Google are currently working on their next update and they have been talking about how a website’s speed will affect search rankings. This is great news for those of us who care about our website performance and want to improve it! But what does Google mean by “speed?” In this blog post, we’ll break down the meaning behind this buzzword and share some insights that could help you get your site ranked higher in the search engine results pages!
What does page speed mean and why is it important?
Page speed refers to the amount of time it takes for a web page to load and start rendering. It’s typically measured in seconds (the lower, the better). When you’re loading your website, Google measures how long it took from when they sent that request until they receive a response. The faster pages will rank higher on search engine results pages because users are more likely to stay engaged with them if they don’t have to wait too long for content to show up.
As an example, let’s say I’m looking at two websites: one is a slow-loading site where after waiting around five seconds before anything shows up; while the other is fast-loading and loads within three seconds. Which do you think I’ll stick with? In fact, for e-commerce, stats state that even loading by a split second slower can mean a seven-per cent reduction in sales.
Easy ways to improve speed are:
- Good hosting, the better your hosting, generally the better the speed. This website is hosted on SiteGround. I did my research, and for my location/global reach – they came up tops! Always check out the best hosting in your area/region, especially if you are targetting that region. This is a useful website:
- Optimise images (resize, crop, change to jpg, compress). It is always best to have your images optimised before adding them to your media library. Check my optimisation tools.
- Use plug-ins such as Autoptimiser, Asset Cleanse and SMUSH Pro or paid plugins such as WP Rocket. I’m currently using Nitropack free version on this website. However, I have heard rumours that it is actually just fooling speed tests which, in honesty, I don’t mind as long as my page is actually loading quickly! But before recommending it, I need to understand better what it is doing!
- Reduce your number of plugins, look back through your plug-ins and figure out what you are using them for? It is so easy when you are getting started to download way too many plugins! Think about: is there another way the information can be presented? Do you really need THAT plugin? The fewer plugins, the better.
- A killer for speed is Google Adsense – I’m quite surprised. I added it the other day, but yet to be fully approved, so I don’t want to delete it, but at some stage soon, I will be thinking pros vs cons. It’s slowed my website down by 40%, which is more than annoying. There are apparently some optimisations I can make, but I can’t do anything until I’m fully approved to use it.
Whilst I realise that it’s tough to get a 100-page score, especially on mobile, I’m always striving to do the best I can! It can sometimes be long-winded for you at this stage. I would be thinking a few things:
1. functionality – do my plugins do what I need? Can I reduce the number?
Is my website accessible to all?
Once I have optimised my speed, I will come back to this article! Hopefully by the end of April 2021!