.
A third pro is that you can select the locations from where you want to conduct the test. This is beneficial if you know that the majority of your traffic originates from one part of the world or one specific location in a state or city.
Another thing that is beneficial, especially for first-time users, is that the UI is intuitive and offers all of the features that you need. Pingdom has created a UI that is easy to understand for experienced users and for beginners. You can get an in-depth look at things or just get a cursory overview with a glance.
As with all things, Pingdom has its cons. Well, it just really has one con. You are not getting it for free. It is possible to do a free trial. But once the trial is over, you will need to fork out some cash.
Web Page Test
Web Page Test is a fan favorite when it comes to speed profiles. One of the big pros is that the speed test results you get are detailed. You are able to scratch beneath the surface and get to the heart of the issues that are causing your website to be slow. There are a ton of options that you can select from that allow you to narrow down your results to identify process breakdowns and formulate plans to repair them.
Web Page Test allows you to not only see how your website is performing speed wise, but it also lets you see how it appears in different browsers. Because it has so many browsers available, you don’t have to worry about missing a beat.
An added pro is that you can test your website from various locations. This is useful if you know in advance that the majority of your visitors are coming from a particular city or country.
The speed index measurement is a great way for you to understand what experiences your users are having when they visit your site.
Web Page Test will work with sites behind basic authentication. This is good because if your site is in DEV mode, it’s typically protected behind some basic authentication.
A final pro is that Web Page Test is free. This is surprising for many to learn, especially when you consider the number of in-depth features it offers.
Here are the test regions each webtool offers:
7 test regions
7 test regions
San Francisco, USA
50 test locations
North America (15)
Google PageSpeed Insights
Test Region Unknown
There’s one more tool we would like to mention and that’s OnCrawl.
OnCrawl is more than a page speed analyzer. This site gives you a clear view of low time performances. You are able to see in detail what URLs are lowering your load time.
One of the biggest selling points of OnCrawl is its performance checks. Page load times are tracked, and you will see them displayed as seconds and size kilobytes or megabytes.
OnCrawl has a simple graphic display. It’s easy to understand. For every aspect you want to evaluate, OnCrawl will create a graph showing the score of your page. Additionally, you are going to get information about the content on your page. For example, if your titles are too long or too short, you are going to be able to see this. The goal is to help you improve not only the speed of your page but also help you see how you can improve the user experience.
On the downside, OnCrawl can be quite expensive. For the first 30 days, you get an all-inclusive trial. After that, you are looking at a monthly fee that at the time of this writing was $19 a month.
As you can see, page speed is something that should be taken seriously, especially if you have a multilingual site catering to larger audiences (interested in learning about Spanish SEO?). Google is concerned about page speed and will use it when ranking your page. Your visitors are concerned about page speed. Page speed is going to influence how long they stay on your page, their overall user experience, and whether visitors are converted to buyers.
The page speed analyzers we mentioned above are some of the best on the market. Nevertheless, remember not to take their suggestions too literally — to the point where you end up hurting your site more than helping it. Avoiding damaging suggestions and choosing relevant indicators is key. By Sebastian Aroca, Latino SEO Lead Strategist with Hispanic Market Advisors
You may want to read: Why You Shouldn’t Rely on Google PageSpeed
Google’s search algorithm is constantly changing and evolving. Is your business keeping up?
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