Page speed is an integral factor of SEO. Focusing on page speed can improve your rankings whilst improving conversion rates too. As an SEO agency, it is important to factor in improving page speed alongside other basic SEO practices. We will explain why page speed is so vital to the performance of your site as a whole and what you can do to improve it below.
What is Page Speed?
Simply put, page speed is how long a web page takes to load. As simple as this sounds, there are a number of factors that play into what can affect page speed such as the server and the size of the page file. There are also a number of ways in which page speed can be calculated, these are:
- Fully Loaded– Relatively self-explanatory, this is when the page is 100% loaded and all the contents on the page are viewable.
- First Byte– How long it takes for the page to start the loading process.
- First contextual paint– When the page is loaded with enough content for the user to see.
With all of this considered, the faster the outcome of these three metrics, the better the outcome is for your site performance. It is thought that google measures a combination of these metrics in order to gauge the overall page speed on your site. The way in which these three factors can impact users negatively can have a knock-on effect on how successful your site can be down the line.
Page speed impact on users
A slow loading page will more often than not result in a frustrating experience for the user. This will then lead to them thinking twice about revisiting the page and site altogether.
This behaviour can be spotted by google analytics and google search console in a relatively new metric that they have introduced called ‘core web vitals’. Core web vitals now plays a part in how your site and pages rank.
They all take into consideration what is most important to the user once they land on a page which involves the speed in which a page loads. If this is failing then the other web vitals won’t be considered as this is seen as the first hurdle users have to get over in order to have a reasonable experience on a page.
How to improve Page Speed
There are simple SEO practices that you can use that will help improve page speed. A key factor in slowing down page speeds is images. More often than not, images will make up a lot of a page and therefore can slow it down. Being able to optimise and compress these images can have a positive effect on page speeds.
Optimising your website code is another useful way in which you can improve your page speed. Having unnecessary spaces within your code can be detrimental to the performance of your page so getting rid of these spaces can be a subtle improvement to the site.
Looking at your server response time is one other idea that can improve your page speed. If there is a lot of traffic heading to your site, it can put a strain on your server and therefore effecting speeds all over the site. If a servers response time is anything over 200ms, it would be worth looking at resolving any issues to ensure that this doesn’t hinder your page speeds.
After making these adjustments to your pages, now is a good time to see how they have improved your pages speeds. There are many tools that can do this but google page speed insights is a good place to start. It will start scanning your site for issues and opportunities to further improve your page speeds.
In conclusion, page speeds on the surface seem like a simple aspect of your site but has a major influence on how it can rank and how users interact with your site. Making sure that page speeds are fully optimised should not be overlooked as simple fixes can end up majorly improving the site overall.
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