7 Things That Can Help You Improve Your Page Speed for SEO
“Anything we can do to make things simpler and more transparent is a plus.” – Cap Watkins, Etsy
Article by Nicole Serrano
Graphics Design by Frank Cadag
Why Does Your SEO Depend on Your Page Speed?
Not to confuse with what we all know as “site speed”, page speed is basically the time that a visitor has to wait for a particular page to load; whereas site speed covers the entire website’s loading time. This plays a huge factor in making that first impression on your audience, by providing them with a good user experience.
Majority of search engine users are more likely to click on one of the top 5 suggestions in the results page (SERPS), so for you to be able to take advantage of this and gain more visitors to your website, you need to be in the top position. Improving both SEO and page speed will not only be beneficial to the user experience, but will also enhance the usability of a website.
Google Regards Page Speed as a Ranking Signal
Ever since 2010, Google has announced that page speed will be a huge factor when it comes to website rankings in their search engine. Since Google saw how important speed was becoming for their users, they made it one of their top priorities.
This is to make sure that visitors who come to Google for help, will no doubt, get the best user experience possible. When pages take too much time to load, it can cause your target customers to bounce off your website. Hence, having a faster page speed is not only rewarded by ranking algorithms but is becoming necessary to make it near the top of search results.
To make it short:
Slow loading page -> Negative user experience -> High bounce rate (low conversions) -> Lower ranking on SERPs
Page Speed Matters to Visitors
Apart from how page speed affects search rankings, page speed matters because you need to make sure your visitors get the best user experience possible. In fact, it is a crucial yet much neglected part of eCommerce web design. Do you know: Approximately 80 percent of shoppers say that they simply won’t return to a website if it loads too slowly during their first visit! Ultimately, positive user experience often leads to better conversions.
A website with faster page speed will improve customer experience and the view of your company in more ways than one, all of which helps improve search engine optimization and conversions.
A fast website creates a good user experience in many ways:
– If you sell a product, having fast pages will help your visitors quickly understand what you have to offer and will more likely complete your order forms.
– If you generate revenues thanks to advertising on your content, a fast website will ease your visitors to navigate from page to page and will increase your total of page views per user.
Factors That Slows Down Page Speed
1. Large Images
Large images look nicer because of their higher resolution. However, it takes a lot of time to load them because they may require more data, leading to reducing your page speed. Instead of using HD images, optimize your images and convert them to PNG or JPEG, to maintain their quality, while still being able to reduce their weight.
Aside from being a huge factor in slowing down your page speed, having too many ads will just annoy your visitors, leading them to leave your website. Choose only what is necessary and make sure they are all optimized.
3. Embedded Media
Embedded media usually means images and videos from an outside source that you’ve inserted in your page. These things may be valuable, but they greatly slow down your page speed. Instead, you can choose to include those medias that you can host on your server.
4. Outdated Browser, Apps, and Plugins
Make sure to test your website on all browsers, as they don’t always load the same way. It is best to avoid plugins that are resource-heavy because it may slow down your entire website. Adobe Flash is an example of a very common plugin that has resulted in negative impacts on many websites.
5. Slow Hosting Service
If you are running a resource-intensive website and your web host cannot keep up with the demand, your site will also experience slow and intermittent page loads. They say you get what you pay for, so instead of choosing a cheap host that may lead you to further problems, choose one that best suits your business needs.
To improve page speed, you should switch to a different web host or upgrade your current web hosting plan.
6. Site Theme
It is vital to choose the perfect theme or web design that suits your brand, but take note that themes with too many effects or designs can affect the loading speed of your page. Hence, when considering the theme for your website, one should consider the performance, and not just aesthetics.
Widgets like social media buttons or comments section may be helpful and necessary to your website, but they can also make your page quite bulky and time-consuming to load. Make sure to optimize them as much as you can, or even remove them if they serve no purpose.
Speed has a massive impact on user experience, which would in turn affect your site’s SEO as Google expects pages to load in 2 seconds or less. So do keep that in mind as a part of your website development. Furthermore, it is always recommended to analyze your website occasionally to check in with the user experience, and to pay attention to those specific performance metrics that you can always choose to improve. This will give you an idea on how to increase your site traffic and user retention.
You can always analyze your page speed by using free tools like using PageSpeed Insights.
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