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How does page speed impact SEO, Does this affect website ranking?

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Many people don’t pay attention to page speed; in fact, majority give up page speed to accommodate better aesthetic design, add more content to web pages, or add new nifty functionality to websites. Meanwhile, research has shown that page speed is apparently not only an essential part of a website’s user experience, but that it is also an important factor when it comes to search engine ranking.

Page speed is the time it takes for a website to fully load all of its functionality on a browser. The average website visitor only waits for an average of 6 seconds for a website after which they leave for other sites. So, what does this mean? It means that page speed affects user experience.

Even though page speed is just one of the metrics that search engines like Google use to index web pages, it is one of the important metrics. Search engines have limited time to crawl web pages, meaning search engines will more readily bypass a site with a low page speed. As said earlier, website visitors barely have 6 seconds on average to wait for a website to load after which they bounce. That’s a clear indication that website visitors don’t like slow pages. For search engines, performance and better results are signs of a healthy website that pleases customers, and since search engines are always seeking to improve the customer’s experience, they will more readily give higher ranking to sites that are at the forefront of improving customer experience.

There are many things that can lower your page speed, these include the following:

>> Too large images: having heavy images on a website can drastically reduce page speed of the website. The solution to this is to use PNG for images that do not require high details such as logos and use JPG for other photos. Another way to tackle this is to make sure that the images on your website are responsive. This means making sure that every image is suitably resized according to where it has to be displayed.

>> Web host: most web hosts especially the really cheap packages affect page speed drastically. The solution to this is to pick the right hosting package that fit the size of your business.

>> External embedded media: especially videos can lower page speed. If these media content are hosted externally, your site would have to first fetch those content before rendering it on your website. The time that all these would take can add up to slow your page speed. It is best to host these videos and other media on your own server.

>> Un-optimized browser, plugins, and apps: Some browser functionalities can affect page speed, as they make websites to be loaded differently. Apps like Flash can seriously lower your page speed.

>> Your theme: If you are using a theme for your site then you should beware of those heavily designed ones that usually contain a lot of effects, as those heavy effects can lower your page speed.

>> Too many ads: Having too many ads on a page lowers page speed, not forgetting that it also distracts and irritates page visitors.

>> Heavy code: If your code especially JavaScript is too dense or not too efficient, it will lower your page speed.

>> Widgets: Some comment areas and social buttons can have an impact on your page speed.

How to analyze your page speed

If you have a way of analyzing your page speed, then it would be easy for you to optimize it. Below are the best tools when it comes to analyzing page speed and overall website performance.

A: Web page test

Web page test tool allows you to test your website from different locations and browsers. All you have to do it to type in your website URL,  and then pick a location from where you want to load your website. You can also choose the browser that you want to test the speed of your website on. This would allow you to check and optimize how your website loads from different location and different browsers.

B: Page speed insights

Page speed insights is a free tool from Google that gives you insights on the elements that are slowing your page speed. From heavy images to plugins, to browser caching, to bad CSS to heavy JavaScript, Pagespeed Insights analyzes most important factors that can slow your page speed for both mobile and desktop.

C: Pingdom Website Speed Test

Pingdom Website Speed Test tool uses a graph to show you the exact files that are slowing the general performance of your page. In addition to that, you can test the performance of your website from different locations so as to optimize its performance for different locations.

D: OnCrawl

OnCrawl  tool helps you to analyze the speed of your website where you would get a clear view of your load time performances by page depth, your weight distribution and see in details the particular URLs that are lowering your load time so you could do something about them. This tool is not free, although they offer a 30 days trial.

E: GTMETRIX

The basic version of GTMETRIX is free and allows you to determine the performance of your website. It uses a combination of Yslow and Google Pagespeed Insights to generate scores and recommendations for a website. These scores are rendered in a graph so you can quickly view and analyze the factors lowering your website’s performance. Like the other tools talked about above, you can choose the location from where you want to run your test. Analysis factors like location is actually very important as it relates to where your website is actually hosted. The tools currently allow you to run tests from many locations including

  • London, UK
  • Hong Kong, China
  • Dallas, USA
  • Vancouver, Canada
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Mumbai, India

In all, page speed is crucial; it is one of the factors that search engines use to rank sites. Besides, your customers will never come flocking if they have to wait forever for your page to load. You have to keep working on your page speed. Let working on it be a continuous thing for you. Use the tools above to frequently analyze the overall performance of your website and work towards improving it.

Connect with us for Free consultation on how to optimize your website and make it load fast..


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