SEARCH ENGINE RANKING SIGNAL
Page load speed is an important search engine ranking signal. It is part of Google’s user experience ( UX ) assessment of web pages. Since the big uptake of mobile phones, now reaching more than 50% of internet users, speed not only means a better UX but also inflicts less download cost on phone users. That’s in line with Google’s motto of “don’t be evil”.
HOW TO ASSESS PAGE LOAD SPEED
There are a number of free online tools to assess page load speed including:
- Google’s PageSpeed Insights which has taken over Lighthouse speed testing online
- Experte which reports the speed of all pages in your site.
Simply enter your URL and tap enter.
WHY PAGE LOAD SPEED SLOWS
There are many reasons why page load speed slows over time.
- Updates not being done is a big reason why page load speed performance diminishes.
- Server updates. The speed of your web server and network matters. For serverside SEO I use the reliable, professional services of Web Support. Here is their page about why page load speed is important for a better UX and SEO. Speak with helpful Sam about his many other web support services including WordPress support.
- Content management system (CMS) updates not only improve functionality and security but also performance affecting the speed and therefore SEO.
- The theme (template) updates
- Plugin updates
- Server quality and load on your server. Most sites are co-located on servers with other websites. If demand on other sites increase to a point where the server is on the brink of crashing, your pages will slow.
- If your web page is open to comments and lots of comments are posted with lots of spammy links and lots of photos, then expect that page to slow.
- File types and sizes. Eg: if your page is full of unoptimized png, jpg/jpeg photos instead of optimised image formats like the more compressed Webp format which Google launched or jpg XL image format.
EXAMPLES OF FAST PAGE LOAD SPEED
Below are snippet examples of page load speed scores using Gtmetrix. Gtmetrix also gives fix tips and resources such as optimising images on your page which don’t show in the examples below.