In 2021, Google will start using the overall user/page experience as a ranking factor. How easy your page is to navigate on mobile devices, the page content, how quickly the page loads and whether the content jumps around while it loads are all things Google will use to determine a good or bad experience. If the page is seen as having a poor experience, Google may not rank it as high as it does now.
Page speed is important from both a user and SEO perspective. “Google and other search engines use site speed and usability as a factor for how high your web page appears in search results,” says Ben Hardt, Director, Digital Strategy and Operations, TruStar Marketing. “So, the faster your page loads, especially on mobile devices, the more Google likes your site. While that is just one piece of the pie when Google assesses your site for SEO ranking, it is a big part.”
COMMON PAGE SPEED PROBLEMS TO FIX NOW
There are several common problems that will affect the load time of a particular page, and it can start with the server your site is hosted on or the coding used to build your site. “The most common ones we see are Squarespace and pre-built WordPress theme that contain a lot of extra code in order to be a jack of all trades,” continues Hardt. “Having a well-coded site can make a major difference, especially in a mobile-first world.”
Images can cause big issues for page speed if they’re taking up a lot of space on your server. “This happens most often when a user uploads a stock photo or photo they’ve taken directly to the site,” says Hardt. “The best thing to do is take the image through an optimization process to reduce storage and actual size. That way the image is actually a lot smaller but still looks great on the site itself. It will transfer much quicker to your mobile device, which Google will recognize and reward your site for with a higher ranking.”
Increasing your page speed by just the slightest amount can improve your rankings and the experience for anyone who ends up there. “All the websites we build for clients use these best practices to create a fast, mobile-friendly site right out of the gate,” says Hardt.
Other recommendations to follow are:
- Enable compression to reduce the size of your files that are bigger than 150 bytes.
- Minify your codes. You’ll be surprised how removing unnecessary characters, spaces or commas can improve your page speed.
- Reduce the number of redirects you have on a page – too many can cause a slow-loading time.
- The amount of traffic that ends up on your site can affect your server response time – so, look for bottlenecks in your site’s routing or memory to improve it.
You can always test your page to see how fast it loads, it’s easy to do with Page Speed Insights by Google. (https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/)