Does Page Speed Really Matter?

Thinking about SEO services, we’ve talked before about how Core Web Vitals are being incorporated into a new Google ranking signal known as the Page Experience signal. This signal measures how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page. Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics designed to help website owners to measure user experience around three main areas. One of these is page loading speed.

Did you know that the ideal measurement for page loading speed is 2.5 seconds or faster? What happens if your web pages don’t load that quickly? Does page speed really matter? Let’s address that question. But first, what is page speed?

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What is page speed?

Not to be confused with ‘site speed’, page speed is the time it takes to fully display the content on a specific web page, or the time it takes for the browser to receive the first byte of information from the web server.

Why is page speed important in SEO services?

Search engines only have a set amount of time to crawl webpages, so if a page doesn’t load quickly, that means fewer pages will be covered in the crawl budget. Put simply, this could impact negatively on search engine indexation, the consequences of which can mean anything from reduced online visibility through to lost sales.

Page speed is also vital to user experience. When pages take longer to load, users get frustrated and off they go, increasing bounce rate and reducing the average time spent on the page in the process. Both of these actions send negative signals to the search engines too.

How to measure page speed?

You can measure the loading speed of your web pages using a few select tools, the most popular of which has to be Google’s PageSpeed Insights (PSI).

PSI analyses the content of a web page, then helpfully generates suggestions to make that page faster. This could be to reduce the size of downloading files, improve load speed and reduce server calls. PSI will also let you know which of the changes are high, medium or low priority, so you can prioritise the ones that will make the most difference.

Other page speed measurement tools include Pingdom, WebPage Test and GTmetrix.

How to increase page speed?

The good news is that increasing page speed is not such a challenge. If you can understand why your pages are slow to load, and identify where there is room for improvement, then it’s quite straightforward to address. Here are some of the top things you can do to speed up your page loading time and make all the difference to your search engine success.

1.     Compress files and optimise code

By reducing the amount of information required to load a site, it will load faster. It’s as simple as that. Any files, such as CSS, HTML and JavaScript that are too large can be compressed using Gzip, a software application for file compression.

Don’t use this for images though, as you’ll want to make sure you keep the quality of those intact. Instead, use an image optimisation tool (see below).

It’s also best practice to ‘minify’ CSS, JavaScript and HTML. This involves removing spaces, commas, and other unnecessary characters from your code, together with code comments, formatting, and unused code. For this process you can use CSSNano and UglifyJS.

2.     Optimise images

Optimising images means getting them at the right size so that they look nice and clear, but so they are not so large they slow down the page loading speed.

ResizeImage.net is a simple to use tool that adjusts the size of your images, and saves valuable space and page load time in doing so. The free WordPress Smush tool allows you to optimise images, resize compress and improve page speed, without any visible loss of quality.

You can also opt for a different image format, for example use .jpg instead of .png. The Browserling image converter can be used to transform images to a more compact format.

3.     Make use of caching

The likes of WordPress have plugins such as WP Super Cache that will cache the latest version of your pages, displaying them to visitors so their browser doesn’t have to keep generating that page each time they return.

4.     Clear redirects

Too many redirects can confuse a browser and result in slow loading times. Check any redirects and simplify them as much as possible. Google PageSpeed Insights will show you the redirects that are running on your site.

5.     Use a Content Delivery Network

If you get a lot of traffic to your site then it’s worth using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) such as Amazon Cloudfront. A CDN works by spreading the server load across various locations, allowing the server that’s closest to provide data to local visitors. For sites with a wide geographical reach, this can be very effective in increasing page loading speed.

Affordable local SEO services to help speed up your web pages

Google values fast-loading web pages and rewards them with top ranking spots, which is good news for your online visibility. And fast loading pages also have a major impact on conversion rates too. Visitors’ confidence always gets a boost when pages loads faster, and that can lead to referrals: digital marketing gold dust.

Figment is the SEO agency London businesses trust to deliver first class SEO services that get results. You are welcome to get in touch should you wish to discover more about how we can help you improve your page loading speed, and in turn, your online visibility and ultimately, your sales.

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