DELIVER BETTER EXPERIENCES
Page Speed Load Time and Why It Matters for SEO
Guest post by Amanda DiSilvestro, Online Content Manager and writer at HigherVisibility.
Most businesses know that page speed load time is important because it helps make sure that visitors don’t get impatient and then click off the page to another website. A long wait is annoying, so you want your speed to be quick enough to keep people engaged. However, what many companies don’t always take into account is what page speed load time has to do with SEO. If you want to rank well and reap all of the benefits of a page 1 ranking on Google, having a fast load time for all of your webpages is crucial.
Different Ways to Test and Improve Your Page Speed Load Time
Once again, one of the biggest problems for companies is that they focus so much on SEO, building relationships, and creating engaging content that after a while they forget to check the load time of their pages. Even worse, sometimes pages will load at an OK speed for some people or some browsers, but not others. This makes testing your load time incredibly important. In fact, it is recommended you check your page speeds at least twice per year.
Step #1: Tools to Use. You need to first be able to determine what might be slowing down your pages or if your pages are even slow in the first place. Tools are a great place to start.
Tweet this: What tools do you use to determine your page speed load time? #SiteSpeed #SEO @ADiSilvestro @highervis
Google PageSpeed Insights
This is probably my favorite tool because it’s so easy to use, and it’s powered by Google, so you know you’re getting advice straight from the horses mouth. All you have to do is visit the tool and type in your URL. Results will then pop up and will tell you everything you could possible want to know about your speed and what might be slowing it down. It offers a desktop and a mobile report and breaks up its information into three categories: Should Fix, Consider Fixing, and Passed Rules. You can then click on a link to see what you need to do to make changes. For many companies, this is all you’ll need to do to be on your way.
Step #2: Things to Check. Once you’ve identified some of the issues above, it comes time to actually fix the issues. Below are a few things to check and fix to move you in the right direction.
Make sure your images are optimized.
This is the biggest factor when it comes to page speed load time. If your images are too large or taking up too much space, they’re going to slow everything down. Images, however, are almost necessary if a website wants to keep up with the competition, and the increased use of video and infographics is only becoming more popular, so optimization is crucial. There are a few different things to keep in mind when optimizing:
- Always use the correct type of image. .gif, .jpg, or .png are best.
- Adjust your image displays, or size them, so that they don’t slow down your pages. This doesn’t necessarily just mean making your images smaller, but using the correct resolution and pixel sizes. Ideally, you want your images to be around 325X550 pixels.
- You can use a plugin like Smush.it to compress your images so they are a good size and have a good pixel count without having to do much work on your own.
Tweet this: What is the no. 1 issue when it comes to page speed load time? Optimized images! #SEO @ADiSilvestro @highervis
Compress all of your files.
Going along with the last point, you can compress all of your files (not just images) to make things run faster. This will help your files take up less space and reduce the size of the HTTP response (which will then reduce response time). I recommend using Gzip, which you can download here, so that your files are automatically compressed as ZIP files. This helps cut down the coding without you having to do anything on your own.
Check all of your plugins.
After a long period of time websites will likely download and install a lot of different plugins. Sometimes the plugins are essential and other times it was just something you tried and then forgot about or turned off. Unfortunately, having too many plugins can be a big reason that your load time is so slow. I recommend using the P3 tool to check to see how much space all of your plugins are using and then decide from there which plugins you can delete or what you can do to fix the issue. In some cases, such as social sharing plugins, you can embed them into the theme’s source code to solve the problem.
Turn off your pingbacks and trackbacks.
This is an easy fix that I like to tell people won’t make too much of a difference, but it could be all you need to get you to your goal load time (2-3 seconds is ideal!). WordPress uses both pingbacks and trackbacks to tell you if someone linked to your blog. This could be beneficial to some, but if you find that you never pay attention to these little signals, simply disable them under the “Discussion” tab on WordPress.
So What Does It Have to Do With SEO?
Once again, your load time will also affect your SEO because it is a ranking factor regarding usability. Google wants pages to be easy to use for their users, and load time is a huge part of that; thus making page speed load time a big ranking factor when talking about SEO.
Tweet this: What does page speed load time have to do with #SEO? Usability is a ranking factor! @ADiSilvestro @highervis
Do you have any tricks when it comes to improving the load time of webpages? Let us know your thoughts and your story in the comment section below.
Photo Credit: Jonel Hanopol
Page Speed Tool
This tool comes from Internet Marketing Ninjas and works similarly to the tool above. Type in your URL and then take a look at a report that shows you all about your load time under different circumstances—different Internet connections, different browsers, different locations, etc. In other words, it’s a pretty advanced tool. It will also analyze different parts of your website so that you know what exactly is loading on the page and what isn’t (for example, if the content loads but the images haven’t yet). This tool is actually undergoing maintenance at the moment, but it’s one to keep your eye on in the coming weeks!
When it doubt, Google Analytics will be able to show you just about anything you want to know about your website. Go to the Behavior section of your account and then click Site Speed and then on Page Timings to see how each specific page is loading in one nice GA report.
AMANDA DISILVESTRO Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for the nationally recognized SEO firm HigherVisibility.com that offers online marketing services to a wide range of companies across the country.
Google Search Console: 5 reasons every marketer should use it
5 Signs your site makes a bad first impression
Actionable marketing advice, delivered weekly.
Join thousands of subscribers who get our best content first.
No charge. Unsubscribe anytime.
DELIVER BETTER CONTENT EXPERIENCES
MADE WITH READZ
DELIVER BETTER CONTENT EXPERIENCES
DESIGN THE WAY YOUR BUSINESS GROWS
Drag-and-drop content creation, integrated marketing tools and performance analytics, all in one platform.
TRUSTED BY SOME OF THE WORLD’S SMARTEST COMPANIES
TALK TO US