The Relationship Between Website Speed and Search Rankings
There are thousands if not hundreds of thousands of factors that Google will take into account when ranking SERPs. These factors are broadly divided into two. The first are factors that relate to the content on your website such as the body copy, h1 and other heading tags, titles, and headers among others. The second involves factors that determine the authenticity of your website such as the domain age, number of inbound links and social signals you have among others. When looking to increase website traffic and rankings, you really need to look into these factors.
In this article, we’ll try and understand why site speed is an important ranking factor and ways you can improve.
What is page load time?
In most cases, when we refer to page load time we mean the total amount of time it takes for a page to fully render. This means that the site must have fully loaded before you begin to interact with it. When a page fully renders it means that you can see all the images and download them as well as all the other elements on the page as you scroll through.
What affects page load time?
There are several factors that affect the page load time. One of the most common ones is the page size. If the page is too heavy, it will take a lot more time to fully render it. This is because the images, ads, third-party widgets and other elements like the fonts need to load. The image content on the page will also affect its speed. If the page has other distractive elements like flash players, pop up ads and live chat, it could take a much longer time to load. The golden rule is to think of the important elements that affect your customer journey and stick to that. Get rid of items that affect page load time and focus more on driving users to convert.
SEO and site speed
Slow loading pages won’t rank highly online because of two main reasons. For a start, they don’t give users a great browsing experience because someone has to wait for too long before interacting with the page. Secondly, slow loading pages have a high bounce rate because people click the back button when the page takes too long to fully render. Therefore, investing in site speed is a way to get better rankings and traffic.
How to make your web pages faster
There are numerous techniques that can be implemented to improve page load time and ultimately your search rankings. To begin with, you can make it a habit to compress all your image and video files before uploading them to your servers. Also, make sure you put the JS files at the top of the page so that they are rendered first before the rest of the content. Other techniques like avoiding slideshow banners unless it’s necessary and getting rid of images that are no longer in use on the site can help you lower page size and ultimately increase site traffic.