Don’t you just hate sitting around waiting for a page to load? Whether it’s too many ads, numerous images, or fancy fonts and graphics, pages that take ages to load aren’t worth the wait in 2022. But, when it comes to improving your own page’s speed, it can be difficult to figure out what’s wrong. How do you measure your page’s speed, for instance? How do you get your page to load faster? And what is page speed, anyway? In this article, we answer all these questions and more. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at how improving page speed boosts your SEO rankings:
What is page speed?
With so much jargon to learn in search engine optimisation, it can be hard to keep it all straight. So, it’s worth laying out what page speed refers to. Page speed is the time it takes to load the main content on a specific web page. You could confuse this term with site speed, the average loading time of any page on an entire site. But page speed is only the measurement of the speed of that particular page.
How is page speed measured?
Many things contribute to a page’s speed. Server speed is one, while image compression and file sizes are other significant factors. However, there are a few more important distinctions to make when we talk about page speed. For instance, there are many different ways to measure page speed.
One is Time to First Byte. Also known as TTFB, the time to first byte measures precisely that – how long a user waits until the page starts its loading process. This is when you might see a white background.
Then there’s the Fully Loaded Page. This one measures how long it takes the entire page content to load. Ads, font – you name it. It is everything that loads before that X turns back into the refresh symbol.
Our next metric is First Contextual Paint. Also known as First Meaningful Paint, this metric refers to how long it takes to boot up enough resources for the user to begin to see what’s there. For example, Comic Sans may be standing in for your gorgeous company font, and the images aren’t there yet, but the alt text and basic outline are there in the meantime.
This last one is the most important metric because it gives the clearest picture of how most users see your page. If you just rely on Fully Loaded Page, it may seem like a page takes 20 seconds to load (which is practically aeons post-dial-up!). But, if you look at its First Contextual Paint, you can see that users in rural areas or with a poor data connection (who may as well be using dial-up) get to see the same page in just a few seconds.
What does page speed mean for SEO?
If you want to rank well in searches, focus on boosting your website’s page speed. This is because page speed insights give an accurate picture of how your site will perform in search engine results.
Want to make it into that precious first page of Google search results? You need to rise to the ranks of the top 10-page speed results. After that, it’s a loading speed race!
Search engines covet page speed because it’s a great way to gauge a site’s quality and understand the user experience. Not only do sites with good page speed get blessed with a high rank, but when optimised, good page loading speed gets you more traffic from organic searches, ultimately leading to a more successful site.
How can I measure my page speed?
Now that we’ve explained how vital page and site speed are for good site ranking, you’re probably interested in putting your page through its paces. Rather than visiting all your pages and sitting around with a stopwatch, why not use one of these solutions?
One favoured online speed test is Google’s Test My Site. Based on mobile searches, just type your domain in, press enter, and within a few seconds, you’ll have a valuable detailed page speed report that will help you better understand your page’s performance.
How can I improve my page’s speed?
Now that you have a good idea of your page speed, it’s time to improve this performance if necessary. First, take a look at your page speed test results to find the areas that need the most attention. This data will then help you understand what you need to do.
Here are some common quick fixes to boost your page speed:
Compress your images
Large images are one of the most common offenders for poor page speed. Sure, we all want the pictures or diagrams on our sites to look the best. But when it comes to boosting your page speed, I’m sure reducing their size is a sacrifice you’re willing to make. Of course, you could always provide a larger option when the user clicks on the image when it is essential. But finding that balance is imperative.
Have a “bad connection” option
Some users just don’t have the connection quality they need to load your page the way it should be seen. So, why not offer a compression application that can automatically reduce the file sizes around your site for these scenarios? This is an easy way to make your site load quicker for those who need it and increase your ranking!
Check your code
It can be hard to spot, but you wouldn’t believe how many sites are slowed down by poorly-performing code! Whether it’s unnecessary spaces, difficult-to-parse commas, or other irrelevant characters, millions of websites are still overrun by these tough-to-spot issues. So be sure to valet your code to see if it can be optimised.
Whatever your website is for, there are some easy, simple ways to make it run more smoothly and work better.