Oct 24, 2021

Does Page Speed affect SEO? Everything you need to know

Does Page Speed affect SEO?   Everything you need to know

Contents

You've likely heard that page speed is critical for your SEO strategy. This is true, but the extent to which it matters varies from site to site.

When you're running a website, it's essential to make sure that your pages load quickly.Even the newbie SEOs know that, and the professionals are speaking out from the rooftop.

Everything matters, but site speed are paramount. Site speed influences SEO in many ways. It is, in fact, the first impression on your audience's mind.

And it can make or break you if you are not ready for this particular visitor. In this article, we will answer your question- Does Page Speed Affect SEO?

What is Page Speed?

Page speed measures how fast your website loads or how quickly it responds to user requests. A faster page speed means faster browsing, faster page loading, and faster page interaction. The idea is that a fast page speed will increase the chances that a user will return to your site repeatedly.

Page speed can be described as "how long it takes to load the page" or "how long does it take for your browser to receive the first byte of information."

To calculate page speed, you can use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or YSlow. The results will show the average time to load your pages and how many requests were sent by users during that period. If the results are positive, then you're on track for a fast page speed.

What are Google PageSpeed Insights?

Google PageSpeed Insights is an online tool that can help you optimize your website's load time. When it comes to loading speed, the less time the page takes to load, the higher the ranking of your website.

A page that loads quickly will be seen as fast loading and will rank well in search engine rankings. This tool is a free service provided by Google to check for page load and other metrics.

PageSpeed Insights is part of Google's ranking algorithm. It measures the page speed by analyzing how fast it loads, how many requests are sent to the server, and other metrics. The goal is to provide a better user experience on your website.

The more that you can optimize your page, the better it will rank in search engine results.

Open Google PageSpeed Insights and enter a URL that you want to test. Click the "Submit" button to begin testing your page speed. It will take a few minutes for Google PageSpeed Insights to check your website's performance.

The next step is to look at your test results, which are shown in three categories - Index, Render, and Load.

Index: This is the speed of loading a single page on your website. If you have more than one page, this will be the average time it takes to load all pages together.

Render: This shows how long it takes for Google's servers to parse your HTML code and render the page.

Load: This is the time it takes for your website to load completely. It will include all of the resources required by Google's servers, such as images, CSS files, JavaScripts, etc.

You can click on each category to see how well your website performs in each category.

Mobile vs Desktop in PageSpeed Insights

You will notice that there are two different page speed insights- Mobile and Desktop. You can check the performance of your website on mobile or desktop by switching between these tabs.

So, what is the difference between mobile page speed and desktop page speed if your web page has responsive designs?

Mobile Speed 

Mobile page speed is the time it takes for your website to load when you're on a mobile device. Often, the mobile page speed is less than what a desktop speed shows.

That's because mobile networks use 4G or 3G for browsing. It may seem for mobile users that the mobile page speed is slow, but in reality, the mobile connection can cause slow loading.

Desktop page speed 

On desktop, the score is higher because of faster internet connection speeds. In addition, Google does not load as many resources on desktop as it does on mobile. This means that you will have a higher score on the desktop version of Page Speed Insights.

In some cases, your website may perform poorly even though there is no issue with your server configuration or HTML code. This is because of how browsers and servers communicate with each other.

Does PageSpeed Insights affect SEO? Is 100/100 score essential?

The short answer is- Yes.

Page speed is a direct ranking factor from an SEO perspective.

A poor page speed is enough to hurt your SEO efforts even if you have done all the hard work on your content and keyword research. This would even increase your bounce rate and reduce the dwell time.

According to a survey, the users leave the site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. It provides a bad user experience affecting the SEO negatively. Thus, page performance is undoubtedly impacting your SEO in various ways.

Different tools may give different page speed test results. While the 100/100-page speed is satisfactory, it is not everything.

The question is- Is 100/100 Score Essential?

And, the answer is Maybe. That's because a 100/100 score wouldn't guarantee you a lower bounce rate or page load time.

Even when you have achieved the page speed score of 100, there are a few things you need to be sure of to make sure the page load speed is good about which you have shared in the later section.

PageSpeed Insights Metrics

PageSpeed Insights metrics are a set of parameters used to measure the performance of a web page.

It measures speed, resource usage, and other critical factors to accurately assess how fast your website is loading. This is where you get insights about what's slowing down your site.

It is a tool that helps you determine the bottlenecks in your website and can help you fix them by optimizing them for performance.

Field & Lab Data (Performance Metrics)

In this section, you will get insights into your site's performance from two different perspectives.

Field Data is a set of data that consists of the number and types of requests made by your website visitors to various resources on your website such as JavaScripts, CSS, Images, HTML, etc.

Lab data is a set of data that consists of the results from your website's performance tests run in an isolated environment.

For example, if you have built a simple webpage that includes a few JavaScripts and CSS files, then field data would include all the requests made by your visitors to these resources on your website.

However, Google uses the lab data to analyze your site's performance as the field data doesn't provide much information.

First Contentful Paint 

This is the first time a web page has been completely loaded by the browser. It means that all resources on your webpage have been downloaded from the server and are ready to be displayed on the screen.

Opportunities & Diagnostics

The opportunity section tells people what is wrong with their website and how long it will be before fixing that problem. It also tells you an estimate of how much each issue affects your load time and how you should prioritize your task.

You can check for the issues by clicking on the marked red colours and diagnosing them further.

The passed audits section lists things that you already do well on your web page, like links and images. It will show elements from both the opportunities and diagnostic sections that fit within Google's framework for websites.

How to check your website's speed and performance?

Website speed and performance is an essential factor for all website owners. We need to check our website speed and performance to know the reason for the slow loading time of our website.

Thankfully, several testing tools can be used for checking page speed and performance.

Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals are three critical metrics. They tell how quickly a website loads and how responsive it is to a person's input. In Google's Page Experience Signal, they will be bundled with Mobile Friendliness, Safe Browsing, HTTPS, and Intrusive Interstitials.

The report given by this tool contains valuable information that you can use to improve your website's page speed.

Google PageSpeed Insights

Google PageSpeed Insights is a tool that allows you to check your website's performance in terms of loading speed, page size, and latency. It also provides insights into how well Googlebot can crawl your site. Google Page Speed insights take data from CrUX (Chrome User Experience Report).

The UI is easy because it has one input field for the URL. Once you run the test, you'll get detailed information about things like render-blocking code, TTFB, page sizes, and more.

The best part; this tool is entirely free to use. Google page speed insights can also be used a chrome extension that is called 'Lighthouse'.

GTMetrix

GTMetrix is a free website speed testing tool. It provides an accurate measurement of page load time, performance, and the number of requests made by the browser. The result of this test will help you to improve your website's loading speed and user experience.

Without registering, you can only run a test from one location in Vancouver, Canada. Still, after you sign up for a free account, you'll get to choose your location, different browsers, and even the connection type.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool. It tracks the performance of your website's visitors and shows you which ones are frequently returning, how long they stay on your site, and more. The data from this tool can be used to improve the load time of your website.

The main feature of Google Analytics is that it's an open-source tool, and anyone can modify the code to add new features.

Pingdom

Pingdom is a free website speed testing tool. It allows you to test your site's performance and gives insights into how well Googlebot can crawl your site.

This information will help you improve the load time of your website and let you know which pages are blocking or slowing down other parts of the page.

You can choose where the test will be performed from. There are a limited number of options, but at least they're still better than not even knowing any place to experiment.

Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

Google AMP is a new project that was launched in 2015. The main goal of this project is to speed up the web pages for mobile devices and reduce their loading time.

This happens by removing redundant elements from the page and making them faster through "sharding". In other words, Google uses server-side rendering to deliver your content as fast as possible without compromising its quality.

If you want your site to be fast on mobile searches, you can consistently implement google AMP. The AMP pages will be loaded automatically when users scroll to them while searching for something online.

Key points to improve the PageSpeed Insights Score

The goal of improving the page speed insights score is to reduce the time required for loading a website. Several steps can be taken to achieve this, which are listed below:

Enable Gzip Compression on your website's HTML files

Gzip compression is a popular method for reducing the size of your website's HTML files. Compressing the file reduces its size and makes it faster to download, improving page speed.

The first step in improving the page speed insights score is to enable Gzip compression on your website's HTML files. This will significantly reduce the size of each file and decrease the time required for loading a webpage.

You can also use image compression plugins like WPSmush and Shortpixel to keep images compressed and less in size.

Server response time

A fast server response time is an essential factor in improving the page speed insights score. The faster your website's server responds to requests, the less time is required to load a web page.

You can't improve the server yourself. The only thing you can do is make it work better with less load or increase its hardware, but not both.

The best practice is to choose the server nearest to your significant part of the target audience.

Enable caching on your website's images and CSS files

Caching is a technique that reduces the time required for loading your website by storing the images and stylesheets in the server's memory.

It improves page speed because it doesn't require any additional processing to retrieve these files from their place in the server's memory.

Your website's caching policy needs to be designed and implemented correctly. This is especially important if you have a tremendous amount of images or stylesheets on your site.

If the server can't store all these files, it will start sending more requests for them, slowing down the loading speed even more. It also increases the load time for subsequent pages that include those resources because they'll be loaded from the server again.

You can also make use of a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to cache your website's resources on servers that are geographically closer to the user and decrease the load time for subsequent pages.

However, you need to be careful with this method because if not implemented correctly, it will slow down the loading speed even more and increase traffic between your website and those geographical locations.

Minify JavaScript Code

Similar to CSS, minifying JavaScript code reduces the size of your website's files. It also improves page speed because it doesn't require any additional processing to retrieve these files from their place in the server's memory.

When you minify JavaScript code, every line is processed and turned into a single string. This reduces network traffic by sending only one request for each function or variable instead of multiple requests.

Lightweight theme & plugins

The WordPress team creates themes and plugins. These are designed to make your website's performance faster because they're pre-compiled, lightweight files that only contain minimal code necessary for you to use on your site.

However, it would be best to be careful with these themes and plugins because they might not be optimized for your site's features. If the same team does not develop them, you can also have compatibility issues with WordPress's core code.

Use Cloud Hosting for your site

If you are on a shared hosting plan, your website will most likely use multiple resources at once, making it more difficult for your server to keep up with the load.

With a cloud hosting plan, your website is hosted on a server with all the resources it needs to serve your traffic, and if one of those resources goes down or you have an unexpected spike in traffic, your site will be able to handle it without any problems.

Conclusion

Page speed is an essential factor in search engine optimization. It will help you improve your rankings and the time it takes for your site to load.

Many factors affect the speed of your website, such as server performance, how often pages are accessed, and how much content is on each page. However, we can all do to improve our site's speed by reducing images and optimising our CSS and HTML code.

The more compact the code and the fewer images on each page, the faster it will be to load. There are many tools available to check your page speed, but Google's Page Speed Insights tool is one of the best. This tool analyzes your site's performance and gives suggestions on how to improve it.

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