How Important Is Page Speed For SEO?
Page speed defines the total amount of time that it takes for a website to completely load. When considering page speed optimization services for SEO purposes, page speed can be crucial. Users are quick to leave a page when it takes too long to load, and search engines are quick to disregard pages with poor performance.
There are so many benefits to improving page speed, and not just for SEO purposes.
Fast websites not only convert better, but they also create a better user experience.
This can bring more people to your site, and keep them coming back.
Page speed is an important tool to use towards improving SEO performance, as faster page speeds are commonly attributed to more frequent site visitors and easier purchases.
There are a few elements consider when looking at page speed from an SEO perspective.
Page Speed Influences Google Results
It is no secret that online interaction and transaction is constantly evolving.
Compared to a decade ago, companies and businesses of all sizes are much more dependent upon online traffic in order to generate sales, visitors, and advertisement. SEO tactics are meant to improve search rankings so that users find the desired site and discover new and exciting options.
In 2010, Google officially announced that they were going to begin using page speed as a factor in their algorithm that determines search rankings.
Pages with higher speeds would get priority over pages with lower speeds.
For SEO, this is a huge deal.
This means that you will see actual improvements in the volume of search traffic a site gets as the page speed is reduced.
Of course, ranking depends on many other factors, independent of page speed. In fact, there are about 200 different ranking factors that are utilized by Google, and improving search rankings is best done by using a holistic approach.
Still, Google keeps high levels of speed and efficiency as important factors, so when competition is created equal, page speed could be the make or break factor to being ranked number one.
Slow Pages Waste Crawl Budgets
Google puts aside a certain amount of time to allow each website to be crawled and indexed.
This means that there is only a brief span of time for a website to be analyzed and assigned a ranking slot in the search index.
Pages that don’t have performant page speeds will spend the majority of that valuable crawl budget trying to load.
This means that, rather than evaluating an entire site, the crawl budget will only have enough time to evaluate a few pages.
This could have a huge effect upon whether or not a site is properly indexed.
When leveraging SEO tactics to improve rankings, a great way to improve rankings can be as simple as improving page speed.
User Experience is Improved
Whether using SEO tactics to increase overall traffic or to keep users coming back with valuable and relevant content, user experience is critical.
Businesses can’t count on users being patient enough to wait for slow-loading pages. In fact, 40% of people will readily abandon a website if they have to wait more than two or three seconds for it to completely load.
Without being able to keep users coming back—or to keep them on the page long enough for it to load—then SEO efforts are put to the wayside. When pairing this with Google’s ranking policies on slower websites, it makes sense that the most highly ranked websites are often those that also have the quickest page speeds.
Positive user experience is a crucial factor when considering SEO. Good experiences lead to more conversions, making sites much more profitable and effective.
What Makes Page Speed Slow Down?
Many different factors can contribute to a slow page speed. Some of the most common elements that negatively affect speed are:
- Un-optimized WordPress plugins
Page speed can quickly drop down depending on the type of plugins that the site uses. Try and use only what is necessary to the site to keep the load times down.
- Cheap web host
Saving a few pennies on a web host might seem like a great idea at first. In reality, a cheap web host is usually a low-quality web host, which can ultimately slow down the entire loading process.
- Complicated themes
Though the additional graphics, designs, and effects may look impressive, one of the most common issues with complex themes is that they take too long to load.
- Embedded media
Including video clips can be a great way to enhance user interaction on your site, but it is also an excellent way to slow down page speed in the process.
- Bulky code
Code can certainly influence page speed, as bulky coding will make for sluggish sites. In order to create optimum performance, code should be well-written and as clean as possible.
- Lots of redirects
Having a ton of redirects to other URL’s can double the total load time, resulting in a significant decrease in page speed. This can be particularly discouraging for users on mobile devices, increasing site abandonment.
Utilizing page speed is a great way to add a little extra power to SEO components. After all, the best way to get the most out of search engine optimization is to provide multiple points of access for new and existing customers. A slow site hinders your ability to rank, and when a user does find the slow loading site, they are highly likely to bounce from it. Not only does Google dislike these sites, but users will typically dislike them as well.
While page speed is certainly important for SEO purposes, the reality is that it is only one of hundreds of SEO strategies and factors to consider. Sites that operate a fraction slower than others might not experience a vast amount of difference, but sites that have room for improvement on page speed certainly will.