Have you ever noticed how quickly Google displays your search results? Yes, it’s always incredibly fast because the largest search engine truly believes in the importance of user experience.
Why is that so?
According to the research, almost half of website visitors expect your page to load in less than two seconds. Another study revealed that the 1-second delay in load time means 11% loss of page views. In such circumstances, page load time obviously becomes a crucial factor of website credibility.
But there is another important question to answer here: How load speed affects your Google ranking? In this post, we will show you how Google deals with slow websites and what to do to improve your site’s status.
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Google Speed Update
Speed has been an important search ranking factor for almost a decade now. However, Google used this indicator mainly for desktop searches and didn’t really pay attention to mobile browsing – at least not until recently.
Earlier this year, Google Webmaster Central Blog published a post entitled Using page speed in mobile search ranking, announcing that page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches as of July 2018.
Here’s what they said: “The Speed Update, as we’re calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page”.
The search engine giant encouraged developers to “think broadly about how performance affects a user’s experience of their page and to consider a variety of user experience metrics”. In other words, Google told webmasters to improve page load speed or else they are going to face a significant downfall in search ranking.
Given the fact that Google holds more than 90% of the entire search engine market share, we strongly recommend you to fulfill its expectations and invest in advancements that will make your website faster and more efficient.
Test website page load time
Before you start working on website improvements, you need to test pageload timing. Bearing in mind the stats we mentioned above, your goal should be to get pageload time below 3 seconds. Anything above that will minimize your chances to rank high in Google searches.
The easiest way to test your website is by using online tools. There are dozens of options out there, so we decided to cut the long story short and show you our top 3 solutions:
Google PageSpeed Insights
PageSpeed Insights reports on the real-world performance of a page for mobile and desktop devices and provides suggestions on how that page may be improved. You only need to enter a webpage URL to get the results. You will see two types of indicators called speed and optimization scores.
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Website speed can be Fast, Average, or Slow, while optimization may range from 0 to 100 points. Besides that, Google PageSpeed Insights will give you optimization suggestions. For instance, it could suggest you optimize images and leverage browser caching.
Pingdom is a page speed monitoring solution that analyzes multiple performance indicators. It can give you all pageload-related data in less than a minute including performance grade, page size, load time, and many other features.
Similar to Google PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix gives you a report on how well your site loads and provides actionable recommendations on how to optimize it. This tool shows you page load details such as time, size, and the number of requests.
Besides the overall speed score, GTmetrix also indicates how well you are doing compared to other websites. Another thing that makes this tool so useful is the fact that it creates a list of actionable recommendations, prioritized by how much they affect your page speed.
How to improve page load speed
You’ve probably figured out by now that dozens of different factors influence the overall page load speed. This makes optimization process much more complicated, but we can highlight the most important actions you should take in this field:
Enable browser caching:
When someone visits your website for the first time, all elements are stored in a temporary storage. If you enable storing in the user’s cache, only a few more components require downloading next time they visit your page.
Reduce image size:
Images are usually large files that slow down page speed. If you reduce them, you will probably minimize page load times.
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Choose the right hosting option:
Don’t save money by selecting the shared hosting option if you run a serious business. Instead, find a reliable hosting option such as VPS or dedicated server.
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Run a compression audit:
One more way to enhance website performance is through lazy loading. The procedure allows you to load the top of the page faster than the rest of the page. It improves user experience because visitors immediately see the upper parts of your webpage, while others get more time for additional loading.
You may also like: 7 Tips to Speed up Your WordPress Blog
Google’s search engine algorithm has always been perplexing and mysterious. It consists of numerous factors that strongly impact website search ranking, but no one can be 100% sure about them all. However, we do know that page load speed is becoming increasingly important because it’s a new ranking component for mobile searches as of July 2018.
If you want to ensure a more efficient online performance, you must follow new requirements and adapt website according to Google’s criteria. This post showed you how Google deals with slow websites and what to do to improve your site’s status. Our tips will make your website run faster, so don’t be afraid of giving them a try immediately!
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