The do’s and don’ts of page speed & why it matters
Imagine you have just ordered a pizza for home delivery, and the delivery guy takes over an hour to turn up. Not only is this incredibly irritating but you also know fairly well that you will think twice about reaching out to the same company in the future.
Just like everyday life, page speed has a pivotal role to play in user experience and putting it on the back burner, can have dire consequences on your business.
Why is page speed so important?
Put yourself in our shoes. If you land on a website that is super slow, you will get out of there fast. Currently, users don’t have the patience to wait on a page to load up and competition for the users’ attention is rife.
After all, if Google notices that your users are leaving your site right away, your bounce rate will increase, and your rankings will drop. What is the point of working on your SEO strategy when you cannot provide an optimal user experience?
In this modern digital age, Page Speed is the number one key factor that fuels traffic in a content-driven world. In fact, Google Analytics also lists statistics such as page Load Time and Page Size, so you know that Big Brother is keeping an eye on this important data.
The days when websites were about keyword stuffing in a bid to rank higher on Google are long gone. Instead, Google has advanced in years to become a highly prolific intelligent beast. Don’t get us wrong. It is still important that you use keywords that sound natural within sentences, but Google is also giving prominent importance to the overall user experience.
Google’s mission is ultimately to reward by pushing high quality websites as far up as possible in search results and folks, page speed is one of those metrics that will affect search rankings.
You might be wondering if Page Speed really makes a difference and if it’s worth prioritising. The obvious answer is “YES” for the following reasons:
How many times have you abandoned a page when it takes too long to load? Well, chances are that your readers or clients will be doing the same thing. People want fast service and information, and if they don’t get it, they will move onto the next one. Additionally, with the emergence of new markets such as mobile consumption, making your mobile site speedy and responsive is just as important.
Bottom line is enhancing your Page Speed will allow your users to engage with your content better, and ultimately lead to increased conversions.
Another key benefit of Page Speed is the impact is has on your rankings. The more optimised your page is, the better your rankings will be. It doesn’t mean that if your page is fast, you’re guaranteed to shoot up to the first page, but it will surely give you a push in the right direction.
That being said, increased page speed also means that there will be advancements in the number of pages that Google can crawl and index. There’s an added benefit to this. It also means that the more pages you have indexed, the higher the opportunity of having individual pages rank.
AdWords Quality Score
Not many people know this, but an improved Page Speed can have a direct impact to your Quality Score. Even though you are more likely to get conversions with a faster loading page, Google thinks Page Speed is the number one key factor of the landing page experience.
The better your page performs, the higher the Quality Score will be. Also remember that the Quality Scores boosts your CPC, meaning that it will also lower your advertising costs effectively.
What are some common mistakes webmasters make?
Let’s list a few:
- Big images: You need to optimise your images and make sure that they are not huge files. Remember, these images are not going for print, so they need to be smaller jpeg-sized pictures. Some marketers claim that having text on images distracts the user experience, but we don’t quite see anything wrong with it.
- Web fonts: Sure, they are great way to boost your web design, but if they are not legible, users will find it hard to read. Even worse, web fonts are render-blocking especially if they are not optimised and will slow down your site.
- 404s: One of the most common mistakes that webmasters make is not keeping their website site tidy. Common errors such as 404s should be monitored on a regular basis and fixed as soon as possible as otherwise, Google will punish you.
- Coding: Bad coding practices, Web server response time, Database response time and Networking issues
Traditionally, most website owners tend to focus on specific key areas when it comes to the development of a website, namely functionality, design and user journey.
Page speed is a make or break deal for a user. If a user ends on your website and discovers it is lagging, your bounce rate will without a doubt soar. You might think there is something wrong with your SEO but in reality, website owners don’t take into consideration the user experience.
How does Root Codex measure Page Speed?
There are numerous free tools that can measure your overall page speed. Here’s a small sample:
- Google Analytics
- Web browser (developer toolbar)
- Browser extensions or add-ons such as PageSpeed or YSlow
- Google PageSpeed Insights
Some of the above tools (developer toolbar) tell you how much time it took for every page and asset to load (by assets, we mean images or videos); whilst others (PageSpeed extension) give you suggestions on the areas you should work on to improve.
Overall, this article was meant to give you a brief overview of the importance of page speed, the effects of this important metric and how speed is important in a bid to rank higher.
Keep following out insights as we will keep on publishing tips and tricks on how to boost the page speed of your website.
If you have a topic to suggest or any feedback, feel free to get in touch by sending an email us on firstname.lastname@example.org