How Page Speed Impacts Your Google Rankings and How to Improve It

Do you know how much your pages' speed impacts your Google ranking? Here is the answer, and here is how to improve it.

Your website speed has a massive impact on your overall online presence. Since page speed is a ranking factor, a slow website is destined to fail. When operating in a competitive digital environment where your competitors are doing everything to ensure good user experience, you can’t afford to repel your hard-earned traffic with your slow business website.

While Google made page speed a ranking factor for mobile searches in 2018, website developers, business owners, and marketers now put special emphasis on page speed. This blog post will explain page speed, its impact on SEO and how you can improve it:

What is Page Speed?

People often use the terms ‘site speed’ and ‘page speed’ interchangeably. Page speed is the time a webpage takes to fully load its content. How much time do your web pages take to load? If you’re not sure how much time your site takes to load, use Google PageSpeed Insights to find out.

When it comes to your site load time, every second count. Your average user has no patience for a page that takes too long to load. But, how fast is fast enough? If your site loads in less than a second, you’re in the safe zone. A web page still needs improvements if it takes 2-3 seconds to load. However,  if your pages take more than 4 seconds to load, it’s a red flag. Stats suggest that a one-second delay in page speed can lead to a 7% reduction in conversions.

Why Is Page Speed Important for SEO?

A slow website not only forces its visitors to leave but also hurts search engine optimization (SEO) results. Therefore, page speed plays a critical role in your overall SEO success.

Page speed, SEO, and user experience (UX) are interconnected concepts. While page speed is one of the first and foremost elements that determine the bounce rate, Google simply hates slow websites. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and try to exceed their expectations.

As a business owner or marketer, you must be committed to ranking your site higher on Google, ideally in the first 3-5 organic listings.

To achieve this goal, you have to optimize your site in every possible way from improving page speed to creating high-quality content. This is the only way you can drive more traffic to your site without investing in paid advertising.

If your site speed isn’t up to the mark, it’s high time to figure out how you can increase page speed to ultimately improve your Google rankings. Let’s discuss some of the strategies that will increase your page speed and your chances of being displayed to prospective customers.

How to Increase Page Speed and Improve SEO Results

Slow page speed makes it difficult for search engines to crawl all of your pages using their allocated crawl budget, which eventually affects your indexation. Your business will suffer down the line if search engines are unable to properly crawl and index your site. Here is what you need to do resolve this problem:

1. Choose the Right Hosting Option for Your Needs

The digital world has developed into a place where people want quick solutions and show no tolerance for poor user experience. When it comes to improving page speed, web hosting is probably the most overlooked factor.

Servers

The web hosting provider you select as well as the plan you sign up for directly impact the performance of your website. So, make sure to choose the right hosting option that fits your unique requirements. Cloudways hosting reviews will help you make the right decision.

Whether you’re expecting 1,000 visitors per day or your site attracts a large amount of traffic, make sure to choose one of the most efficient and affordable cloud hosting providers.

2. Optimize Images

A modern website looks incomplete without images. With the growing importance of visual content, it’s not wise to design a site without using relevant, engaging, and high-quality images. Images add life to your text-based content and make it easy for you to connect with your audience on an emotional level. However, don’t let heavy images affect the speed of your site.

So, how can you optimize your website images without suffering a loss in quality? Here are some quick solutions:

  • Use the right format: Various types of file formats can be used on the web. Make sure to choose the right format. PNG and JPEG are two popular types of images.
  • Compress images: An image compression tool can be used to reduce the file size, which in turn will lead to faster loading pages and improved organic search rankings.
  • Check image quality: People are often reluctant to reduce the quality of their images, especially when they have to sell highly visual products. Reducing image quality the right way will not affect its quality.
  • Use image optimization tools: You can find various image editing and optimization tools on the web. Adobe Photoshop is one of the most popular tools to optimize images.

Stock Photos

3. Enable Gzip compression

Compressing your web files using the Gzip compressions is another useful technique to speed up your site. Gip compression is a popular way of reducing the size of web files. Since your users would be able to load and download compressed files instead of full-sized files, your site speed will improve considerably.

Gzip is simple and powerful when used appropriately. It uses similar strings within a file and replaces them temporarily to reduce the overall file size. CSS and HTML files often contain tons of whitespace and repeated text that negatively impacts page speed. Gzip compression can reduce the size of your pages by up to 70%. Enable Gzip on your web server is a simple process

4. Leverage Browser Caching

Encouraging your website visitors to save and reuse the elements on your web pages can significantly improve the page load times. In other words, take advantage of the browser caching option to reduce page load times for your repeat visitors.

If your audience regularly re-visit some of the areas on your site, leveraging browser caching would be of great help.

However, don’t set the parameters too long on certain files as it can prevent your visitors from seeing the updated version of your site.

5. Minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML

Minification is a process to remove redundant or unnecessary data without affecting how your web elements are processed by browsers. It is advisable to minify your HTML, CSS, and JaveScript resources to optimize your web pages for speed. Closure Compiler, HTMLMinifier, and CSSNano are some of the recommended tools to improve the overall efficiency of your site.

Conclusion

The speed of your web pages depends on several factors. From choosing the right hosting option to minifying web resources, you can work your way through these strategies. You might need help from a developer to implement some of the techniques. Considering the massive impact of page speed on your search engine rankings and online success, these strategies worth your time.

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Published on November 23, 2019 by Peter Hughes. Filed under: , .

Peter Hughes is a digital marketing consultant and author. Peter has more than 10 years of experience in SEO and Internet marketing.

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