In 2019, people like and expect everything to be fast. Whether it’s being able to order food and have it delivered within 20 minutes or being able to stream TV programs without adverts – people know what they want and want it immediately.
It’s the same when people use an internet search engine, and Google knows this. Not only do people expect their search queries to be answered promptly, but they want the website which holds the answer to load extremely fast too.
Google has recommended that your website should take no longer than 2 seconds to load. This is because loading time is a major contributing factor to abandonment – people will simply leave a website which is taking a while to load. Page loading speed is now a Google ranking factor, which means it’s vital for good SEO.
Why Is Page Speed Important to Google?
Essentially, Google only wants to recommend pages which make their users happy. This is why, as users hate slow-to-load pages, the search engine is concerned about the speed at which your website loads.
Page loading speed has been a Google ranking factor since last year. In July 2018, Google announced the ‘Speed Update’.
Although they assured that the update would only affect pages which ‘deliver the slowest experience’, the update proved that Google was taking loading times seriously.
What Can Lower Your Page Speed?
Various factors can impact your page loading speed. This means that if you’re finding that your page is loading slower than Google’s 2-second recommendation, you may need to reassess your website in general.
Some contributing factors to page load speed include:
- Your website host
- Large images
- External embedded media (video content hosted on another server)
- Detailed page themes
- Inefficient/dense HTML and CSS code
As you can see, content-heavy pages are more likely to have slower load times than simple pages. However, it’s not impossible to optimize your loading time without compromising on content.
Sites such as Tempest are good examples of this – the site still loads fast, even though it’s full of larger images and links.
How to Analyse Your Page Speed
Google have developed a few tools which can help you to assess your page loading speed. The most popular of these is PageSpeed Insights, which can be run from your internet browser.
To use PageSpeed Insights, you simply need to enter your website URL and click ‘Analyse’. Google will then run a quick test on your sight and produce a report for you.
As part of the report, your page will get a score out of 100. The closer your page is to 100, the better it’s performing.
Is Mobile Speed Important?
The speed at which your page loads on mobile is equally as important as on the desktop. This means that, in order to rank well with Google, you’ll have to test your page loading speed on all devices.
Whilst you can check your mobile loading speed with PageSpeed Insights, Google have also developed a second tool call Test My Site.
When you run your URL through Test My Site, the tool will tell you how long your page takes to load and how this compares to industry standards. It will also suggest a few fixes which can help to reduce your loading speed.