Page Speed: How It Impacts SEO, Conversion Rates, And Best Practices

A large percentage of people born in the 1980โ€™s can think back to the slow loading times of dial-up internet. A webpage having a video on it could mean an entire computer could freeze or take minutes to load one page. Speed of a website has always been important as many people refuse to visit websites that load slowly or cause their phone to have an error. Google has focused on making the search process as user friendly as possible over the course of time. Page speed became a factor in search engine rankings due to the negative experiences a person (especially with lower quality internet) could have on a website that takes immense amounts of time to load. Page speed impacts SEO, conversion rates, and overall feel/energy of a website. The following will delve into the best practices as well as the impact page speed has on a variety of areas in terms of a website.

How Page Speed Impacts SEO

Google PageSpeed Insights is a tool that many website administrators have been waiting for. The tool helps identify issues with the technical setup of a website when related to SEO. The tool can help analyze a website for user experience as well as ease of access although it is focused predominantly on technical issues. A high enough score generated on a variety of factors by this tool can allow for a strategy for improvement to be created.

The page speed of the mobile version of the website could differ immensely from the desktop version. Google has favored mobile versions as more than half of search queries come from mobile devices rather than the traditional desktop search. Testing the speed of the mobile site can differ around the world as internet connection speeds can vary greatly. The difference in speed does not mean that the person on their device do not expect a quick loading time from a website.

The connection speed on a desktop is going to be faster in general as many of these connections are wired. Page speed is going to differ by page as some have far more media to load than others. Keeping the loading times of pages like that of the homepage or important sales page fast is imperative. A portfolio page could be important to a customer but does not generate sales/leads like other pages. Server speed as well as what platform the website is hosted on can also impact page speed. The host will have far less impact than the server the website is hosted on but is still a small factor.

The quicker a searcher clicks off of a site is noticed by Google so over a 3 second loading time can be a death sentence for a website in more ways than one. The search engine rankings will suffer and organic traffic that could have led to a sale/lead instead turned into lost traffic. Keeping the user in mind when it comes to the speed of the pages is important as Google keeps the user first rather than websites.

With all of this being said, there are fast website that do not rank well while others like that of popular video streaming websites that rank well with subpar page speeds. Keep in mind that the faster the loading time the better the user can navigate the website to find what they are looking for. Spending large amounts of time to attain a perfect score on a page speed tool is not worth it. While it is important, there are plenty of other areas of SEO that require far more attention as the impacts are larger.

The Impact On User Experience

Ecommerce websites need to be as fast as they come as a slow loading time could ultimately lose a sale for a particular ecommerce business. The server also has to hold up during times of large numbers of traffic. A website crashing due to too much traffic could be losing money per minute the website is down. Page speed should be priority but not at the risk of the website going offline for any amount of time.

Video sharing websites need fast loading times but the content of the videos is far more important. A person is much more likely to wait for a video they are looking forward to or heard about to load. The server needs to be as fast as possible for these types of sites. Advertisers do not want to place ads on a site if it barely loads a video per minute. Speed should be a priority for this site with intelligent content placement throughout the sites on different pages to increase the speed per page.

Websites hosting a podcast are going to want to just have the podcast on the homepage without other forms of media. People that are visiting a website for the purpose of listening to or downloading the podcast will find what they are looking for immediately. Putting videos of the podcast or photos of guests can be done on the website, just not on the direct download page. Finding podcasts can be difficult on other platforms so take the approach of having a speedy website when its main purpose is to release a weekly podcast.

A company offering SEO and web design services are going to want everything about the website to be top of the line. Page speed is a great indicator that a website is designed with the user in mind. A portfolio of work should be present on the website but make sure to categorize these with page speed in mind. A server for large amounts of traffic will not be necessary as the website is used to generate leads rather than sell from directly like an ecommerce website.

Improving Page Speed

The page speed of a website can be improved if the admin of the website knows where to start. Plenty of tools can help identify SEO issues that could also be impacting the loading times of pages. The understanding of what factors impact page speed is something that many people might have to research. The wrong scripts being run or an outdated media type can kill a pageโ€™s loading speed. A website manager with experience in SEO can be a huge help or enlisting the help of a company that helps assist with digital marketing.

Server Response Time Is Crucial

A person that is running a website usually has a reasonable idea of the amount of traffic that the website will see on a given day. The goal of most people running a website is to attract as much traffic as possible as this can help generate ad revenue as well as lead to sales if it is a business website. A personal blog is not going to have to be on an incredibly quick server while a high-volume ecommerce website needs a great server. The response time of the server is going to slow down with high numbers in traffic which is something to keep in mind. The software that the server runs as well as the hosting solution used all impact the speed of the website. A tech-savvy person needs to look for the bottlenecks that are slowing the server. Identifying and fixing these issues will take a professional as ever a tech-savvy individual will not understand database queries slowing a server.

Optimization Of Images For Speed

Content that is published on a website usually have pictures associated which can slow page speed. Video slows page speed far more than images but both can impact speed negatively if not optimized correctly. The file type that the image is saved as should differ between JPG and PNG file types depending on the type of image. A photograph being saved as a JPG is the best practice for page speed while a PNG can be used for an image that has far fewer colors.

Reduce/Eliminate Redirects

The dreaded redirect happens for a variety of reasons with the main reason being a piece of content has moved to a different URL or page has been deleted. The redirect is a slower loading process than going straight to a specific page which will impact page speed immensely. Eliminating all redirects is not necessary though but for frequently visited pages that contain a redirect this needs to be remedied. Enlist the help of a professional to help with this as at LinkLifting we understand how to help and how eliminating redirects can help a website overall. Eliminating all redirects can be a tedious process so for those on a tight budget, a freelancer can be of help. The communication with this person needs to be top of the line though as you do not want to pay for a project if it has not been completed correctly.

Please Optimize Your Coding!

The code of the website impacts page speed so cleaning up this code is imperative to improve loading times. Removing unused code is the perfect place to start along with removing unnecessary characters in the code can play a huge role in speeding up a website. This can be done very affordably as it is only editing the code instead of having to code an entire website from scratch.

Browser Caching Plays A Role

The amount of data and information that browsers cache is enormous whether the user of the browser realizes it or not. A visitor returning to a website will have information cached that will lead to a far quicker page speed. There are expiration dates for cached information so utilize a tool that can help you check the cache. Cached information expiring around once a year is best practice unless the site undergoes a huge revamp. For websites that have loyal readers/visitors this will also help with user experience to keep traffic returning week after week. Page speed is going to continue to have importance well into the future. Consumers are becoming more and more impatient with websites that do not load quickly leading them to never return. The SEO impacts of page speed are enough to convince anyone trying to earn money off of their website to make some changes. Being able to rank at the top of search results due to improved page speed can change the trajectory of a website permanently. Other factors like title tags as well as link building are both still very important. At LinkLifting we understand the balance between link building, website design, and content marketing that will help a website rank. Page speed might not be a top priority for many website admins, but it should be!


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