There are over 200 ranking factors in Google’s algorithm and page speed is one of them. Page speed as a ranking factor isn’t theoretical, it’s one of the signals openly discussed on the Google Webmaster Central Blog.
Not only is it a ranking signal, but it has been for almost a decade. In the last 10 years, Google has refined and updated its algorithm and even moved to a mobile-first index. With the move to a mobile-first index, speed became even more important and recently (July of 2018) Google launched a speed update.
Why is this important?
It’s important because many digital marketers and business owners are only focusing on creating new content or building new links when it comes to search engine optimization. But, if your website is painstakingly slow, the chances of ranking high on Google are slim to none. Why? Because Google really cares about facilitating a great user experience.
So, if you want to improve rankings and website conversions, page speed is something you should focus on and revisit at least once a year.
Here are some things you should know about page speed and how to make your website load faster.
Check your page speed with Google Page Insights
Google has a special tool called PageSpeed Insights that will give you a page speed score and let you know if your page speed has good, bad or average speed compared to other pages.
PageSpeed Insights will also give you some diagnostic information to improve your load times and optimization that can speed up your page load times.
Page speed impacts conversions
Page speed isn’t just about ranking on Google or even delivering a good user experience. At the end of the day, every business that puts a website online wants new customers.
In an article, Neil Patel the co-founder of Crazy Egg and KiSSmetrics explains how a slower website negatively impacts page speed. He are some of Neil’s findings:
- A 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
- 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less
- If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1-second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year.
Images that are not optimized can really slow down the page. Images usually are responsible for the most downloaded bytes on a page, so compressing or completely removing images (when necessary) can really yield some positive differences.
There isn’t a magic size you can reduce all your images and still maintain the quality and perfectly optimize the page load speed. But there is a balance that can be found with the optimization work and analysis.
Clean code makes a difference
Google provides resources to help with that too.
Choose the right hosting
Most people are looking for the cheapest hosting available which is usually shared hosting. As we have discussed before shared hosting is a great option for many businesses and creatives online.
But if your website is resource intensive or it receives a lot of traffic, VPS hosting or a dedicated server may be a better solution for you. You don’t want your hosting to be the bottleneck for your page load time.
If you are interested in learning more about the differences in hosting, check out our shared hosting guide. Check out Lunarpages all-inclusive web hosting plans, if you need hosting or would like a faster solution.
Make your website load faster
Page speed is critical and should not be overlooked if you want to rank your web pages high and convert the traffic to customers. There are tools that can help developers and webmaster identify issues and opportunities, but the optimal page load speed will only come after some analysis and optimization.