Page Load Speed – A Critical SEO Factor to Consider

 

How does your website compare to the average page load speed? You don’t know? Well, you need to find out. Page load speed is a critical factor that impacts your website in more ways than one. Not only does it impact the experience users have but it has an influence on your search engine ranking too.

According to statistics that were published by Google at the start of the year, 53 per cent of people have indicated they will leave a mobile page if it takes more than three seconds to load.

In the same report, Google revealed the following regarding page load speed and its relationship with bounce rates.

If your page load time went from one-second to three seconds, it is likely that your bounce rate would increase by 32 percent.

If your page load time went from one-second to five seconds, it is likely that your bounce rate would increase by 90 percent.

If your page load time went from one-second to six seconds, it is likely that your bounce rate would increase by 106 percent.

If your page load time went from one-second to 10 seconds, it is likely that your bounce rate would increase by 123 percent.

If Google cares about your website’s speed, you should too. If your users care about your website’s speed, you should too. It is as simple as that.

A slow website is a website that will frustrate users and it will rank poorly. Gone are the days whereby SEO was just about content and backlinks. Yes, both elements are still very much important but user experience is critical too.

The many ways you can speed up your website.

The good news is that there are many different ways you can speed up your website. If you currently feel that page load speed is holding you back, here are some of the different things you can do about it…

    • Work on reducing round trip times (RTTs) – This is a term that is used to describe the amount of time it takes the client to send a request and the server respond to it. There are many elements that impact this. However, the primary one is the number of requests that are sent. So, how do you do this? A good place to start is by using CSS sprites to call less images, combine, and minify your CSS and JS files.
    • Compress your images – You can use a plugin like WP Smush.it to compress your images automatically. The size of your images will be reduced without losing quality.
    • Change your web host provider – Your web host provider plays a huge role when it comes to the performance of your website. A lot of people make the mistake of simply going for the first or cheapest host they can find. This is a big mistake to make. You need a web host that is fast, secure, reliable, and offers guaranteed uptime. Here is an example of all of the different factors that come together to create a fast and reliable host. No matter what company you choose, extensive research and careful consideration are necessary.
    • Switch off all plugins you don’t use – If you have a WordPress site, you can pretty much be certain that plugins are slowing you down. Turn off the ones you don’t use.
    • Specify image dimensions – Before your webpage is displayed, the browser needs to determine how to place your content around the images you are using. Your webpage takes longer to load if you have not specified image dimensions, as it makes the browser work to figure this out.
    • Use static HTML over PHP when possible – PHP is excellent for reducing the need to enter the same information again and again, as well as making your website as efficient as possible. Nevertheless, you will use up a considerable amount of server resource if you call information through PHP. This is why it is advisable to replace it with static HTML when possible.
    • Reduce your redirects – You need to make a continual effort to reduce the amount of redirects on your website. Of course, it is better to have permanent 301 redirects over broken links / 404 errors. But it is even better if you can eliminate both entirely.
    • Fix all broken links – While we are on the subject of link issues, broken links are a big problem. They are a massive drain on bandwidth. Plus, they are one of the main reasons for a high bounce rate.
    • Use Gzip to compress your website – Compressing your files into a zip file using Gzip will speed up page load times and save bandwidth.
    • Use a caching plugin – Another good plugin to have if you use WordPress is a caching plugin. WP Super Cache and WP Total Cache are good options. Both will easily and quickly cut your page load speed.
    • Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) – Finally, using a CDN is a must! This can halve the number of requests your site makes as well as saving you up to as much as 60 per cent bandwidth!

     

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding regarding the importance of your website’s load speed. Not only does this have an impact on the experience your site provides but also your search engine ranking.

Follow the suggestions that have been presented, and you should notice a considerable difference with regards to how your website ranks. Plus, your bounce rate should decrease significantly in the process too! This, in turn, will boost your search engine ranking further. It’s a snowball effect, and a very good one if you get it right.

 

Author:  Jann Chambers

UK Web Host Review

 

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