Quick Insight into Key Points

Optimising images, compressing files, and reducing any unnecessary code on your website can all help to improve the speed of your website. Additionally, using content delivery networks (CDNs) can help reduce latency and improve page loading speeds.

What is Site Speed and Why Does It Matter?

When it comes to website performance, site speed is a key factor. More than that, it is often the first signal of the overall user experience your visitors will have with your site. Site speed is the time taken for a page to load from when a user clicks on the link until content is visible and interactive on their device. The more complex and image heavy a page is, the slower it usually takes to render. Anything from 3 seconds or less can be considered an acceptable page load, as anything more than that could result in visitors leaving your page before any content can be seen. When done right, increased performance will lead to lower bounce rates, improve SEO rankings and increase conversions – which is why site speed matters.

There are cases where having a slightly slower website can do better than a faster one. If the extra few seconds allow users to get more information or visuals quicker, then this might actually lead to higher engagement until they get to their desired destination on your website. Faster isn’t always better but making sure your pages render quickly will help ensure visitor satisfaction which should always be a goal whenever you design and update webpages.

By understanding why site speed is important and analysing how your pages render on different devices, you can start to make changes that not only improve site performance but also keep visitors engaged longer once they arrive at your page. This leads us onto our next section where we will discuss how improving page performance can have positive effects on Google Search Results.

  • According to Google, 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than three seconds to load.
  • Studies have found that if a page takes more than 6-10 seconds to load, customers will start abandoning the page and going elsewhere.
  • A 2019 survey from Akamai found that almost half of the 823 respondents say their websites’ performance is at least somewhat affected by page speed.

Influence of Site Speed on Google Search Results

It’s a widely accepted fact that website speed has a clear influence on Google search results. That being said, not every SEO expert agrees with the notion site speed directly determines rankings in the SERPs. While it is true that certain performance metrics like load times, First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) can affect rankings, some SEO professionals believe there are other factors at play.

One popular argument is that content still matters more than site speed when it comes to determining rankings. After all, Google’s official stance on the matter is that “Content is king and speed comes second” According to this principle, great content will always trump performance metrics regardless of metrics and optimisation efforts.

On the flip side, however, there is evidence that site speed does have a significant impact on Google rankings. Here are a few examples: an Ahref study showed page loading speed has a direct correlation with ranking positions in SERP; According to Akamai research, 47% of users expect web pages to load in 2 seconds or less; A 1-second delay costs 7% conversions—Google’s Project Oxygen concluded that for every 0.5 increase in load time percentage of visitors decreased by 8%.

Though the debate continues among SEO professionals, it appears there is enough hard data to suggest website speed does indeed have an effect on low end rankings in the SERPs. As such, it’s safe to say optimising site performance should be part of a comprehensive SEO strategy.

No matter where you stand on the issue, improving site performance will always yield beneficial results. Whether those results include higher rankings or improved user experience doesn’t really matter; what matters is whether business goals are being met or not. To ensure they are and your website reaches its peak performance potential we need look no further than the development tools and techniques available right now. Let’s take a closer look at how we can use them to improve our website speeds.

How to Improve Site Speed?

When it comes to optimising your website for speed, there are many steps that can be taken to improve performance. Generally speaking, the main goal of improving site speed is to ensure visitors have a pleasant user experience by creating a loading time that does not require significant waiting. Though it might feel like rush and hustle to try and make your website as instantly fast as possible, understanding how Google affects the speed at which a website loads and why will better inform your decision on which steps might be of most benefit to you.

Some argue that although faster websites may enjoy some benefits over slower websites when it comes to search engine rankings, the data behind this argument is not conclusively supported. On the other hand, anecdotal evidence suggests that higher search rankings correlate with well-optimised webpages in terms of loading times, meaning that speedier sites generally tend to get more organic traffic. Additionally, studies have shown that an average loading time of two seconds can drastically reduce bounce rates on a website by up to 30%, potentially increasing user engagement and boosting profits if used strategically.

Having discussed how much influence website speed has on search engine results, the next step is considering how we measure website speed in order to optimise it for both search engines and for our visitors.

Tools and Techniques for Measuring Website Speed

Now that you know how to improve site speed, it’s time to move on to measuring website speed. After all, without proper measurements, it’s difficult—if not impossible—to gauge the performance of your website and quantify the improvements made after changes are done.

When measuring website speed, there are many tools and techniques at your disposal. Among others, the PageSpeed Insights tool from Google is free and provides valuable information about web page optimisation, usually based on real-world data processing experiments run by actual users across different device types and network conditions. Other insights can be gleamed from WebPageTest, which allows for testing pages under varying conditions set by you. It’s also possible to analyse server response time through a Synthetic Monitoring or Real User Monitoring solution built into most cloud offerings.

Finally, applications like Pingdom provide detailed insights into DNS records, connexion speeds and query latency times via both synthetic and real user tests. Therefore, if you take the time to consult all of these resources, you can reliably measure the performance of your website in order to make informed decisions going forward.

All of these tools provide invaluable intelligence into recognising where changes need to be made in order to increase website performance. However, as necessary as they are, they can only provide an indication of what must be done—not everything that should be done. That requires much deeper probing into the specificities and nuances of a given site architecture and its associated technologies–which is precisely where the next step comes in: analysing and profiling load time on a more granular level.

Analysing and Profiling Your Site Load Time

It is important to have an accurate understanding of the amount of time your site takes to load. Tools and techniques like the ones mentioned in the previous section are essential tools to measure website speed. However, these tools only provide a starting point, and analysing and profiling your site load time allows you to find additional areas of opportunities. During this process, users can gain insights into which elements or functions take the longest to process, allowing them to make smarter decisions on where they should allocate resources or optimise page elements.

Once a user has insight into which page elements are most intensive, they can begin the process of optimisation by understanding the root cause of why it’s taking longer for specific elements to process and render for visitors. For example, a certain web page could be rendered faster if more resources were assigned to that particular page — as opposed to other pages with lighter content — or if HTML code was streamlined. Additionally, profilers can help users identify specific areas within Java Script that may need enhancement in order for pages to render faster.

At this stage, users will find that there is both a technical side and artistic side to making changes. Some modifications may require technical expertise while others may involve redesigning the site completely in order to select the best combination of tools and technologies necessary for providing optimal performance. These are all considerations that must be taken into account when attempting to enhance and speed up website performance.

Having detailed knowledge about how certain page elements are affected by certain optimisation techniques equips users with information that can help them choose the best course of action for their particular scenario. Now that users have access to both quantitative and qualitative data about their website’s performance, they can move on from analysing and profiling their site load times towards taking specific steps in order to achieve better performance results.

Steps to Optimise Your Site for Performance

When it comes to optimising your site for performance, there are a few steps that you can take in order to ensure that your page is running as quickly and efficiently as possible. The first step is to minimise resource requests by combining multiple scripts or style sheets into a single file. This will reduce the amount of calls which need to be made on the server-side which, in turn, can lead to faster loading speeds.

Additionally, opting for a content delivery network (CDN) is another great way to optimise your site. A CDN helps by allowing content from your site – images and files – to be stored at multiple locations around the world so users don’t have to wait for it to download from the main server. This can make loading speeds significantly faster for those located further away from the primary server.

Finally, using caching techniques such as browser caching and server side caching helps with optimisation as well. Browser caching stores a “copy” of certain elements on a user’s computer, reducing the need for them to be downloaded with each visit. Server-side caching reduces the amount of work needed each time a user accesses a page by temporarily storing information in memory or disc storage so it doesn’t have to be re-generated each time.

When it comes to optimising your site for performance, there are pros and cons of doing so. Optimising can lead to an increase in page speed and improved user experience but it can also require more effort on your part if you do not have access to the proper resources needed such as a CDN or server side caching software. In addition, if not done correctly, some users may experience decreased page speed or intermittent data loss due to incompatible hardware or software configurations.

Overall, optimising your website for performance is definitely recommended and can improve the end user experience without the risks associated with other optimisation approaches. By following best practises when combining scripts or using caching techniques, you will be able to reduce load times while still maintaining compatibility with most browsers and devices.

Common Questions and Explanations

Are there any tools available to measure website performance?

Yes, there are a variety of tools available to measure website performance. Some of the popular options include Google Pagespeed Insights and GTmetrix. These tools allow you to run tests from multiple locations, analyse page loading times, and obtain insights into possible areas for improvement on your website. Additionally, Pingdom can be used for monitoring uptime and response times so you can ensure that your visitors are receiving the best possible experience. With these tools at your fingertips, you will be able to establish a baseline for performance and track progress as you take steps to speed up your site.

What are some best practises to optimise website speed?

The most important best practises to optimise website speed are:

1. Minimise HTTP Requests: Minimising the number of HTTP requests is the most effective way to reduce the loading time of a website. By combining multiple images, scripts and stylesheets into one file or using efficient coding techniques, you can drastically reduce the number of requests.

2. Leverage Browser Caching: Browser caching allows web browsers to store frequently used resources on the user’s computer. This reduces load time as less data needs to be downloaded each time they visit the page.

3. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN): CDNs can expedite website loading times by serving content from its various locations across different geographies. The closer the user’s device is to one of the CDN’s servers, the faster pages will load.

4. Optimise Images: It’s important to make sure all images are properly compressed and scaled down to their actual size in pixels in order to reduce their weight and improve site speed.

5. Avoid Redirects: Redirects can significantly slow down page loading times and should be minimised whenever possible. Instead, use direct links whenever available..

What factors affect a website’s speed?

When it comes to website speed, there are a number of factors that can affect performance. These include the size of the webpages, the amount of HTTP requests made, the host server and connexion type, the use of caching technologies, image optimisation and compression, code minification, third-party dependencies, content delivery networks (CDNs), and more.

The size of webpages can affect website speed because larger pages take longer to load. To reduce loading times and overall page size, you should use gzip compression for text-based files such as HTML and CSS. Additionally, you should ensure your JavaScript code is reduced to its essential components by using code minification.

Making too many HTTP requests also affects website speed as each request requires time to process. To reduce the number of requests, consider using sprites which combine multiple images into one file. You should also modify your markup language to reference external stylesheets or JavaScript resources rather than including them directly in your HTML document.

Your choice of hosting service will also have an effect on speed if they are slow or subject to downtime due to higher traffic levels. If possible, upgrade to a faster service provider or opt for cloud hosting with several servers around the world that can help distribute traffic better without affecting performance too much.

Finally, caching technologies such as browser caching and server-side cache can be used to reduce loading times for repeat visitors. Third-party dependencies such as YouTube videos can increase page size and delay loading times so you should consider hosting these services yourself instead of relying on third-party providers. Also consider Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) that can replicate static assets across various data centres worldwide in order to improve site delivery speeds for all types of visitors from different locations.

Last Updated on April 15, 2024

E-commerce SEO expert, with over 10 years of full-time experience analyzing and fixing online shopping websites. Hands-on experience with Shopify, WordPress, Opencart, Magento, and other CMS.
Need SEO help? Email me for more info, at info@matt-jackson.com