It’s been a few years since Google first announced what kind of impact that page speed has on SEO. Even more recently, Google rolled out a Speed Update, a new algorithm update which takes into account mobile page speeds when ranking mobile sites.
The majority of web traffic now comes from smartphones. That means the way people access digital content and their expectations when it comes to page load time has changed considerably. That’s why it’s so important to understand what impact page speed has on SEO.
What is Page Speed?
Page speed is how long it takes a page to load content. You don’t have to count. There are plenty of online tools that calculate it for you. There are different ways to measure it, however.
These are the three most common.
- Full-page loading this is the time it takes to fully load the page with all content, including images.
- First meaningful or contextual paint is the time it take to load enough resources on the page for it to become readable.
- Time to first byte is the time it takes the page to start loading.
Why Page Speed Matters
Google wants to give the best experience possible to its users. The search giant has never released an exact figure, but it is estimated that it receives about 2 trillion queries each day. It also has a 90% market share when it comes to search. That’s why they care so much about how quickly each website loads.
Page speed is probably the most important factor when it comes to site performance. Even if a website is trash, it is important that it loads quickly so users can see it isn’t what they are searching for. Google simply doesn’t want to serve users websites that load slowly when there are plenty of relevant websites that load quickly.
5 Tips for Boosting Page Speed
If your page isn’t loading as fast as it might, here are five ways you can improve speed.
1. Minify code
Where possible, you should minify your code to make it as small as possible. This is something Google explicitly recommends.
2. Use file compression
3. Optimize your images
Images can have a big impact on how quickly your website loads. Large images in particular can really slow down your website. That’s why it’s important to use the right format of image (JPG for photos and PNG for graphics) and to compress those images as much as possible without reducing quality.
4. Make the most of PageSpeed Insights
This is a free tool from Google that calculates page load speeds and provides a report. You can use this report to work out what is slowing your page down and how to make it faster.
5. Set up AMPs
AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. This is another tool by Google that lets you create mobile-specific pages that load very, very fast.