Website speed and why it’s important (from a user and SEO perspective)

Everyone loves it when a website works quickly and efficiently, but why is it so important and how exactly does it improve a user’s experience?

Page speed is defined as how long it takes for the browser to receive the first batch of information from the server. It is purely how long a person waits before they can begin consuming an individual page. It is not to be confused with website speed, which is actually the average of several sample pages on a website.

Every single page element affects the page speed, which is calculated in a few different ways:

  • Time to first byte (TTFB) – The length of time to load the first byte of information on your page, a very good indication of how fast the server loading time is.
  • Time to interactive (TTI) – The length of time it takes for a page to load the interactive elements.
  • First contentful paint (FCP) –The time it takes for the first element of content, such as text and images, to load on your website.
  • Load time – This one is pretty self-explanatory and is purely the amount of time it takes to fully load a page and all its elements.
  • Mobile first – This isn’t a measurement of page speed, but is another very important part of how your website’s loading time is calculated. Mobile First means that when assessing the speed of your website, the tool is actually looking at the mobile version, not the desktop version. This is a super handy feature as speed is even more significant when you’re using a mobile device.

47 percent of consumers expect a website to load in no more than two seconds. By decreasing page load time, it has also been found that conversions can be increased by up to 17%, and nobody says no to more customers!

Why is website speed so important?

You don’t need to be told that page speed is hugely important to the user. If they click on your page and it takes longer than a few seconds to load, chances are you’ve already lost them. And none of us can afford to make a bad first impression.

The speed of your page can make or break your website. Faster pages are more efficient and provide a much better user experience, or UX. Page speed can also directly affect your website’s SEO and by addressing loading times you are improving your rankings, your user experience and your conversion rate too. A win all round!

The effect of page speed on SEO

SEO, or search engine optimisation, is the process of working to make a website or piece of content rank higher on in search engine results. SEO allows you to take a piece of online content and optimise it so search engines like Google show it towards the top of the page when someone searches for something.

The key difference between SEO and paid advertising is that SEO involves “organic” ranking, you don’t pay to be in that space. Instead, you are seen because the words and phrases on your website match those typed into the search engine.

In 2010, Google announced that page speed would be included as one of the ranking factors for their search index. Since then, page speed has only grown in Google’s consideration of SEO ranking. Google doesn’t want to deliver results that are slow loading and put users off. So the faster your page speed, the more your website will get noticed.

Improving your Page Speed

Your page speed and its importance to your site’s SEO positions is growing every year. As technology and the speed with which we can find information improves, one thing is clear: optimising your page speed is necessary for the future. Therefore, your SEO focus should be on improving your page speed.

Want to ensure your website is at the top when your company is searched? Well, a handy way to evaluate your page speed is by using Google’s Pagespeed insights. This incorporates data from CrUX (Chrome User Experience Report) and reports on two important speed metrics: First Contentful Paint (FCP) and DOMContentLoaded (DCL). That way you will truly know where you stand in the rankings.

Some remedies for improving your page speed include:

  • Removing what is slowing your page down. Image-heavy pages, large downloadable files and JavaScript are all things that will cause your page to load slowly and should be kept to a minimum where possible.
  • Using WebP formatting instead of jpg, png or gif.

If your page is slow and sluggish, it could be a sign you need a new website, or at least need to make some changes. Please get in touch with us if you have any further questions regarding page speed as we are always on hand to help and offer advice.

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