Is speed important to Google? Definitely yes, top SEO factors
A Website loading speed is very important for SEO and consequently for the site's ranking on Google. E-Commerce companies need to focus a lot on this because Google page speed is one of the most important ranking factors.
The matter has become a serious concern that Google has taken steps to improve loading speed and encourage website operators to optimize their web speed. This adds yet another reason to look for a better option for your web hosting, learn about image compression, better optimizing your site and much more.
Site speed affects SEO. This fact took effect after Google made changes to its Algorithm Speed Update in July 2018.
This included site speed for desktop and mobile search engine results pages. Internet experts continued to push for fast, mobile-optimized sites, and Google was forced to use speed as the default ranking factor for mobile searches as well.
So even if you're running a website that focuses primarily on mobile users – speed will be essential.
What is Page Speed?
Most people don't know how to differentiate between page speed and website speed. The first is the usage time of a page's content to appear in a browser's UI after a search. On the other hand, site speed is the period in which the bundle of pages on a site loads.
Also referred to as “time to first byte” (the time it takes web servers to generate the first byte of information for the browser), page speed profoundly influences the user experience, because no one wants to waste time waiting for a page to charge. Low speeds lead to higher bounce rates and negatively impact PageRank. And, of course, everything has a long chain reaction – you rank lower, you get fewer visitors, they bounce again, you go lower, you lose sales, etc.
But speed is relative. It depends on so many factors, such as the performance of the website, the performance of the server, the particular web page you are on, the type of connection, the user's internet service provider, the internet package, the processing power of the user. device, the Browser, what the user is doing at that point, how many applications are running, and so on.
However, we can only work with our website and our server. We don't really have control over the rest.
Score x loading time of a web page
Just to clarify things, page speed is not a score, as PageSpeed Insights presents. It is the load time of a web page and is measured in seconds. That's what matters.
There are, of course, different points of interest in loading time. For example, you might want to run some scripts at the end because they don't need to be used initially.
They can take a long time to finish loading, so the total loading time may be longer. But if the site is usable until then, it's not a big problem.
Google has launched Google Lighthouse, a PageSpeed Insights tool that evaluates the technical aspects of your site to determine its load time, we'll get into that in more depth later in this text. In addition, it examines the quality of the user experience and the ease of accessibility.
Once you feed the site your URL, the tool performs a quick scan while having different factors in mind that affect your page's performance. At the top of the screen, the overall score will appear, indicating an average number based on various principles. Later on, other details about the actual material that affect the charge time will appear.
Partnerships with hosting companies
Another way to ensure that your website always stands out in real time is to partner with a reputable web hosting company, which will definitely improve your chances for better page speed. You can work on your site knowing that everything is relying on how it's built, not server issues that are beyond your control.
Most hosting companies claim to offer 100% increase time, but only a few are reliable enough to offer 99,99% increase time. Therefore, you must be careful when weighing your options for web hosting.
Let's cover the most important benefits your site will have if you improve page speeds:
Improved user experience
The reason many online businesses engage in activities to optimize page speed is to improve the user experience. People leave a web page that takes several seconds to load. While you can use videos and images to increase engagement, it takes a quick load time even to keep your audience. If your page takes longer than seven seconds to load, the user is frustrated with the wait. Statistically, 80% of visitors jump from a page if it doesn't load in three seconds. Quick response is required for desktop and mobile users to freely navigate the page and browse the content.
According to Google, a one-second delay has detrimental effects on your organic traffic volume. In fact, customer satisfaction drops by 16%. Furthermore, 79% of them express reluctance to buy the products and services you offer.
Google has established a bandwidth that regulates the time crawlers spend on your site. With a longer load time, the bandwidth gets shorter, and this leaves a list of pages for Google's crawlers.
This brings benefits in two folds. When the load time is fast, Google crawls and indexes more of your pages. Consequently, the pages achieve a high ranking. When people go to Google and your page appears in the top ten positions, they will likely click on one of yours. Google will do a lot of the work for you at this juncture, as optimized pages will retain your target audience and possibly they might consider buying from you.
Achievable Marketing Goals
Statistics indicate that 67% of online shoppers may refuse to spend more time on your site because of the slow page speed. On the contrary, shortening the charge time by one second is enough to increase your conversion rate, peaking between 10%-20%.
Proper page optimizations constrict load time, and this gives you an edge when it comes to online marketing. You will register higher sales and conversion rate. Other benefits include a reduced bounce rate and improved customer service. If you look at all of these metrics, it's clear that a fast-loading page has a lower result: increased revenue
Speed Matters Now for Landing Page Factor for Google Search and Ads
When real users have a slow mobile experience, they are much less likely to find what they are looking for or buy from you in the future. For many sites this amounts to a huge missed opportunity, especially when more than half of visits are dropped if a mobile page takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Recently, the Google Search and Ads teams announced two new speed initiatives to help improve the user experience on the web. Both efforts recommend that website owners and developers pay attention to user-centric performance metrics and use tools like Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights, and real-world field data (eg, see Chrome User Experience Report) to diagnose and improve user experiences.
Speed is now used as a ranking factor for mobile searches, so it matters to Google!
Users want to find answers to their questions quickly, and the data shows that people really care about how quickly their pages load. The Search team announced that speed would be a ranking signal for searches and that page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches as well.
If you are a developer working on a website, now is a good time to assess its performance using our speed tools. Think about how performance affects the user experience of your pages and consider measuring a variety of real-world user-centric performance metrics.
To assess performance, check:
- PageSpeed Insights, an online tool that shows speed field data for your website, along with common optimization suggestions to improve it.
- Lighthouse, a lab tool that provides personalized advice on how to improve your site on performance, accessibility, PWA, SEO and other best practices.
- The Mobile Speed Scoreboard for ad landing pages
Advertising and speed go hand in hand, with faster landing pages delivering better ROI. Last week, on Google Marketing Live, the Ads team introduced the new mobile speed score.
Next steps: measure, optimize, monitor and repeat
Optimized web experiences lead to greater user engagement, conversion and ROI; performance is a characteristic and a competitive advantage.
Looking for tools and tips on what tools and metrics to use or how to measure and make a business case for performance? Check out our “How to Think About Speed Tools” guide for a practical overview.
Website loading speed
Among Google's 200 different ranking factors, another factor you should focus on is your page speeds. That's because since 2021, Google has made site loading speed a part of its Core Web Vitals.
These are a set of factors that Google considers important to the user experience on your site. He will look at the speed, responsiveness and speed at which different elements such as fonts and images load.
Now, the goal here is not to beat your competitors with milliseconds of load time. But you should pay attention to how quickly a page loads for your users.
Google wants your site to load quickly and provide a great user experience for your audience.
To check your site's loading speed, you can use the MonsterInsights Site Speed report.
Site Speed Report
It will analyze your site, display a score for mobile and desktop, show you key metrics about page load times, and highlight suggestions to make your site even faster.
For example, one of the ways to improve wordpress website loading speed is by using a CDN (Content Delivery Network). It ensures that your web pages load without any delay for your users all over the world.
Speed is very important for a website. It's so important that Google has made it a real ranking factor. Over time, Google has taken steps to improve the loading speed of sites by providing a set of tools for developers and webmasters. One such tool is Google Lighthouse.
But how does this pagespeed insights tool from Google actually work? And, most importantly, does page speed affect SEO? You will find everything you need to know in this article.
PageSpeed's Insight Tool didn't use to be very good in the past. Most of the information there could be found relatively easily elsewhere and did not indicate the speed itself. However, Google has recently updated the tool and it's much better. Unfortunately, it's also much harder to understand.
However, this tool has become popular with SEOs through PageSpeed Insights, which is, in fact, powered by Lighthouse, but provides the information in an easy-to-follow format on a webpage.
What is Google PageSpeed Insights?
PageSpeed Insights is an online tool provided by Google that is used to identify web performance issues on websites. While mostly related to technical SEO issues, the tools also analyze the site from a User Experience and accessibility perspective.
You can enter the URL there and after a few seconds the tool will return a page with some results about your site's performance. At the top, there will be an overall score, which is an average of multiple factors. Below you will see detailed information about what really affects your speed.
However, it is not the only PageSpeed tool provided by Google. There's also mod_pagespeed, a server module used to solve these speed issues, and the website analysis tool that powers it all, available in Chrome itself. There are also a number of Chrome extensions related to Google's PageSpeed Insights.
We'll briefly discuss all of them, but we'll mainly focus on PageSpeed Insights as it seems to be the most useful tool most SEOs use when checking a website.
Mobile vs. desktop
When you enter a page to test it, Google will give you two scores: one for the mobile version and one for the desktop version.
Initially, the PageSpeed Tool only gave a score for the Desktop version. But recently, cell phone use has become more and more popular. As of 2018, more than 50% of search engine users search on mobile devices. As Google moved to a mobile index first, it also made sense for them to test mobile versions to speed up first.
However, if you have a responsive design, you might think these versions are mostly identical.
If yes, why do they have different scores?
When you use the PageSpeed Insights tool, the first result you will get is for mobile speed. This means that your website has been tested over a mobile connection, probably with a 4G connection.
However, keep in mind that many cell phone users around the world still only receive 3G signal, and even though they have a slower connection speed, they still expect the site to load very fast.
And here's the problem. It's not always about your website, it's more about your connection speed. It may appear that your website is slow when in reality your connection speed is slow.
On the desktop, the score is higher because the connection speed is higher.
So the site passes the same test, but it's mainly the connection speed that differs.
That's why mobile comes first, as mobile devices often have slower connections. Things can change with 5G, but until then, make sure you focus on improving the speed of your mobile site.
Fast site loading speed is important for Google
For example, let's say you want to run an outgoing intent popup script. This script takes a hypothetical 5-10 seconds to load. However, you want to show it to the user only after about 20-30 seconds.
If you start running your script right away, you can defer loading other important elements, like the first thing the user should see: the content above the fold. That would be really bad, especially since you won't be using this script until about 20-30 seconds into the future.
So you can defer script loading after all it's vital loads in order to give the user a better experience.
However, if you have a script that makes the menu work or something vital to the site's usability, you may not want to load it at the end. This would ruin the experience as the user would not be able to access this function before everything else was loaded.
Is Page Speed Important for Google SEO?
The simple answer is that page speed affects SEO. Page speed is a direct ranking factor, an even better fact since Google's Algorithm Speed Update. However, speed can also affect rankings indirectly, increasing the bounce rate and reducing dwell time.
At Google, users come first. Google studies show that the average 3G upload speed is very slow. They also show that users leave the site after about 3 seconds. That means your experience is bad and Google doesn't like to rank sites that provide a bad user experience.
The thing to remember is that speed is measured in seconds, not in points from 0 to 100. While PageSpeed Insights is a tool that helps improve speed, a score doesn't necessarily mean anything in the real world.
Still, it is important to improve the Page Speed Score. Why?
Because with Google we're not really sure whether the score exists or isn't used as a ranking factor. Does Google use seconds? Use punctuation? We do not know
But just for the sake of the user, put load time first. And don't just use PageSpeed Insights to test this.
For example, Google PageSpeed Insights considers the Google Analytics script render blocking, which means you should load it later in the footer. However, Google Analytics clearly specifies that the script must be placed in the <head>section of your website, otherwise it will not work correctly and will not initially be accepted as a valid installation.
So you get a small score on PageSpeed Insights… doing what Google says… Just to be told you shouldn't do it like that… by Google.
Note that you will have to go under 1 second to be considered fast! For that, you'll probably need a very simple website with no third-party plugins or fancy pop-ups. It's not easy if you really want to do some digital marketing.
So yes, loading speed is important for SEO, but a perfect PageSpeed Insights score isn't. As long as your site loads in about 3 seconds, you should be fine with most users.
Key Points to Improve Speed Insight Score
Chances are you won't be able to solve everything we've explained so far. We even emphasize that it is not important to get 100% of the score. However, here are the key elements that will make your website load faster.
Warning: Back up your files and database before engaging in these enhancements. They can mess up your site and you have to make sure you can go back to a previous version!
Server response time is important for website speed in Google ranking
The server is something you can't really improve yourself. You either have a good one or a bad one. To improve it, you would either have to reduce the load on it significantly, or improve its hardware, both of which you have no control over, unless you own the physical machine.
So it's important to have a good server first. But how do you choose a good server?
Well, any hosting company that ranks well on Google should provide decent services. However, it's up to you to test. Best advice? If you are primarily focused on local SEO, choose a local server.
You can always test the hosting provider's own website with PageSpeed Insights and look up its TTFB (Time To First Byte) or Server Response Time. If you're in the Approved Audits section, you know you have a good hosting provider.
Fast TTFB Server
Realistically, the host's own website will likely be on a dedicated server, while your website will be on a shared hosting package. This means that you will share your computer's CPU and Internet bandwidth with other websites.
If you can test a real client's website, that's great. You may be able to look through the reviews and find customers or ask the support team to provide one.
Image compression is important for improving your site's speed and Google ranking
In general, images are the biggest issue with websites. They are big and take a lot to download.
There are two types of problems with images. The first is screen size versus actual image size in pixels and the second is disk size.
Disk Size: The more physical space an image takes on a hard drive or SSD, the more it will need to download. 100KB will download much faster than 1000KB (1MB). If you have 10 images like this in your blog post, expect your site to load very slowly.
You can use WP Smush to optimize your images. It's a plugin that will compress the images without losing any quality. This means you can shrink a 1000×1000 pixel image from 200KB to 150KB without noticing the difference in quality, making it load 25% faster.
To make images load faster, you first have to make sure you're not using an image that's larger than what it's going to be displayed. For example, if you have an HTML section that's styled with CSS at 300×300 pixels, but you load a 1000×1000 pixel image in the source, you're wasting load time for those 700×700 pixels.
That's because the Browser has to download the image from 1000×1000 pixels and then reduce it to 300×300 pixels. This takes longer for both the download and the shrinking process. You can fix this by loading your images with the same width and height as they will be displayed.
WordPress does this by automatically creating multiple instances of the image when loading it. That's why you'll see that 300×300 or 150×150 suffix at the end of an image file path. That's why you can choose sizes (Large, Medium, Miniature). While it's not perfect, especially if you manually resize the image with click and drag, and it takes up more space on your server in the long run, it does help with loading speed.
Deferring images is another thing you can do to improve load time. This means that you can download them later as the user scrolls down the webpage. There will be a brief moment when the images will not be visible, but they will eventually appear, one after the other.
This helps browsers focus on the important part, the one that users are viewing at that point.
There are a multitude of plugins that can help you do this. However, many have bugs or just defer images in certain situations, for example if they are created by WordPress or WooCommerce, but not when created or inserted by less popular plugins.
There are certainly plugins for other CMS like Joomla or Magento. Just do a Google search for them. If you're not on a popular CMS like WordPress, deferring images can be done with jQuery, but you'll certainly need a developer for this if you're not one.
Next-generation image formats are recommended by Google. They are very useful, especially when loading a website from a mobile device. However, there is a reason few people use them yet.
HTML & CSS Structure
The HTML structure of your web page dictates how it loads. Browsers read a page from top to bottom and load elements in the same way. That means if you want something to load first, you have to put it higher on your page.
Generally, the problems aren't with HTML, but with CSS. If you write your CSS chaotically, it will result in slower load times and poor user experience.
It's also a good idea to add your mobile style first, as mobile devices are the slowest. You may need at least basic CSS training to get the idea of this hierarchy and be able to identify code issues on your own.
However, if you have important scripts, such as analytics, that should run as quickly as possible, then by all means keep them in the header and make sure they fire and work correctly, even if it might work. on a lower PageSpeed score.
Caching is the process of storing files in a customer's browser so that they can be accessed quickly later.
For example, if a user comes to your site for the first time, your logo will have to be downloaded. However, if you have an effective caching policy, this file will be stored in the user's browser. When the user accesses your site a second time, they won't have to download this file again as it will load instantly from their computer.
Dynamic elements (short cache policy): Dynamic elements are elements on your website that change frequently. For example, you can keep adding new posts to a slider on the home page.
In this case, HTML is the dynamic element, so set a short cache policy if that suits you. 30 minutes may be enough if the user returns to that page in the same session.
Static resources (long cache policy): Static resources are files that rarely change. These are usually images and CSS or JS files, but they can also be audio files, video files, etc.
You can set a longer cache time for images and CSS files, as you know you won't change them very often. You can go up to a year, but 3 months is usually enough.
You really don't have control over third-party tools, so if you feel like a tool hosted elsewhere makes your site run too slowly, better find an alternative or give it up.
One solution would be to host the files on your own server and cache them. However, this may not be very productive and is not recommended as you will have to constantly update these files as new versions come out, otherwise the tool or application will not work correctly.
Caching plugins: There are many plugins that adequately handle the caching protocols needed for a good user experience. If you're on WordPress, one of those plugins is W3 Total Cache. However, if you want to go for a better option, WP Rocket is also very popular, but it will give you back a few hundred dollars.
Conclusion on how speed matters to Google
Having a good server, compressing images and keeping things clean and simple in your code will benefit you the most when it comes to website speed. While smaller sites benefit more from a shared server, if you are a larger company, hosting your site on custom tower servers would be a recommended choice.
By allowing companies to edit and maintain their website, a private server would provide flexibility and reliability when you need it most.
What is your PageSpeed insights score? Have you ever seen better rankings after improving your site's loading speed?
If you want guidance, ask questions, make plans or look for a partner to build your website, then know that with Colors Agency, we guarantee much more than just an attractive look and a modern layout for your website.
Our main focus is to offer companies around the world effective solutions to generate visibility on the internet.
Our agency develops SEO strategies as well as brand positioning for multinational companies, large, medium and small, all projects are important to us.