It’s been years since Google first revealed how page speed affects website ranking and yet it still applies today. More recently, the search giant rolled out Speed Update – a new algorithm which factors in mobile page speeds when ranking mobile-friendly sites.
With half of the world’s online traffic driven by smartphones and increasing access to fast internet, people’s expectations of page loading speeds have likewise evolved. Now if we take all these into account, you’ll learn how and why page speed has a significant impact on your SEO.
What is Page Speed?
Page speed is the amount of time it takes for a page to load. There’s plenty of online tools which can analyze your page speed. And there are different ways to measure it.
Below are the three most common:
- Full-page loading or the time it takes to load the page completely, including content, images, and all other elements.
- First meaningful or contextual paint which refers to the time it takes to load enough resources on page so that it becomes readable. A page with a full-page loading speed of 10 seconds is slow. But if you can get a First Meaningful Paint in 2 seconds or less, page visitors will be able to jump right into reading and won’t notice the difference!
- Time to first byte or the time it takes for a page to start loading.
Why Page Speed Matters in SEO
Google won’t say exactly, but it is estimated that they get over 2 trillion queries each day. According to Statista (2019) it’s also the world’s leading search engine with a 90% market share. Given their massive user base, it’s no wonder they want to deliver the best experience. By ranking websites based on relevance and performance, Google helps people can find top resources more easily.
Page speed is an important component in site performance. On a technical level, it indicates that you have a reliable hosting service, and that your website is well-designed and properly coded for SEO. But at the core, what it really tells Google is that your site has been optimized for user experience – which is exactly what they’re looking for. This explain why Google considers page speed when ranking sites.
5 Tips for Boosting Page Speed
1. Minify resources
2. Enable file compression
3. Optimize images
Use images with just the right size for display. Make sure they’re in the recommended format (i.e. JPEG for photos, PNG for graphics). You should also compress images before uploading them to the page. This reduces their file size without affecting quality.
4. Use PageSpeed Insights
This free Google tool analyzes your page speeds. It creates a page speed report and gives personalized suggestions on how you can further optimize it for speed.
5. Set up AMP
Also known as Accelerated Mobile Pages, it’s another project that Google started for helping mobile versions of your web pages load faster.