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Page Speed & SEO Performance: Why Google Cares
Long gone are the days when SEO used to be a numbers game, get as much relevant content and keywords on your webpages as possible then watch as the traffic gradually increased. Smarter algorithms created by Google and other search engines rapidly increased the relevance of search results, turning Search engine optimisation into a skilled discipline. Quality and domain authority replaced quantity. Now however there’s further considerations than content and backlinks. Page Speed is now an increasingly major contributor to SEO ranking and, with good reason, this trend is likely to continue.
What is page speed?
In a nutshell page speed is Google’s way of measuring the speed at which your website loads. It measures this over desktop and mobile giving you a separate score out of 100 for each. Google measures the speed against various data connections that would apply in the real world, such as 4G mobile connections. It then gives you a list of a metrics such as “First Contentful Paint” and “Time to Interactive” these give you a rough idea of how your site performs on average according to Google. It also gives you a list of things that could be improved on the site.
Why is page speed important?
While some may view Google’s criteria as irrelevant for their particular user base, for example you might exclusively cater to people viewing on desktop with fast internet connections, page speed is important simply because it is Google’s criteria. The main aim of pretty much any public facing website is to increase awareness for the brand or service it provides. To do so effectively, without paying thousands for clicks means getting a good ranking on Google. As page speed plays a pivotal role in SEO performance it has become an essential part of a successful SEO strategy.
What are the most common page speed issues?
Problems stem from several different inefficiencies across the webpage, from poorly formatted media (Images and videos) to unrequired code slowing down your page loading times. Chances are that you’ll see some of these common errors when you run your site through the page speed insights tool. For more information about the most common issues and how to fix them read our previous blog on the topic here: How to Fix the 4 Most Common Google Page Speed Problems.
Why does Google care?
Well, that’s simple! One of the major facts dictating the bounce rate of a website is how fast it loads. There are various metrics and stats surrounding this subject but generally it’s not uncommon to hear that 50% of people will leave a website if it fails to load within 5 seconds. So, a slow site has more people “bouncing” off it. Google detects this when users click on one of their search engine links and immediately comes back to the search results. Google doesn’t like this as it wants to be constantly serving people with the most relevant and engaging content it can, because this in turn means people come back to Google as a reliable source for finding what they are looking for.
How do you improve page speed?
This one’s not so simple unfortunately. If you read the previous blog, we referenced above then that can give you an idea of what do for the most common issues however, generally there’s a lot a variables involved in page speed and web design more broadly. So sadly, we can’t provide a one size fits all solution for you here. But you should start by checking a few pages on the page speed insights tool. Make sure to check your homepage and then some of the other most visited pages (you can check your most visited pages on Google Analytics). Depending on your experience and resources at your disposal then you might be able to sort many of the issues yourself however if you need a hand feel free to contact us today for any SEO and web development services.
We’re currently in the midst of another dreaded Google Core Update. But what does that mean? What should you be doing to protect your Google rankings? And should you be worried?
We look over the most common issues with Google Page Speed and how you can fix them to optimise your site and your SEO rankings.