Page Load Speed. How To Optimize For Google Speed Test And SEO In 2019?
Having a fast loading site is crucial these days. It is a considered a very strong ranking signal by search engines and with Google recommendations for a page load speed to be 2 seconds or less, this something we cannot avoid.
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Having a fast loading site is crucial. It is considered a very strong ranking signal by search engines and with Google recommendations for a page load speed of 2 seconds or less, this is something we cannot ignore.
For a while now, we all have learned, there is a direct correlation between page speed and visitor retention and bounce rate. Customer retention means revenues. Page load speed is considered one of the major ranking factors by Google. Over the last few years, with devices becoming faster, the Page load time has become very critical to the success of a website.
Page load speed could be divided into three standards.
- Less than 1 seconds: Excellent
- Less than 2.5 seconds: Acceptable
- More than 2.5 seconds: Poor
A page load speed for more than 3 seconds can strongly influence a website's ranking with search engines. These days visitors hardly wait for 3 seconds or more for a webpage to load. This means low performance and revenues lost.
Embedded content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13jOMJhKISE
How to Speed Up Your Website
What Google Has To Say About Page Load Speed?
“You may have heard that here at Google we’re obsessed with speed, in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests.”
Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there. Google Webmaster Central Blog
And that was in 2010, Yes, Friday, April 09, 2010. At the time of writing it's summer 2018. Google has come a long way. So have devices. At the time, we had iPhone 3/4. Now we have the iPhone 10. All devices are far faster.
Date packages are getting bigger and cheaper. Devices are getting faster and faster. Connectivity is improved and reliable. If a page is not loading or slower than a standard, only one thing is to blame: your website. Web surfers are very right for raising their expectations.
Google is right to set standards and count page load speed as an important ranking factor. The reason is simple: Why would google like send a visitor to a website that they would not be happy about ?
Google loves blazing fast websites so much that it officially announced, in March 2018 that it was rolling out mobile-first indexing
Today we’re announcing that after a year and a half of careful experimentation and testing, we’ve started migrating sites that follow the best practices for mobile-first indexing. @Google - March 2018
Google doesn’t categorically say that something is a part of their ranking algorithm.
As I mentioned, Google made this comment about the loading speed in 2010. This statement was intended to set a direction for the industry which so heavily relies on Google and its algorithms. Google was looking into the future and could predict the faster devices, faster and reliable connections much larger bandwidth. It was more of a directive than an advice to website owners and webmaster that you got to give the user what they want: Faster Websites.
What Google is shifting towards is good user experience, still keeping in view the content. As with any other product where user experience matters, faster websites add value to user experience which leads to better click through and conversion rate.
There are a lot of tools to test page load speed and identify issues. Google PageSpeed Insights tool and GTMatrix are two free and most valuable tools you can use to measure Page load speed.
Now we understand well that Google is focused on ranking websites based on mobile experience, it is time for website owners and webmasters to focus on this as well. Instead of playing the guessing game we should take into account what Google is telling us itself, because if you won't someone else will, and Google will do what it says: Rank your competitors.
Before you get carried away and start churning out the mobile version of your webpages. Here is one more piece of advice from Google:
"If you are a site owner who has only verified their desktop site in Search Console, please add and verify your mobile version.
If you only have a desktop site, we'll continue to index your desktop site just fine, even if we're using a mobile user agent to view your site.
If you are building a mobile version of your site, keep in mind that a functional desktop-oriented site can be better than a broken or incomplete mobile version of the site. It's better for you to build up your mobile site and launch it when ready."
@Google Mobile-first Indexing
We at quoracreative love making making blazing fast websites as well. Give us a shout if you are looking for one. Blazing Fast, Fully RESPONSIVE and MOBILE ready Websites
Embedded content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbaU-p2UnkA
Should I be obsessing about load times?
How To Check For SEO Issues On a website?
A website SEO performance is measuresed against several key areas. SEO for a website is devided into two main parts: On-Site SEO and Off-Site SEO.
How Can I Measure And Improve ON-Site SEO For My website?
Following metrics are considered when analyzing On-site SEO for the website but are not limited to:
- Title Tag
- Meta Description Tags
- Heading Tags
- Keyword Consistency
- Amount of Content
- Image Alt Attributes
- On-Page Link Structure
- Broken Links
- Friendly URLs
- XML Sitemaps
- Device Rendering
- Use of Mobile Viewports
- Page Speed Info
- Page Size Info
- Number of Resources
- GZIP Compression
- Optimize Images
- SSL Enabled
- HTTPS Redirect
- Malware Check
For someone with no technical knowlede a very basic SEO audit service is available for free on the following platforms:
These website can help you measure basic SEO health for your website. If you don't have technical expertise, or time for this we at quoracreative can optimise in two ways:
How Can I Measure And Improve OFF-Site SEO For My Website?
Offsite-SEO: refers to actions taken outside of your own website to impact your rankings within search engine results. It involves steps to improve search engine and user perception of a website. It Focuses on E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness). It involves further two parts:
Creating awesome content that people would like and naturlay would love to link.
Presenting and engaging with other reputable sources on the Internet to promote your website, and effectively bulding connection towards your website.
We at quoracreative privide two services for SEO Audit and optimization which are well tested and fixed-priced for your peace of mind:
- Do a complete website audit and privide recommendations
- Optimize your website by fixing problems
What Tools can wese to Mesure
How Can We Optimize Page Load Speed?
Embedded content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5_6yHixpsQ
Supercharging page load
We have shortlisted the most important things you can improve which can affect the improve load peed.
Tip: Image Optimization
Images constitute bigest share for your webpage size.
Images and graphics are very important for attention-grabbing. All images need to be downloaded from the server(s) onto the client's device before the browser can load and display them. This adds major constraints on page load time. Long loading images can frustrate visitors which can frustrate visitors.
Always start with your images. If you have more images, optimize them all Image Optimization is the most important thing you can do to improve page load speed. With the latest technology, you and your users wont notice much difference in terms of quality.
Tip: Try To Lower First Meaningful Paint score For Your Page
The lower your First Meaningful Paint score, the faster that the page appears to display its primary content. First Meaningful Paint @Google
Lighthouse is an open source tool from Google Chrome team. Lighthouse can audit page and ranks it out of 100. AThough 100 score is very difficult to acheive, score above 80 is considered ‘Good’. Lighthouse is availble as chrome extension.
Keep images as small as necessary
It is important you keep your images as small as necessary. If you are creating images or even using existing images, applying the following techniques can help:
Use image editing tools to remove any extra information like comments. Reduce color depth and to also crop images properly to correct size. You can also reduce image size by resizing an image.
At quoracreative we use easy to use and free online tools for image optimization:
Tip: Try Loading background images via external CSS
Present non-backgroud first images as part of the background using external CSS stylesheets. By using this technique, your text will load first and your images will keep loading later, improving customer experience.
Tip: Eliminate Unnecessary Plugins
The many free and paid plugins that available today. Each plugin you added to your website consumes your resources hence delaying response and page load time. Some of them are necessary but many of them could be avoidable. Best thing to do is do a cost-benefit analysis and then carefully choose which will make a difference to your website before installing them.
Tip: Reduce DNS lookups
Try to Minimizing Domain Name System (DNS) lookups. DNS lookups take long to return the IP address for a hostname. In fact, the browser cannot do anything further until the lookups are complete. Consider a webpage which has to make several lookups to load resources like
In this case, three lookups need to be performed before any further requests. If all resources are available at abc.com, only one lookup needed. A webpage which is rich with features, resources and web elements uses more DNS lookups, thus drastically increasing the page load time.
Reducing the number of unique hostnames and speed up your website.
Tip: Fix Redirects
More Redirects create more HTTP requests and increase load time. Check for any broken links and fix them immediately. Avoid redirects unless necessary.
Tip: Use Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A content delivery network content distribution network (CDN) is a geographically distributed network of proxy servers and their data centers.
It is difficult for a standard server to honor all request for resources quickly resulting in reducing page load speeds. Try utilizing CDN for content delivery where possible.
Adding your CSS files to the top of the page prohibits progressive rendering, saving resources that browsers would otherwise use to load and redraw elements of your pages.
Tip: Leverage Browser Caching
Browser caching is a feature that allows the browsers of your visitors to store copies of your site’s individual pages. In case of returning visitors, this helps the browsers pull up the content from within their cache instead of having to reload the pages. This saves on sending HTTP requests to the server and makes loading quicker. Moreover, by optimizing the caching system of your website you also tend to reduce the bandwidth and hosting costs on your site.
Tip: Combine Images into CSS Sprites
Image-heavy websites take long to load. One solution to this problem is to combine the multiple images into fewer output files, which will reduce latency. Using CSS Sprites you can combine images into few files. This reduces the number of round-trips and delays in downloading other resources, thus increasing the site speed.
Minification is the process of removing unused characters from the code such as tab, space, additional comma, line break, code comments, etc. to help reduce its size and the subsequent loading time of the webpage. It is extremely important, however, to keep the original versions of your scripts and style sheets for the developers in case of updating or modifying the code.
Tip: Enable Compression
Compressing your website pages on a server is a great way to improve your site speed. You can do this with gzip compression. Gzip is a tool which reduces the size of HTML files, CSS, JS etc. that are being sent to your visitors. The compressed file reduces HTTP response time. According to Yahoo, this can reduce download time by about 70%. And since 90% of today’s Internet traffic travels through browsers that support gzip, it’s a great option for speeding up your site.
Tip: Minimise Unnessary Wasted Whitespaces
White space, line returns and comment tags, HTML and even text can add up and incerase your page size by 10-20 %. Carefully examine each line and make adjustments where you can.
Ranking in Google has more to do with relevance and reputation E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness.) of content, user experience than simple meta tag optimization and placement.
Gone are the days when SEO professionals will research kewwords, place them in Title and other meta tags and you were on top of search listings (SERP)
Most Meta tags do not influence page ranks that much in Google now.
Description Meta tags is the only tag you need to consider that might have an influence at times, keeping in account all the other factors Google considers
From CTR and Social sharing point of view you should definately use and optimize Open Graph Meta tags.
Optimizing your website is critical for keeping both your visitors and search engines happy. Use the above mentioned 10 ways to improve your site performance.
About the Author:
Asad Likes anything creative, but mainly, developing web-applications, optmizing websites for search engine algorithms and writing about all stuff creative.
He could be reached at LinkedIn or Twitter. He is also an active contributor at stackovrflow.com