Page Speed

What is Page Speed in SEO ?

Page speed refers to the measurement of how quickly your page content loads.

Page speed is usually confused with or mistaken for site speed. However, site speed refers to the page speed for the sample of page views on a website.

Page speed is best described as:

  • Time to first byte – the length of time it takes for the browser to get the first information byte from the web server
  • Page load time – the length of time to completely display the content of a certain page

Google’s PageSpeed Insights can be used to evaluate page speed. PageSpeed Insights Speed Score includes data from Chrome User Experience Report or CrUX and reports on two crucial speed metrics, namely DOMContentLoaded (DCL) and First Contentful Paint (FCP).

Table of Contents

1. Is Page Speed Important?

2. Best SEO Practices for Page Speed

Is Page Speed Important?

Yes, it is. Page speed is important as far as users are concerned because a faster page is more efficient than a slow one. These days, the average attention span of users is only a mere 8 seconds, much shorter than a goldfish whose attention span is 9 seconds. But, based on a study, as far as the internet is concerned, the attention span of users is much shorter at only 3 seconds. This means that it takes more than 3 seconds for a page to load, over a quarter of visitors will probably click away.

The page load speed can also affect conversions and rankings. For example, during Walmart’s assessment of the data on their page speed, they noted an increase in conversion of 2% for every second faster a page is loaded. The theory was then put to test by Amazon and they calculated that they might incur a loss of $1.6 billion annually if their website slowed down for only one second.

Page load speed is also emphasized by search engines probably because users do.  Back in 2010, Google has also announced that they would use page load times as one factor for ranking. After 7 years, they announced that they will give page speed more consideration.

Best SEO Practices for Page Speed

According to Google, site speed as well as page speed as a result is among the signals that their algorithm use for ranking pages. Research has revealed that Google might specifically measure time to first byte whenever it considers page speed. Aside from this, a slow page speed also implies that search engines can also crawl fewer pages with the use of their designated crawl budget and it might have a negative effect on your indexation.

Aside from that, page speed is essential for user experience. Pages that take a longer time to load have the tendency to have higher bounce rates as well as lower average time spent on the page. It has also been revealed that longer load times can have a negative effect on conversions.

Below are a few ways to boost your page speed:

  • Allow compression

You can use the software application for file compression Gzip to decrease the size of your JavaScript, HTML, and CSS files that go over 150 bytes. Avoid using Gzip on your image files. You can compress these instead in a program such as Photoshop wherein you could be in control when it comes to the image quality.

  • Minify HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.

When you optimize your code that includes removal of comas, spaces, and any unnecessary characters, this can help create a significant increase in your page speed. You can also do away with code formatting, unused code, and code comments. Google suggests the use of UglifyJS and CSSNano.

  • Cut down on redirects.

Every time a page gets redirected to a different page, the visitor will face an additional time as they wait for the completion of the HTTP request response cycle. Thus, it is best to reduce your redirects for your page to load faster.

  • Do away with render-blocking JavaScript.

A browser needs to establish a DOM tree through parsing HTML prior to rendering a page. Once your browser stumbles on a script during the said process, it needs to stop and execute this before it can proceed. Google recommends minimizing and avoiding using blocking JavaScript.

  • Take advantage of browser caching.

There are lots of information found in browsers cache such as JavaScript files, images, stylesheets, and more that every time a visitor returns to your website, there is no need for the browser to reload the whole page.

You can use tools such as YSlow to check if you got an expiration date set for the cache. You can then set the “expires” header for the length of time that you prefer the information to remain cached. Unless your website design gets frequent changes, a year can be considered as a reasonable timeframe more often than not.

  • Boost server response time.

There are several things that affect your server response time including the resources used by each page, the amount of traffic that you get, the software used by your server, as well as the hosting solution that you are using. If you want to increase your server response time, at SEO Heroes Bangkok we recommends to check for performance bottlenecks such as lack of sufficient memory, slow routing, and slow database queries and get them fixed. The best server response time is less than 200ms.

  • Make use of content distribution network.

CDNs or content distribution networks or also known as content delivery networks refer to networks of servers used for distribution of delivering content load. Basically, your website copies are stored at several geographically varied data centers to allow users to have faster and more reliable website access.

  • Optimize your images.

Finally, make sure that the images you use are not bigger than they should, they have been compressed for online use, and they are in the correct file format. For this, PNGs are typically better for those graphics with less than 16 colors. On the other hand, JPEGs are much better options for photographs.

CSS sprites can be used for creating template for the images you often use on your website such as icons and buttons. CSS spites allow combination of your images to a single large imaging loading all at once, meaning lesser HTTP requests then displaying only those sections you wish to show. It means that you can save load time since users don’t need to wait for several images to load.