If you feel that speeding up your website isn’t essential, think again. Statistics show that a one-second delay in page load leads to:
11% fewer page views
7% loss in conversions
16% fall in customer satisfaction
Just a few seconds delay can tax your ability to engage traffic and make sales heavily.
Almost a decade ago, Google announced that a quick-loading side is integral to ranking well on Google and raising bottom-line profits. A slower page speed allows the search engines to crawl fewer pages, which may hamper its indexation.
According to a survey, 47% of customers expect the site to load in two seconds or less. 40% leaves a page if it takes more than three or more seconds. And for the visitors who stay on it, the slow load time makes them reluctant to return in future.
In another survey, 79% of people said they wouldn’t return to a site which performs poorly. 52% mentioned that quick page loading is essential to earning their loyalty, and 44% said that they share their inconveniences about poor site experiences with friends.
From all these results, it’s easy to ascertain that slow page loads affect conversions.
Therefore, for an impressive online presence, page speed optimization is a must.
So what exactly is required to optimize your page speed?
Choose an optimized theme that isn’t heavy.
Your host should be fast enough to allow the traffic on the site to access the site and engage with it effortlessly. For example, commenting, or going through your social media channels, etc. However, a slow host will make the user leave.
So what does a webpage consist of?
HTML Code: It offers the page structure and content
Static Files: Used for functionality, interactivity, and design to the webpage
Other Elements: Logo, content, and background
Each of these elements is requested by the browser to render a page. Therefore, the number of HTTP requests play a crucial role in page speed optimization.
Coming to how a page loads:
- Page Speed Metrics – Several metrics of page speed are available. You can try one of the common ones to optimize your site efficiently.
- First Contentful Paint – One of the most important metrics for a site’s engagement, first contentful paint is the first stage in the loading process. The user can see the loading happening and if he doesn’t see it loading, he can leave the site. This will lead to a bounce rate of the site
- Document Interactive Time – This informs us when the user starts interacting with the elements of the webpage. This metric has a high correlation with bounce rate and requires due attention.
- DOM Content Loaded – The time taken for HTML document for loading and parsing without the need to wait for images, stylesheets, subframes to load.
- Page Size – The total size (in megabytes) of the page is the page size. It is not a direct speed metric. One of the common causes is an image, which is not optimized well and needs to be looked at.
- HTTP Requests – As the page begins to load, it sends HTTP requests to the server. These requests are required for downloading files to the server. Due to this limitation, no matter how small the file is, each time a request is made, minimum response time is taken by the server. Therefore, it is essential to reduce this number of requests to enhance page speed.
- Some of the more renowned tools to measure web page speed include Google PageSpeed Insights, KeyCDN Website Speed Test, https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/
Let’s now see how page speed affects SEO
Google has stated many times that page speed is important and influences the ranking of a page, according to their algorithms. Research shows that it’s possible that Google specifically measures time to the first byte. When a page speed is slower, the search engines are able to crawl only a few pages using their crawl budget, which negatively impacts your site’s indexation.
Therefore, it is to understand that search engines are like a business entity. If they don’t show irrelevant results, they will lose credibility. If someone Googles you, it’s paramount that your web page shows up instantly as it’s a part of SEO best practices.
Imagine as a user, you would want a Google site to show up fast and display relevant results so you can stay on it for long, right? But if your site has a high bounce rate, it’ll indicate the search engine that the result wasn’t relevant to users and your site wasn’t up to expectations.
Here are some ways to increase your page speed:
Reduce the HTTP requests so you can figure out how your site currently makes these requests and use it as a benchmark. The HTTP request is for each of the elements of the on-page components of your website including images, scripts, codes, etc. Just minimize the number of elements on the page to enhance its speed.
- A dedicated server should host your site as it gives more space and more control over hosting. A server of your own is far better than a VPS and a Shared Server because you won’t have to share resources such as CPU, RAM, disk space with other sites on the server. Thus, the load time of your webpage will be reduced.
- Take advantage of caching so you can get rid off a significant number of return visitors and give a better user experience. A cached version of the site in your visitor’s browser will make it load faster for them when they return.
- Use a Content Delivery Network CDN to decrease load times for users who are not physically near your server. It caches your site on the global network on servers. So when a user’s browser will ask for files from your site, the request will be routed to the closest server.
One of the better tools for web page speed optimization is Lighthouse. It is opensource, and you can run it on any webpage. It offers audits for accessibility, performance, and more.
The bottom line is that a speedy loading page is not just important to rank the site with Google but also for taking your business to new heights, as it improves conversion rate. For better results, use a combination of hands-on-optimization with caching and CDN.