What is page speed and why should you care?
Let’s start off with a definition: page speed refers to the page load time to render all content on a page on your website. Not only do users prefer fast loading websites and are more likely to revisit fast loading websites, search engines love it too! The goal is a load time between 1-3 seconds, with 7 seconds being considered ok and anything over 10 seconds needing some serious work.
Your page speed for user experience
A one second delay in your page loading speed can result in:
- 11% less page views
- 16% decrease in customer satisfaction
- 7% loss in conversions
So, a slow loading time results in fewer page views, lower customer satisfaction and actually a loss in your conversions. Why? Because users are becoming increasingly impatient. With everything at the touch of their fingers, and competitors easily accessed online, users don’t need to be patient. This principle applies to both desktop and mobile sites – in fact, 53% of mobile users leave a site if it doesn’t load within three seconds. Since 52% of searches comes from mobile devices, mobile is important to optimise for!
Your page speed for SEO
A faster page speed means that *crawlers can access more pages of your website during their allocated time on your website. This increases the amount of data which is indexed by search engines, meaning a search engine has more data to base rankings on.
Google released way back in 2009 that page speed was a determinant of desktop rankings. In part, this is because page speed is so important to user experience. Search engine’s want to ensure that their high ranking pages give users a seamless experience – this keeps users coming back to use their search engine over competitors! Page speed is also now a determinant of mobile rankings, so be sure to optimise your mobile site for quick load times.
*If you’re not familiar with them, crawlers are bots that visit websites and read content with the objective of sending data to search engines. This data is then used to determine search engine rankings.
How can you increase your page speed?
First off, check out your current page speed with Google’s Page Speed Insights Tool. This will give you an idea of where your webpage is sitting at, and Google will give you some pointers on what you can do to improve.
A good place to start is setting a benchmark for your website size. According to Google, to optimise your page speed the size of your page should only be a maximum of 500KB. Try aiming for this!
Here’s a few tips to decrease your page size, and increase page speed:
1) Compress images
Image files should be no larger than they need to be. They should also be in the correct file format. Most commonly, PNGs are better for graphics with few colours and JPEGs are better for photography. You want to compress your images enough that it decreases loading time, but ensure that they are still high quality for your purposes.
Gzip has become a popular compression file type that you should checkout. It can decrease download times by up to 70%. That’s huge! Alternatively, if you’re a WordPress user, you can use the Smush Image Optimization plugin to compress images.
2) Use a browser cache
Browser cache’s are used to store information and can be used to store information from your webpage. When a user revisits your site information will be pulled from the cache, minimising the amount of data which needs to be pulled externally. This will increase your page speed drastically! If you’re using WordPress for your website, they have several plugins for browser cache’s. Take a look at WP Super Cache (it’s free).
3) Limit the number of HTTP requests
Load time is mostly tied up in downloading different files that make up a website – for example, images, style sheets (CSS), scripts. Downloading all these separate files is one of the key contributors to slow load times.
You can decrease the number of HTTP files that need to be sourced (requested) by combining them. For images, you can do this with CSS sprites – combining image scripts into a single script that loads together. You can also combine CSS style sheets together so they load as one, too.
4) Use AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
AMP is a project by Google aiming to decrease page loading times on mobile by removing any unnecessary formatting. This makes pages on mobile load almost instantly. You can easily make a AMP version fo your website with the AP for WP plugin.
Time to get to work
So, your page speed is important not only for user experience but also for SEO. We’ve run you through a few tips on how you can improve your own page speed: compressing images, using a browser cache, decreasing the number of HTTP steps and using AMP. Let us know how your page speed increases after implementing these four tips!
For more tips on SEO check out our other blog posts.