How Important is Site Speed for SEO?
Naturally, when you build a website, you would like to fill it with attractive visuals and lots of content. However, are these effecting your site speed? Here we will look at everything you need to know about site speed and how it affects your SEO efforts.
The first thing every online business person needs to understand is that, before the users can even see the content in a website, the site has to load first. It doesn’t make sense to put in a lot of effort making the site visually attractive or loading it with lots of content if it’s going to take 10 seconds to load.
Notably, everyone is busy, and they want to take the shortest time possible looking for data online. If your site loads slowly, visitors will most likely bounce off, which signals to Google that your content is irrelevant to users.
Guess what happens next? Yes, your guess is as good as mine – lower rankings on the SERPs.
What is the Ideal Page Load Time?
Site owners should aim at having a page that loads as fast as humans blink. Data from Google reveals that most users take about 0.4 seconds waiting for a page to load, after which they look elsewhere. This means that if your pages don’t load fast, you’ll experience high bounce rates.
But, what makes the speed of a website slow?
Factors that Slow the Site Speed
Here are some of the things you need to avoid if you want to improve your site speed.
- Large images
Visualization of blogs is great if you want to keep readers engaged. However, huge and heavy images will make your site load slow. You don’t have to disregard the importance of images entirely.
All you need to do is to use the right image size and image format. The best image formats are GIFs, PNG, and JPG. Avoid heavy image formats such as the TIFF and BMP.
- Too Many plugins
If you use WordPress, you cannot avoid the usage of plugins because they enhance the website’s functionality. The only problem is that when you have too many plugins lazing around the site, they slow down your site speed.
You see, each plugin sends a file request, and when you have too many requests, they make the pages take longer to load.
- Web hosting and server performance
When starting, it’s okay to use cheap hosting, which is often shared hosting. However, you need to adjust and find better hosting as your business grows. In shared hosting, resources such as storage are shared among many sites.
Since resources are limited in shared hosting plans, it’s common for websites to experience slow load times. This is especially so if your website is experiencing traffic spikes.
- Many redirects
Internet users want to find the information they look for directly. Visitors hate it when you keep redirecting them from one page to another before you can lead them to what they want. Avoid too many redirects because they make the site load slower and encourage bounce-offs due to frustrations.
- Update your CMS
Content management systems such as WIX or WordPress undergo regular updates. If you’re using an outdated CMS, the chances are that your site will load slowly due to bugs and other errors.
Always ensure that your platform is fully updated for fast speeds, better performance, and even better user experience.
- Code density
Redundant code on the backend of the website can affect performance and even affect site loading speeds.
- Too many ads
Every site owner aims at selling ad space to advertisers for that extra penny. Overdoing the ads may adversely impact your website speed which will ultimately affect business performance.
It’s not worth foregoing millions of revenue through sales for ad commission. This does not mean that you don’t do ads as it supplements your income. However, please don’t overdo it to an extent it affects site speed and user experience.
Site Speed VS Page Speed: What’s the Difference?
Site speed looks at the performance of the whole website. It’s measured from the minute a user clicks onto a referring URL and how they interact from one page to another within the website.
On the other hand, page speed focuses on how fast a single page within a website loads. It’s essentially the time it takes for the page content to get downloaded from the hosting website and displayed on the requesting web browser. It’s possible to have different pages within a website with varying speeds of load.
Mobile and Desktop Website Speed Optimization
Google, during a recent update, announced that mobile optimization is a significant ranking factor for websites. Most people around the world are using mobile devices to access the internet.
Without a doubt, mobile searches contribute more than half of all internet searches. Mobile users will bounce off a site that doesn’t load within 0.5 seconds. Most website owners have discovered that mobile optimization is the icing on the cake for success in online business. Thus competition in the mobile space is very stiff.
Site owners must treat mobile and desktop speed optimization as two different aspects for better results. Otherwise, you risk low mobile speeds, lower conversion rates on mobile, usability problems, and poor ranking scores on SERPs.
How can I test Site Speed?
There are many tools, some free and others you’ll need to pay monthly or annual subscriptions. Different tools work differently to analyze various aspects of the website for speed.
The most common tool is the Google Page Speed Insight. Other tools you can leverage to know the problems affecting site speed are the GTMetrix and Pingdom.
Each of these tools will give you different results based on your location and other aspects. It’s therefore essential that you stick to one that meets your unique needs. After identifying the issues that affect your website speed, you can then work on improving them.
In a Nutshell
Site speed is an essential consideration if you want to succeed in online business. Users don’t have to wait for slow-loading sites and will often bounce off to other sites. Ideally, a website should take about 0.4 seconds to load on desktop and 0.5 seconds to load on mobile.
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