A Faster Page means a better experience for Users & Better Search Results
Page speed isn’t the first thing webmasters think of when optimizing their site for Search Engines. However, Page Speed is naturally considered and tested while developing a site to enhance user experience and flow of data. Search Engines are known to put small degree of importance into how fast or slow your site loads for the average user (or crawler bot).
Since the beginning of Google; they have used a Desktop Crawler to scan websites and pages for content, meta, data, etc; as well as, record the data such as Page Speed, Crawl Rate, Crawl Depths, Page Speed, Payloads, Script Calls, etc. This is how this data is available to webmasters through a few of Google’s various Webmaster Tools such as the Search Console. There are many other 3rd party tools that can also help crawl your site for deliverable analytics on page speed and payloads. The purpose of said tools and data is to help Webmasters become aware of User experience and time they may have to wait to load content from the site. Having a long load time will result in High Bounce Rates, less visitors navigating the site and/or waiting, less repeat users, etc. For all intense purpose; you want a fast loading site for user experience, site functionality, as well, as being as Search Engine friendly as possible in 2019 and on into 2020.
Very soon, Google will be rolling out Mobile First Index / Mobile First Indexing. This will change the way they crawl websites and crawl sites on a mobile device functionality first due to the statistics around a higher number of mobile users searching the internet. This change shows that Google places a high degree on Mobile friendly and Responsive websites and will begin prioritizing Mobile Websites over non-responsive websites. Crawling webpages in a mobile browser device will allow Google to weed out the competition that doesn’t upgrade the user functionality and experience for Mobile Device users to comply with the latest etiquette in seo and web browsing. Therefore; you want you website to load fairly quickly on not only Desktop devices, but soon to be even more of a priority, for Mobile devices.
How Fast Should my Website Be?
Ideally, you want your website to load under 3 seconds.
Kissmetrics found that over 40 percent of people close a web page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. You will want to gain insights on user experience and speed of webpages while considering load time as an important part of creating a great seo report. Keep in mind that there’s a variation of user data that may factor in, but it’s apparent that if your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, you have a higher chance of a user bouncing.
You could make your site bare bones when it comes to scripting, styling, etc and prioritize mobile devices such as developing a primarily Google AMP site, completely void of any special effects, crazy fonts, and features. This would likely create a much faster site than the other end of the spectrum.
On the flip side, you implement high focus graphics, photo galleries, custom scripts and a customization of features, and your webpage takes over 3-4 seconds to load.
Quick loading sites can be great for News, article, and blog sites… but what about Agencies, Companies and Businesses? You need a happy medium and mix of features as well as consideration in mind when analyzing your Website Speed.
Load Faster than your Competitors Websites
- if your web page loads in 5 seconds, it is faster than 26% of the web
- if your web page loads in 3 seconds, it is faster than 51% of the web
- if your site web page in 1.8 seconds, it is faster than 74% of the web
- if your web page loads in 0.9 seconds, it is faster than 95% of the web
Websites are continuing to become faster and more efficient as technology and infrastructure advances. Some standards for webmasters continue to increase, but when considering SEO and how to become more SEO friendly, it’s good to have some focus on different Page Speed attributes.
Why do users Like a fast Page Speed on a Website?
Over 75% of users say that they are less dissatisfied when browsing a fast loading site, and will be consciously dissatisfied if the website is loading slower than their expectations.
Mobile Users want Instant Search Results
Over 65% of mobile users describe the expectation of have a site load in less than 3 seconds. Google also places an expectation on websites to provide quality content along with quality user experience, specifically soon on mobile devices. Almost 50% of customers in general, on all devices expect websites to load in under 2 seconds, below the current web page speed standard. This places a large expectation on webmasters and Companies to keep up to date with the latest Solutions to keeping their web site page speed quick and reducing any current problems they may have.
Quick Page Speed means more Conversions and Increased Revenue
For every second it takes to load a page, could mean 10% less or 10% more in visitors, repeat visitors, conversions, sales, and profit. Having a fast loading site guarantees that you won’t have a drop off from a slow user experience trying to navigate through your sales funnels. It all starts with page views, and having a slow site means not being SEO friendly, and will get less eyes on your search results and less users clicking through to your website. For every 1 second it takes for a web page to load, could be 10% less in user conversions. You don’t want a slow website, and you don’t want a high abandonment rate. It’s like standing in line for an amusement ride when watching another ride with a faster load time, wishing you were in the fast loading lane.
Check Your Website Page Speed Load Time
You’ll want to know how you measure up against competition, so it’s important to check how fast your web page loads on desktop and mobile devices. There are a variety of great online tools for webmasters to use for FREE to check various speed dynamics of their site. You can even run open source Google Page Speed Modules on your Apache or Nginx server to automatically rewrite and optimize resources to increase page speed on your web site. For every day webmasters, here are a few 3rd party Page Speed Analytics you can use to Test Your Page Speed:
Page Speed Testers:
Be sure to use a variety of online testing tools because you may see slight variances or differences among different analytics. If you dive into specific metrics and parameters these 3rd party PageSpeed tools use to analyze a website and provide a scoring metric, you will discover that they are more of guidelines than end-all solutions. By using a variety, you can be more accustomed to how fast your site takes to load, and what dynamics may be contributing large payloads or increase loading times for a user. With that knowledge, you will become more familiar with the structure of your site and servers, and be conscious of providing great user experiences by having an exceptionally fast website.
Page Speed Metrics and SEO Components
Content Metrics for Page Speed Scores
- Make Fewer HTTP Requests
- Simply resources or components of webpage
- Reduce DNS Lookups
- Avoid calling too many 3rd party hostnames
- Avoid Redirects
- Simplify any redirect chains or resolve/fix
- Make Ajax Cacheable
- Add an expires or cache-control header
- Postload Components
- Consider deferring all non-critical JS/CSS
- Preload Components
- Consider delivering Critical JS/CSS inline
- Reduce the Number of DOM Elements
- Consider elements of components
- Split Components Across Domains
- With use of subdomains
- Minimize Number of iframes
- Better yet, remove iframes entirely
- Avoid 404s
- Avoid broken links to 404 page errors
Server Metrics for Page Speed Scores
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- A CDN can reduce the payloads of your website
- Add Expires or Cache-Control Header
- Take advantage of browser and object caching
- Gzip Components
- GZIP minified / compressed versions of components
- Configure ETags
- Configure your ETags or remove them all together
- Flush Buffer Early
- Pre fetch components with Flush functionality
- Use GET for Ajax Requests
- GET only takes one TCP packet to send
- Avoid Empty Image src
- What is really interesting is that out of 35 different metrics on Page Speed ranking components, an Empty src code is the single largest contributing metric to Page speed on GTMetrics (weight of 30).
Cookies Metrics for Page Speed Scores
- Reduce Cookie Size
- if able
- Use Cookie-Free Domains for Components
- consider using a sub-domain
CSS Metrics for Page Speed Scores
- Put Stylesheets at Top
- Load styling at top of source code
- Avoid CSS Expressions
- evaluation is too rapid for expressions
- Choose <link> Over @import
- Avoid Filters
- too many browser functionality errors
- Put Scripts at Bottom
- defer non critical scripts to bottom of source code
- tricks and kicks deferring and in-lining components
- reduces wasted space and data size
- Remove Duplicate Scripts
- wasted space and payload
- Minimize DOM Access
- just maintain good markup and code
- Develop Smart Event Handlers
Images – Page Speed Scores
- Optimize Images
- Best done manually, reduce plugins that may conflict with other scripts
- Optimize CSS Sprites
- use common sense for front end
- Do Not Scale Images in HTML
- well, you want to scale, with the closest possible size
- Make favicon.ico Small and Cacheable
- small pics can get even smaller and that’s primarily the theme here with optimizing your website to enhance page speed, and seo rankings.
Mobile – Page Speed Scores
- Keep Components Under 25 KB
- Pack Components Into a Multipart Document
It’s also important to note that each one of these 3rd party analytics tools will place different varying degrees of weight (since google will not confirm their secret page speed juice rankings) on different page speed metrics. Some analytical tools will place larger weights on some metrics vs others, providing different overall scores matrix’s based on how your site performs on those largest weighing metrics, if that makes sense. YSlow for example, places the largest weight on whether your website contains empty src or href coding. Take scores with a grain of Salt, and focus on specifics and metrics that maybe contributing to different areas of concern to fix with a solution.
Loading Time Affects Your Bottom Line for SEO
It does NOT takes years of study and application to become an expert on site speed, which is why web design and hosting companies exist… do deceive most people that do not have the will to STUDY on seo best practice and page speed optimization etiquette. Don’t fall for agencies that wave a pole around screaming for budget then throw the campaigns down their hierarchy staircase to hourly interns learning on the go. At Brandets, we climb stairs daily and are the unicorns that get things done down to each granular level and thought. We are all experts, but we are the experts that manually get our hands dirty doing the work. Everything can be learned rather easily, but it needs to be implemented, precisely.