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How Does Page Speed Affect SEO

Does page speed affect SEO? YES! Slow and low may be the way to go for BBQ, but it won’t do you any favors on your website. The faster your pages load, the more likely they are to rank than those that load more slowly.

Page speed has been a ranking factor for organic search results on desktop searches since 2010 and mobile searches since 2018. That’s because Google wants to provide its users with the best possible experience. Sitting around drumming your fingers impatiently while waiting for a page to load is not considered a positive experience for most.

Impatience is a big reason why page speed affects search results. If a page loads slowly, users are more likely to leave the page without engaging with it. This means a higher bounce rate and lower dwell time, both of which are negative signals for Google.

Understanding the Effects of Page Speed on Your Website

Clearly, page speed plays a big role in your SEO efforts. Your best bet is to optimize your pages so they load as quickly as possible. Before you can make beneficial updates to your site to get an organic search boost, it’s important to understand not only why page speed is such an important factor, but also, the reasons your website may be running slowly — and how to check your speed to ensure your efforts are moving you in the right direction.

(Hint: the right direction is FAST.)

Why is Page Speed Important for SEO?

Page speed is an important factor in SEO ranking for several reasons, including:

  1. Page speed affects indexing. Search engine bots crawl and index websites to understand their content and relevance. If your site is slow, they may spend more time on each page, reducing the number of pages they can crawl within a given timeframe. This can limit your visibility in search results.
  2. Page speed affects user experience. Google wants to provide users with the best possible search experience, which includes fast-loading websites. Slow websites can frustrate users, causing them to abandon your site. This can negatively impact your website's bounce rate and dwell time, both of which are SEO ranking factors.
  3. Page speed affects conversion. Faster-loading pages tend to have higher conversion rates. Users are more likely to engage with your content and complete desired actions, such as making purchases and signing up for newsletters, when they don’t have to wait for pages to load. 

By investing in optimizing your website's loading times, you can improve your search engine ranking, attract more visitors, and ultimately achieve your business goals.

What Makes Your Website Slow?

Several factors contribute to a website being slow. Identifying and addressing these issues is crucial for optimizing page speed. Here are some common reasons why a website may be slow:

  1. Server Resources. Slow server response times can be a significant factor in a website's speed. Many issues affect server speed, including inadequate hosting resources, high traffic, and server misconfigurations.Choosing a reputable provider with adequate resources and optimized server configurations can dramatically improve performance.
  2. Heavy Site Assets. High-resolution images, graphics, and videos can significantly increase page size and loading times. Optimizing and compressing image size and format, using lazy loading techniques, and implementing a Content Delivery Network (CDN) can help improve performance.
  3. Code. Poorly written or bloated code, including unoptimized HTML, CSS, and Java Script; outdated libraries; and inefficient database queries can contribute to slow page loading. Minifying and compressing code, and eliminating unnecessary elements, can improve website speed.
  4. Plugins and Scripts. WordPress and other CMS platforms often rely on plugins and scripts to improve functionality. However, too many plugins or scripts can add unnecessary code and requests, slowing down your website. Regularly audit your plugins and scripts and only use those essential for your website's functionality.

Identifying the specific causes of your website's speed issues and implementing appropriate solutions should help you significantly improve user experience, increase website traffic, and boost your search engine rankings.

What is Your Ideal Page Speed?

Ideal website page speed can vary depending on different factors, including target audience, industry, user expectations, the type of content on your site, and the devices used. However, despite the lack of a one-size-fits-all answer, there are some general benchmarks to aim for:

  • Desktop: Your website should load in under 2 seconds.
  • Mobile: Aim for a mobile page load time of under 4 seconds.

Testing your page speed involves more than typing in the URL and counting, “One, Mississippi; two, Mississippi…” There are several ways to test website page speed, each offering different levels of detail and functionality.

Foremost Media’s Responsive Website Test is fast, free, and simple to use: just type in your URL, select the device, and receive your score.

Alternatively, you can use a popular online service such as Google PageSpeed Insights.This free tool analyzes your website's performance and provides a score along with specific recommendations for improvement. Other options include GTmetrix, Pingdom Website Speed Test, and WebPage Test

How to Improve Page Speed

There are several steps you can take to improve your website page speed. After testing your speed, analyzing the results, and identifying bottlenecks, the following strategies will help give you a boost:

  1. Hosting. Choose a reliable hosting provider with adequate resources to handle your website's traffic. Consider managed hosting if you would like a professional to take care of server optimization and maintenance, freeing you to focus on other tasks.
  2. Image Size and Format. Optimize image size and format by using compression tools to reduce image size without sacrificing quality, and use the appropriate format (JPEG for photos, PNG for graphics with transparency, and SVG for icons and logos).
  3. Caching. Enable browser caching to store frequently accessed resources locally, reducing the need to download them repeatedly.
  4. Simplify Redirects. Simplifying page redirects results in fewer HTTP requests and enhanced browser caching, which leads to faster page loading.
  5. Minimize Code and 3rd-Party Plugins. Remove unnecessary characters and code; minify HTML, CSS, and JavaScript; combine multiple files; and use only the plugins that are crucial to performance.

When we provide SEO services or website development, page speed is a top priority. We look at it as one of the easiest ways to make the biggest impact on your website. If you’re struggling with a slow site, it could be a sign you need a website redesign.

Page speed is one of many ranking factors. Even a fast-loading site won't matter if you don't have good content and other important aspects. 

Contact us today for a free quote!

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