What is website page speed and how does it impact your SEO efforts?

Alice  Parsons
posted by Alice
What is website page speed and how does it impact your SEO efforts?

In the early days of the internet, you’d be lucky if a website page loaded in less than a minute. You’d be stuck waiting as it loaded line by line, pixel by pixel, without any promise it would even have the information you were looking for.

Today’s net tells a different story. Innovations in network technology have allowed website pages to load 100 times faster than they did back in the 90s - based on an analysis of the world’s top website pages, the average page load time is 2.5 seconds on desktop and 8.6 seconds on mobile. That’s a huge leap upwards! 

As technology evolves, so do users’ expectations. People want to access the page they’ve clicked on within seconds, without having to wait around longer than they need to. This has made page speed more crucial than ever. 

Below, we’ve delved into the ins and outs of website page speed. We’ve looked at what page speed is, why it matters, and most importantly, how you can turbocharge the loading times of your own pages. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s jump right in! 

What is page speed? 

So, what actually is page speed? 

Simply put, page speed is the time it takes for a website page to load on your device. It’s measured from the moment a user clicks on the link on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) to the moment the page is fully loaded. 

What affects page speed? 

A website page is made up of a lot of different elements, and they all influence how quickly it loads. Some of the factors that affect page speed include:

  • The number of HTTP requests: this refers to the number of separate requests made by the browser to load various resources such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript files, images, and other media.
  • Image size: larger images take longer to download and render on the webpage, resulting in slower load speeds.
  • Code structure: the quality and clarity of the code used to build a web page impact its performance.
  • Volume of content: the amount of content on a web page, including text, images, videos, links, animations, and other multimedia elements, can affect load speed.
  • Server speed: the speed and responsiveness of the server hosting the website can influence how quickly the page is delivered to the user's browser.

How do you measure page speed? 

Measuring page speed only takes a few minutes. There are a couple of free tools you can use to do this: one of them is Google's PageSpeed Insights, which provides a detailed report on your page speed and tips on how to improve it; another is webpagetest.org, which also lets you test your website against Google’s Core Web Vitals. 

How does page speed impact user experience and SEO? 

Page speed has a huge impact on your website’s UX and its Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Here’s why! 

Google uses page speed as a factor in ranking 

Starting in 2010, Google began using page speed as a factor in their desktop ranking algorithms. They made it a ranking factor for mobile search results in 2018. 
So, what does this mean? It means that websites with a faster page speed are ranked higher on the SERPs, drawing in more eyes, clicks, and engagement (and more sales!). 
Page speed isn’t the most important ranking factor - user relevance and usefulness wear that crown - but it does have an impact. And as we all know, even the smallest change in ranking can make all the difference. 

Faster speeds mean more conversions 

Life moves fast on the net. Users don’t want to wait around to get the information they need - they want to get it quickly and easily, with the least amount of effort possible. 
According to a 2019 study, a site that loads in one second has a conversion rate three times higher than a site that loads in five seconds. If your website page is taking too long to load, users are likely to get frustrated and leave the site. They might even head to one of your competitors’ websites - not ideal! 

Page speed is especially important on mobile 

Mobile devices are much smaller than desktops and laptops, which means they usually have slower processors. This can lead to slower page loading times. 

This is a big problem when you take into account mobile browsing habits. Statistics show that mobile bounce rates hover around 67.4%, while desktop bounce rates are only 32%. These figures highlight how mobile users tend to be less patient than desktop users. 

A good way to speed up mobile page speed is by AMPlifying your site - that is, putting it in the mobile-optimised framework known as AMP. AMP (short for Accelerated Mobile Pages) sites are designed to prioritise speed and performance. They achieve this by simplifying the code, minimising the use of external resources, and implementing certain limitations on functionality and design. They’re also cached by Google's own servers, which further speeds up their loading times. 

How do you increase page speed? 

There are a lot of things you can do to speed up the time your page takes to load. Some can be done in a few minutes, while others can take a lot longer. 

  • Compress images and use smaller image formats 
  • Minify your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code 
  • Configure your server to set appropriate caching headers 
  • Load JavaScript files asynchronously to prevent them from blocking the rendering of the page 
  • Reduce the number of HTTP requests required to load your webpage 
  • Use a content delivery network (CDN) to distribute your website's static resources across multiple servers worldwide 
  • Optimise server response time 
  • Load essential above-the-fold content first 
  • Implement AMP for mobile versions of your website 
  • Regularly test your website's performance and look for areas to improve 

By implementing these techniques, you can give your visitors lightning-fast loading times and a smooth, streamlined browsing experience. If you need help with any or all of the above, get in touch with us using the links below

Send your page speed soaring with b4b’s web design services 

At b4b Marketing, we’re all about making websites the best they can be. 
Our expert team of web developers and designers have a deep understanding of what makes a website come out on top, and they’ll put their knowledge to use in transforming your website into a super sleek, super speedy experience. 

Our Bournemouth SEO team will work alongside them to implement best content practices, resulting in a fully optimised website that loads quickly, engages users, and gets hundreds of conversions rolling in. 

Want to find out more about what we can do for your business? Chat with our friendly team online or call us on 01202 684400! We’d love to explain more about all the services we have to offer, so don’t hesitate to reach out today. 

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