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How Page Speed Affects SEO

August 05, 2021
Does page speed affect SEO

You already have a well-designed business website or online store. Your content is ready, and your website is live. But wait, something’s wrong — your new website takes a long time to load.

Speed is a crucial performance factor for your business. If your website loads too slowly, potential visitors might abandon it in the first few seconds, which will affect your conversion rate.

Unfortunately, many web pages don’t load as they should, and this can negatively impact your search rankings and revenue.

In this guide, we’ll answer the following questions: What could negatively affect site speed? How does page speed affect SEO? And how important is page speed for SEO, anyway?

Does Page Speed Affect SEO?

Page speed does affect SEO. As a direct ranking factor, the speed of your website influences how it will rank on Google. Page speed can also impact bounce rate and session time on your site, which also affects SEO.

What is Page Speed?

Page speed is a metric on websites that measures how long a page takes to load. Unlike site speed, which relates to the average loading time of the entire website, page speed refers to a specific page. Page speed is determined by server quality, image compression, file sizes, and more.

What Webpage Load Time Is

Webpage speed is the amount of time in seconds or milliseconds it takes to fully load a single webpage. This is also known as the Time to First Byte or the server response time.

You might have wondered what page speed is acceptable for users before they close a tab and move on.

Google indicates that more than half of mobile visitors will leave your mobile site if it takes longer than three seconds to load, so you should aim for a shorter loading time. 

Different pages can have different loading speeds depending on their page elements, such as images and code.

What could negatively affect site speed SEO? Here are a few examples:

  • Your server’s performance.
  • The user’s internet provider.
  • The browser used.
  • The type of connection used.

How To Monitor Your Website’s Speed

How to monitor site speed SEO impact

You can check your website speed using a free speed test on Google’s PageSpeed Insights, which can also let you know what could be negatively affecting your site speed SEO.

To check your website’s performance, Google’s Speed Score uses data from the Chrome User Experience Report and metrics such as DOMContentLoaded (DCL) and First Contentful Paint (FCP).

How Important Page Speed Is for SEO

So, how does page speed affect SEO?

According to Google, page loading speed became a direct ranking factor for mobile searches in July 2018. It will become a ranking factor for all pages when Google rolls out its Core Web Vitals update in June 2021. 

Google, along with other search engines, is keen on ranking pages that provide a great user experience.

SEO page speed matters and has a significant impact on user experience. Fast loading pages make it easier for visitors to navigate your website.

SEO Trends in 2022: The Future of SEO, What Matters Most and Why >>

Optimizing your website for mobile devices for mobile searches is crucial. Don’t overlook this since search engines have moved to mobile-first indexing with mobile page speed as one of the search ranking factors.

Besides, in 2019, Google Chrome announced that it would flag slow websites to encourage faster user experiences.

Here are some other reasons why increasing your page load time is essential:

  • Reduces bounce rate.
  • Increases page views.
  • Increases dwell time.
  • Improves conversion rate.
  • Helps your ranking in organic search.

How To Speed Up Your Website

  1. Activate browser caching.
  2. Minify resources.
  3. Enable image compression.
  4. Implement a content delivery network (CDN).
  5. Optimize media files.
  6. Minimize HTTP requests.
  7. Use the right web host.
SEO page speed optimization graphic

Many factors could negatively affect site speed SEO, including pages with poorly written code or too many page elements.

You can speed up webpage loading time if you:

1. Activate Browser Caching

WP Super Cache plugin can help improve site speed SEO

Fetching the resources to load your website could negatively affect site speed SEO as it takes time to load several page elements for new visitors. Browser caching lets browsers temporarily store information, including JavaScript files, stylesheets, and images.

Browser caching can speed up webpage loading time, as it loads pages faster on subsequent visits.

Free plugins, such as W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache, help reduce the number of file requests to the server, resulting in faster page load times.

2. Minify Resources

Use the WP Rocket plugin to improve site speed

Using too many CSS files causes numerous HTTP requests, which could negatively affect site speed. It’s vital to minify your CSS files, which removes unnecessary characters, spacing, and comments in your content.

For your WordPress website, we recommend using WP Rocket to speed up webpage loading time. 

3. Enable Image Compression

Large image file sizes can also negatively affect site speed. Enable Gzip compression to help reduce the time it takes to download your CSS, HTML, and JavaScript files. 

Gzip compresses and later decompresses files when they get to your browser. Most modern browsers automatically process Gzip for all HTTP requests.

Top WooCommerce Image Size Hacks To Keep Your Website Fast >>

4. Implement a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

CDNs are a network of servers used to store a static version of your webpages in different locations, meaning a visitor can easily download them from the nearest server. 

What is a Content Delivery Network (CDN)? CDN Benefits & Features >>

CDNs identify where the user is and deliver content from the server closest to them. This is an essential way to speed up webpage loading time.

5. Optimize Media Files

Images and videos that are larger than necessary could negatively affect site speed SEO, especially for mobile users. Because of this, it's a good idea to learn how to optimize images for WordPress, or whatever platform you use. Ensure your image sizes are optimized by using the right image format and pixel dimensions.

How to Convert to WebP Images on WordPress >>

For best results, use PNG or JPEG file formats. To optimize your videos, compress and reduce length. You can also upload them to YouTube and use the embed code on your page.

6. Minimize HTTP Requests

Every file that a webpage requires to function, including HTML, fonts, CSS, images, and JavaScript, will need a separate HTTP request.

Too many requests could result in slow SEO page speed. Another issue is that plugins might add further JavaScript and CSS files.

Minimize these requests to speed up webpage loading time. Some of the most effective ways include merging CSS into one file, reducing plugins that load JavaScript or CSS, and using sprites for images.

7. Use the Right Web Host

Your WordPress website’s host can determine how fast or slow your pages load. 

If your website is sharing a server with several other people, it’s more likely it will load slowly. This can frustrate your visitors, and they might abandon your website.

To combat this issue, upgrade to a host optimized for speed, such as Nexcess.

SEO Page Speed FAQs

How Does Site Speed Affect SEO?

Site speed affects SEO because it is one of the ranking factors announced in Google’s Algorithm Speed Update. Google uses site speed in its algorithm to rank high-speed sites over slow-loading ones.

What is a Good Page Speed for SEO?

A good page speed for SEO is three seconds or less. A fast-loading page speed will help your SEO efforts, as Google rewards fast sites over slow ones. Keep in mind mobile page speed as well in your optimization efforts.

How Does Page Loading Speed Affect Visibility?

Page loading speed directly affects visibility of your website. Because page loading speed is a ranking factor for Google, your site won’t get much organic traffic if it’s slow. Slow sites also hurt conversions, CPC, and SEO. Google favors fast sites over slow ones, so a slow site won’t rank as well.

Why is Page Load Speed Important for SEO?

Page load speed is important for SEO because it is one of the key determining factors for Google’s algorithm. Slow sites turn visitors away. Fast sites provide good user experiences for your visitors, and Google will rank those sites higher than slow-loading ones.

Final Thoughts: How Does Page Speed Affect SEO? + Improve Your Site Speed

How important is page speed for SEO? It’s an essential ranking factor in Google’s algorithm.

Every webmaster needs to think about specific user experiences as they build and maintain their website. If your website is slow, visitors are more likely to click the back button, which will affect your rankings and ultimately decrease conversions.

Since many visitors will access your website through tablets or smartphones, mobile speed optimization should be a top priority.

The single greatest factor to having a fast website is your host. The right host can improve website speed and boost performance.

If you’ve just created a website or you’re looking for better hosting, Nexcess has a package to suit your business. Visit us today.

Check out our fully hosted WordPress or WooCommerce plans to get started.

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