The speed at which your web pages load will affect both user experience and your ranking in Google Search results. As a general rule, Google will reward sites with a better ranking if their provide a better experience to their visitors. It is therefore unsurprising that the speed the page loads at is a ranking factor. Your search engine ranking is not the only reason to be interested in page speeds with longer loading times proven to increase bounce rates. Whereas page speed was previously considered to be an influencing factor, we now know it to be a ranking factor in search results. It has been a factor for desktop searches since 2010.
Google have made tools such as PageSpeed Insights available to assess the loading time of web pages and to suggest ways to make them faster. We have also seen average page loading time data being included in Google Analytics so that website owners and SEO experts can measure this ranking factor. It is not only the loading time of your web pages for desktop users that need to be considered either. Google recently announced that page speed would also be used in mobile search ranking. This is accompanied by their research that shows that mobile landing pages take 15 seconds to load on average, which is significantly higher than the 3 seconds that people are generally prepared to wait.
While mobile Internet connections are getting faster, website owners still need to explore ways to improve their web page speed to enhance the experience of visitors and to improve their ranking in search engine results.
How to make your website load faster and improve your PageSpeed
- Use Google Analytics to identify pages with slow average loading times.
- Use PageSpeed Insights to measure the current performance and identify areas for improvement.
- Ensure you have a good web host. Dedicated hosting will be faster than shared hosting.
- Reduce the size of media used on your pages and server smaller resolutions to mobile devices.
- Use Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to serve up large files such as images and videos.
- Use compression to reduce the data transmitted between your web server and visitors.
- Use page and browser caching to improve page loading times.
- Minify code such as Java and CSS to reduce it’s size and improve loading times.