As you may be aware, there are many different ways you can improve the search engine optimisation of your website. Everything from optimising your pages with keywords, to editing the metadata of your site, to fixing any technical issues your page has can be instrumental in making sure your pages rank higher on Google and other search engines. But one often overlooked area that can really supercharge your SEO is your site having faster page speed and loading times. The speed of your web page is one of the main factors that search engine algorithms use to rank pages higher, and the faster your website runs, the more likely you are to be seen by your desired audience!
There are many factors that can affect the speed of your website, ranging from the obvious, such as large file sizes and lots of flashy, unoptimised image and video content, to other factors such as the performance of the hosting server, badly written and unwieldy code, and using too many plug-ins and widgets which can add excess complex code. Another thing that can make a massive difference in the speed of your page is a Content Delivery Network (CDN), which is a large network of servers based in different areas across the world that saves static website content such as CSS code and image files onto multiple servers. This allows your website to run much faster internationally.
Page speed can be a complex beast, and is not quite as simple as a specific metric of how long it takes for your website to load. Pages with lots of features and text may load gradually, with some features being accessible to the viewer faster than others. Even if the main content on the page is quick to load, a user can still come away feeling like they’ve been a victim of slow loading times, whereas a page that takes longer to load any content at all but loads all at once may give a user the impression of a faster site. Therefore to gauge the speed of a website, we use several metrics in combination with each other. Google’s Core Web Vitals algorithm looks at three different aspects of web page speed: loading performance, interactivity and visual stability. For loading performance, the main metric google uses to gauge speed is how long it takes for the largest piece of content to appear. Regarding interactivity, google measures the response time to a user’s first site interaction. Google sets a standard measurement for each metric, assigning the page a score of either “good”, “needs improvement”, and “poor”. To rank effectively on Google, a website must achieve a “good” ranking in at least 75% of site visits over a 28 day period.
Alongside search engine’s metrics for how fast your page should be, it’s also important to note that page speed is an important factor for creating a satisfactory user experience, which can be just as instrumental in creating conversions and eventually increasing your SEO performance. People have increasingly short attention spans, so a slow page speed is going to cause frustration to your potential audience, and can cause many to leave the site prematurely and visit faster competitors. On the flip side, fast page loading times are likely to encourage visitors to stay longer, and engage with any features or calls to action on your website. This leads to more conversions and recommendations, which can then be leveraged into customer testimonials and further backlinks from other high ranking websites, increasing your websites domain authority and helping you to continue to rank higher and higher in SERPs.
Page speed doesn’t just help your website’s user experience, it is also in Google’s best interest to rank faster pages higher. Slower sites are often slow because of larger, inefficient content that hasn’t been optimised for speed and doesn’t make use of modern formatting technology. When linked to from Google, this means the search engine has to consume more bandwidth and spend more money loading your page. Equally, faster page speed can make it significantly easier for Google’s web crawlers to crawl your website, which also saves on resources. A faster web can significantly reduce Google’s operating costs, which means it is a no-brainer that they would prioritise faster websites when ranking pages.
A lot of this can seem daunting and complex for the uninitiated, and optimising a website for a faster page speed can take a lot of time and effort, but the results are more than enough to justify the endeavour. To learn more about SEO and see how Every Trick can help you lower your page speed, book a consultation with us today!