Page load speed is an important factor for websites hoping to improve their place in search rankings. The page speed metric plays a pivotal role in on-page SEO efforts for both desktop and mobile devices. In fact, a study done by Google found that 53% of web users abandon sites if their pages take more than three seconds to load on a mobile device.
Poor loading speeds can mean missing out on tons of organic traffic and potential conversions. In this post, we will learn about page loading time and how to test site speed. We will also follow up with some quick and easy tips to start improving your page loading speed right away.
What is Page Load Speed?
Page loading speed refers to the time it takes for the content on your web page to load when someone visits your site. There are a number of factors that influence how fast your pages load, including:
- The amount of images, videos, and other media on the page
- The page’s coding and server-side scripts
- The kinds of themes and plug-ins featured on your website
All of these elements and more contribute to your page’s loading speed. This, in turn, affects your website’s overall user experience (UX) design. A web page that is slow to load can really frustrate your visitors and may even cause them to leave your site!
Why is Page Speed Important?
According to recent studies, just one second of delay in page loading time can mean 11% fewer page views, 16% decrease in user satisfaction, and 7% loss of potential conversions.
If all this is the result of a one-second loading delay, imagine the effect of several seconds! In fact, if a page takes more than five seconds to load, its potential bounce rate increases by 90%.
Page speed is such an important part of user experience that it is a critical ranking factor for search engines like Google. In 2010, Google announced that page speed would become a ranking factor. By 2017, page speed had become one of the most important ranking factors, with mobile page speed being added to the score. More recently, Google took this a step further by introducing new core web vitals, which separate “page experience” into 3 different sections:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCD): measures loading performance
- First Input Delay (FID): measures interactivity time after loading
- Cumulative Layout Shift: measures visual stability while loading
All three of these vitals measure different aspects of user experience and site performance. Keeping all of these elements optimized is a crucial element of website speed optimization, an important step in creating a great website.
Page Speed vs Website Load Time
Page speed and website speed are often confused for each other. While page speed measures the loading time of content on your individual pages, website load time measures the average speed of multiple pages. This can help you to understand how your website is performing as a whole. Both website load time and page speed have a big impact on user experience and also affect your search ranking scores. This is why it is important to keep track of these metrics and optimize as much as possible.
How to Test Site Speed and Page Speed
There are a lot of ways to measure how long it takes your website’s content to load. Many SEO websites offer specific tools to test site speed and page speed. That being said, the best place to start would be Google’s PageSpeed Insights. This tool is very user-friendly and allows you to easily test the speed of your web pages on desktop and mobile devices. To use PageSpeed Insights, just enter the URL of the webpage you want to test and click “Analyze.” PageSpeed Insights will analyze how fast it takes to load your content and give it a score between 0 and 100. Below your score, you will even find tips to help make your website faster.
Best Ways to Improve Page Load Speed
Now that you know how important page speed is to your website and overall user experience, let’s learn a few helpful tips for faster page loading speeds. While the following strategies are not the only ways to improve page speed, they are some of the most effective and user-friendly options available.
Choose a High-Performance Hosting Service
The hosting service that you choose for your website has a major impact on many aspects of your site’s performance, including website load time and page speed. Many site owners opt for a cheaper hosting service, but lower cost usually means poor performance. Sharing resources between multiple sites can also lead to an overloaded server, increasing your loading speeds even more. In contrast, there are many performance-based web hosting services that put an emphasis on network power and speed. Choosing one of these more powerful hosting services will provide you with all the tools you need for website speed optimization.
Compress or Optimize Images
Quality images are a great way to add content to your web pages and enhance user experience. However, larger images can slow down loading speeds. A great solution to this problem is to compress and optimize the images on your site. You can do this in many ways, including changing file formats, enabling lazy loading, and image compression. Reducing the file sizes of your images will take some of the “weight” off of the browser and allow pages to load more quickly. Most content management systems have plug-in tools for image compression. There are also a variety of websites that can help you accomplish this as well.
Use Web Page and Browser Caching
Get Rid of Unnecessary Plug-Ins
While we’ve already mentioned a few plug-ins that can really benefit your website speeds, not all plug-ins are beneficial. In fact, having too many plug-ins on your site can lower page load speed by bogging down the system. Outdated or unmaintained plug-ins may even cause a security threat to your website. This can put you and your visitors at risk and even lower your search engine rankings. Regularly check how many plug-ins you have on your site and remove the ones you don’t need. Keeping track of your plug-ins will help you to improve user experience and optimize your site’s pages.
Having too many redirects on your website can have a negative impact on website load time. Each time a page redirects somewhere else, it lengthens the HTTP request and response process. That being said, there will be times when redirects are necessary, like moving to a new domain, for example. However, reducing any unnecessary redirects can improve page speed significantly. SEO tools, like Screaming Frog, can help you to find all of the redirects on your site. It can also help you to see where each redirect leads. After you’ve found them, you can evaluate which ones are necessary and try to remove the rest.
Website Speed Optimization for More Traffic
Page load speed is an important part of the way users experience your website. If pages are slow to load, it can frustrate your visitors and even cause them to leave your site. Besides being a critical part of user experience, loading speed is also a ranking factor for search engines like Google. Page speed is just one of the many important elements of on-page SEO. If you’d like help with your on-page SEO strategies, check out SEO Design Chicago. An expert team of SEO analysts will work with you to make sure that each of your pages is fully optimized for search.
- What is page speed?
- Are page load time and website speed the same?
- How can I improve my page speed?
- How can I test my site speed?
- Is page load time a part of on-page SEO?