How Important Is Page Speed?
Page speed refers to how long it takes a website page to load. Though often confused with site speed, page speed refers to the amount of time it takes a webpage to load. Site speed refers to the average speed it takes your website to load as users interact with it. Both page speed and site speed are important in terms of search engine optimization (SEO), but they can both substantially affect customer experience.
What is Page Speed Optimization?
For search engines like Google, its SEO recommendations are geared to support a good customer experience. Poor page load speed is likely to frustrate a user, compelling them to click out of the site. Google is in the business of matching searchers to quality information and websites. It doesn’t want to send its searchers to websites with technical SEO problems like inferior page load speed or poor site speed. Consequently, a website’s SEO–and page rank–is likely to suffer if their desktop or mobile sites are slow. And that means that page speed is extremely important if you want searchers to find your site early in search engine results and have a positive experience when using your website.
Site Speed vs Page Speed
As mentioned, site speed and page speed are sometimes lumped together, but they do refer to different things. Page speed refers to an individual page of the website. Site speed refers to the website. In that sense, some pages might be functioning optimally with a fast load speed; others might have a slow load speed owing to the types of content on the page. Though important in terms of both SEO and user experience, images and video content can impact page speed times.
Fortunately, website developers and SEO experts can optimize both site speed and page speed through a variety of tasks that we’ll discuss here. Beginning with tasks like an SEO audit and speed test, we can identify page load time for individual pages and the site speed in order to create a plan for improving them.
In terms of customer experience, page speed and side speed matters. Slow website speed is going to lead to website visitors bouncing or leaving the site to go find one that operates better. It’s a fast-paced world and internet users tend to want fast results. A site that takes too long to load suggests that the business is inattentive to one of its most important elements–its website. Let’s face it, if a business can’t get its page speed act together, how well is its act when it comes to its products, services, and customer support?
For these reasons, business owners shouldn’t underestimate the importance of website speed–site speed or page speed. The idea is to keep potential customers on your site. Moreover, Google has initiated some minimum page speed and site speed thresholds. If your site / pages don’t meet these minimum load times, it’s going to be penalized in terms of SEO. That, of course, leads to a drop in search engine page rank–and that can dramatically impact traffic to your website. In short, Google isn’t going to encourage searchers to visit sites with poor load speed.
How to Test Page Load Speed
You can test page speed to determine load speed. Using analytics and other tools, you can find out where users are bouncing from your website or getting stuck. Even if you have a passing speed score, you may still want to further optimize the page or site to improve the experience for desktop or mobile users even more. To find out your speed score or how fast your website speed and page speed is, you can use tools such as:
- Google Lighthouse
- Google Insights
SEO gurus are, of course, well-versed with these tools, but many business owners or IT staffers can use these tools to find out some basic information regarding page speed or site speed. Even so, to optimize for a fast load speed, it’s best to hire a professional SEO contractor to tackle the job.
Page Speed for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Does page speed affect it? As mentioned, page speed is a factor of good SEO. A poor page load time can damage SEO. Page speed is, in fact, a ranking factor and part of Google’s Core Web Vitals. Core Web Vitals are essentially Google SEO mandates. Website owners who ignore them are likely to see their search engine rankings fall. What does that mean? It means that a website will be buried beyond the first page of a Google search–in the no-man’s land where searchers seldom click. Statistics show that most searchers click on businesses found on page one of a Google search. In order to get to that first page paradise, you must adhere to page speed and site speed recommended page load time.
Core Web Vitals
Page speed and site speed aren’t the only elements of Google Core Web Vitals. It’s important for businesses to become familiar with these vitals so they can optimize their sites accordingly. Google has confirmed that Core Web Vitals are an SEO ranking factor. When it comes to page speed, this is the minimum that pages must exceed in order to remain in good SEO standing and avoid a penalty: a speed test score of 90 or above. For a more technical rundown, visit Google’s development page here. Translated into a human ‘speed test,’ page speed should be under two seconds. If it takes longer than that, search engines will be displeased as will website users.
Page Speed Metrics
By using page speed metrics tools (i.e. analytics like Google Insights), you can monitor load speed for your site and individual pages. Your home page, for instance, is a good place to begin as this is where users will initially land in most cases. Some SEO pros recommend analyzing site speed first to find out where the majority of issues are. Issues with load speed might occur throughout the site or individual pages might be at fault because of any number of factors–page elements like video or image content or even outdated code or scripts.
By using page speed metrics, you can address the most critical factors impeding your page speed first. Whether you need to optimize images to achieve a fast load time or adjust the server response time in some way, you can reduce slow loading times and improve your website’s speed.
Webpage and Website Speed Optimization
There are many ways to optimize site speed and page speed. As mentioned, your page speed metrics will point the way to achieving faster pages. Some commonplace webpage load time optimization tasks include:
- Optimizing images (so they load faster)
- Remove unnecessary or excessive images on web pages
- Deletion of unnecessary scripts
- Removal of unused widgets and plugins
- Reduce the number of redirects
- Use web page caching
- Enable browser caching
- Use a content delivery network (CDN)
To improve site speed, the following optimization tasks can help:
- Cache the website properly
- Remove excessive or unnecessary scripts and code (clean the clutter)
- Delete any unused themes or unnecessary images across the site
- Apply optimum CDN
If some of these tasks sound technical–and they are–it’s best to let your qualified SEO professional manage them. Site speed and page speed affect SEO and user experience. Let a professional SEO specialist or website developer ensure that your page speed and site speed is where it needs to be to support your SEO and search rankings.
What To Do Next?
If your website is losing out on traffic and sales due to a poorly performing website, reach out to Neon Flamingo Creative today for custom WordPress solutions, WordPress Development, and custom SEO solutions that are tailored to your business. We can optimize your website to peak performance.