Search Engine Optimisation

What is the SEO Impact of Page Speed?

April 4, 2016

Have you considered the SEO impact of page speed on your website? In 2010, Matt Cutts at Google announced that page load speed was set to become a factor in search rankings. At the same time, he told people not to panic, pointing out that page speeds would be of fairly low SEO impact when compared with other signals such as quality, relevance, reputation, and so on.

As it stands today, it is definitely worth putting some serious thought into how fast your pages load when developing your website, not only for SEO purposes, but also to provide users with a better experience and reduce the risk that they will bounce off and go elsewhere.

How Google measures page speed

There are various ways Google measures the load speed of web pages, including how long it takes for the return of the first byte of data, known as the TTFB (Time To First Byte), and also what is known as the Critical Render Path (CRP).

However technicalities aside, the actual experience of users is also taken into account. For instance, we’ve probably all had the experience of waiting for a page that is slow to load, only to get impatient and press the back button and go somewhere else. If this scenario happens frequently, and involves a large number of users, the accumulative effect can result in a demotion in the ranking stakes.

Why page speed is important

In 2013, research done on major US retail sites showed an average page load speed of just over seven seconds – something that many online users are likely to find frustrating! And according to KissMetrics, occurrences of this sort can result in serious sales reductions for each one-second worth of lag.

So increasing page speed times can contribute to improving both sales and rankings, and is well worth pursuing. That said, in some ways it might involve a bit of a trade-off. For instance, you might like to use videos to enhance your site because you feel it creates a better user experience. Doing so can cause some lag in load speed, but you might be willing to make that trade-off because the video adds value for your customers and is a valuable SEO tool in that way.

Ways to improve speeds

There are a number of ways that you can keep your page load times down.

  • Aim to improve CRP and TTFB across all devices and networks.
  • Limit the number of embedded videos and share buttons on your pages as these can slow down load times.
  • Reduce the number of analytics tools you use as this adds extra tracking code that can also reduce speeds.
  • Compress and resize images before uploading them.
  • Use caching tools as these store data on local databases and help reduce load times – for example QuickCache (for WordPress users), or ApplicationCache.
  • Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN), such as Google’s PageSpeed Service, to speed times over large geographical areas.
  • Add an index to the database used to store your data, as this enables search engines to find data more quickly. If you don’t know how to insert the code ask your site developer. Another option is to put the database on a separate server.
  • Make use of page speed tools such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights which gives feedback on page performance and ideas for improvement. Another one is the Selenium automation tool.

Google has made it pretty clear that while page speeds make a difference to your overall SEO, they are certainly not more important than relevance. No matter how fast your pages load, if they don’t provide what users are looking for, you will likely lose out in the ranking stakes. All up, it’s best to do both – make quality and relevance your top priorities, and also work on your page speeds to maximise optimisation and create a better experience for your site users.

Discover how we can help with Website Speed

Enquire Now
By Bill Vasiliadis

By Bill Vasiliadis

Bill Vasiliadis is an Australian SEO and Digital Marketing Consultant with over 20 years of online experience. He has helped businesses of all sizes increase the return on investment from their online marketing spend.

Related Articles

View All Articles

“Bill Vasiliadis and the team are definitely SEO gurus, but what makes them so great to work with is they cut through the jargon and the mystery, so you know what you need, and why, resulting in measurable ROI.”

Sonia Hickey, Woman with Words

“SEO for Small Business Australia is a great starting point for any startup or established business wanting to rank well for competitive google search terms in their market. Bill and his team are very dedicated to driving your business towards great results!”

Peter Kawecki, Bapple

“Great experience, highly recommended.”

Sarah Black, Sarah Black Photography

“Bill has been a great in getting our SEO set up and running for our meditation business.”

Mairead Ball, Bondi Meditation Centre

“If you are looking for SEO services for small business, this is definitely the one - knowledgeable, easy to work with and great value.”

Nancy Wang, RivetLab Pty Ltd

“I highly recommend Bill Vasiliadis and SEO for Small Business Australia – as a new business, the best decision we made was to engage Bill Vasiliadis.”

Ted Neaves, Shoalhaven Lawyers

“Anyone who is looking to grow their business, save yourself some time and don't bother to second guess if ‘SEO for Small Businesses Australia’ is right for you. Bill is driven by delivering maximum results for every client. His reports are thorough and are extremely valuable, and his recommendations are genuine.”

Elias Doumit, Growth Solutions

“After trusting in two other SEO companies over the last 5 years and getting horrible results, 5 months ago I started with Bill and the results have been great and we have only been doing business with him for a short time so I'm super confident that my business's future is going to be amazing. I highly recommend trusting Bill and his team.”

Robin Wickens, Sheepskin Tailors

“Great service with great results, highly recommend.”

Marnie Fawns, Tri to Swim

“Bill has been great to work with and has provided good results.”

Brian Scales, Glen Erin at Lancefield

“Bill has detailed knowledge of SEO, we are a demanding client that has some robust measurements on our ROI and Bill manages to find solutions and report back in line with our KPI's on a weekly basis.”

Graham Budinger, Signal Advantage

“Bill from SEO for Small Business Australia has been great. Easy to deal with, flexible with small business budgets, and already achieving great results.”

Lyn Fisher, Moss Furniture

“Bill has been providing SEO for over two decades, he is a pioneer in the industry, a skilled technician, and a superb digital marketer. Highly recommended”

Mike Larcher, Acidgreen

Check Out Our SEO Services

Read More >
Reviewing SEO Analysis

Get Your Free SEO Analysis

Read More >