Combined with many other factors, it’s now well known that Google considers page speed to determine page rank. To what degree a slow-loading page will affect your website in the SERPs is still unknown, however, experts agree it is well worth ensuring things are as speedy as can be to safeguard precious rankings.
Technical SEO – equally as important as on-page
Ben Tullett is an SEO consultant working with Creative Blend and is keen for companies to take their ‘technical SEO’ as seriously as the on-page copy and optimisation, explaining;
‘Google has announced publicly that it uses page download speed as a ranking factor in its search engine algorithms, e.g. server response time, image sizes and browser rendering speed. Whilst in practice the effectiveness of this change is difficult to determine, as slow, badly coded sites can still be the best resource for a query and rank highly, however, if all else is equal it’s important that page speed improvements are explored and fixed where possible.’
Web Wizards, Moz recently reported that ‘people don’t have the patience to wait more than five seconds for a page to load.’ Google also released data in 2016 showing that ‘53% of mobile site visitors will abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load’, plainly translating that keeping people waiting means losing potential customers. Scary stuff.
Determine your Page Speed Insights
To kick things off it’s worth heading over to Google’s handy PageSpeed Insights tool to see how your URL scores. Once you have a benchmark in place (websites are scored out of 100) it’s time to begin making the recommended fixes that come up. These range from technical changes that must be made by a developer, but others are easily fixed by working in the CMS. An easy fix to speed things up is to ensure all images are resized to the dimensions you wish them to show as and compress them using a free tool such as Compressor.io and TinyPNG. Both programs can compress images by up to 80% without losing image quality and can make a huge impact on the page loading speed.
Be aware of third party website add-ons
By loading items from third-party websites such as video player embeds, advertisements, social sharing buttons and even Google Analytics code you could unwittingly be slowing down page speed due to having no control over their server loading time. Google spoke out about using assets from other websites, warning ‘third-party scripts also come with many risks that should be taken into consideration to minimise their impact while still providing value.’ Of course, it would be difficult to cease using all the above tools but it’s worth checking through and working out what is needed and what could be removed for quicker loading time.
If you’re concerned about any aspect of your SEO or would like advice about your page speed insights please get in touch!