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Why is page speed so important?

Guide
by Kishan Kotecha Agency Partnership Manager

You don’t have to spend too long among web developers and SEO specialists before you’ll hear them mentioning page speed. It’s one of the most important factors in your online presence, so getting it right (as low as possible) should be among your primary aims, especially if your site is suffering from low ranking and high bounce rates. Let’s take a quick look at what it is and why it’s so important.

What is page speed?

Page speed is, essentially, how quickly a web page loads in ideal circumstances. Downloading a page is mixture of raw data and processing power. All the data has to be streamed along the cables, fibre or wireless signal, and then the way it is displayed on the screen has to be calculated by the browser and the device’s processor. Anything that can reduce the amount of data and/or make the rendering more straightforward will inevitably speed up page loading.

In addition, if the server on which your site is hosted is busy, you can find your load speeds are dramatically reduced. Generally, the less you pay, and the more other sites you share your site with, and the slower your site will be. If your site is particularly popular, it might also be slow to download. There are technical solutions to this problem, such as cloud hosting or ensuring you have a good hosting package with minimal sharing.

However, there’s a third factor, over which you have no control: individuals’ connection speeds. Not everyone has super-fast broadband and 4G or 5G mobile connectivity. Keeping everything light will ensure everyone will get better speeds.

How it affects users

Page speed is a critical factor in the user experience. The faster a page loads, the quicker users can start to interact with it, and the less likely they are to hit the back button. A slow page might not give a bad user experience because it might give no experience at all.

Obviously, it’s not always possible to make pages lean. There are tricks that can help, such as front-loading content, which means only loading what is visible on screen and a little below, so as users scroll down, they see content. Ensuring content loads in the right order is essential here.

How it affects search performance

Although Google keeps its search algorithms secret, it seems highly likely that page loading speed plays a big part in search ranking. After all, they want people to trust that their results give good quality pages, and slow pages are not a signal of good quality. So in a nutshell, if two sites are identical in every way except load speed, the quickest will probably show higher in the rankings.

Speeding up your page

There are dozens of ways to speed up your pages, some technical, others simple. Some low-hanging fruit includes:

  • Getting better hosting
  • Optimising images and movies
  • Minimising the number of plugins
  • Reducing the number of referrals your site makes to other sites
  • Using compression and caching

We can help you to speed up your page and delight your visitors and the search engines. Or we can build you a brand new, optimised site from scratch. Just drop us a line and ask about our web development services.