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How Page Speed Affects Your Ranking, and Ways To Improve It

March 25, 2024

“Patience is a virtue.” But not when we encounter a website’s slow page load time.

In a survey by Unbounce, almost 70% of consumers admitted that page speed affects their willingness to purchase from an online retailer. And while marketers are aware of the impact page speed has on ranking, not all of them prioritise it.

In this digital age, where websites are the backbone of businesses, the primary objective of SEO is to enhance the visibility of a website on search engine result pages (SERPs) to drive traffic to the site. Page speed is one of the critical factors in boosting online visibility.

Let’s explore the impact of page speed on ranking and why it's important to have a fast-loading website.

What Is Page Speed?


Page speed refers to how fast a page on a website loads. It is the time taken by a website to display its content after a user clicks on a link or types the URL on a search bar. Keep in mind that “page speed” isn’t exactly about how fast a page loads, but how quickly it can provide a good user experience.

To gauge page speed, Google introduced Web Vitals, which is a set of metrics that measure the speed and user experience of websites. When Google updated its core algorithm in 2021, these metrics were incorporated. We know them today as the Core Web Vitals.

How Important Is a Fast Page Speed for SEO?

1. It gets higher conversion rates and lower bounce rates

Studies have shown that faster websites have higher conversion rates and lower bounce rates. This means that users are more likely to engage with a website's content and make a purchase or fill out a form when the site loads quickly.

On the other hand, slow-loading pages can lead to frustrated users who may leave the site without engaging with its content, resulting in a high bounce rate.

2. It improves user experience

A fast-loading website provides a better user experience by allowing users to access the information they need quickly and easily, without having to wait for the page to load. This is especially important for mobile users, who may have slower internet connections. They are also the ones who urgently need information when on the go.

3. It improves crawling for search engines

Search engine crawlers are programs that browse the internet and index web pages. Crawlers require fast-loading websites to browse and index web pages effectively. A website that takes too long to load may not be fully indexed, affecting its visibility in SERPs.

4. A slow page load time frustrates your consumers and rankings

A website that takes more than three seconds to load will discourage users who may not have the patience to wait. This leads to negative user experiences, which can affect the website's reputation and ranking in SERPs.

5. Page speed is a ranking factor

Google has confirmed that page speed is one of the ranking factors that determine a website's position in SERPs. Websites that load faster are more likely to rank higher in SERPs than those that take longer to load. Google recognises the importance of page speed in user experience and, therefore, continue to prioritise fast-loading sites.

How Can You Improve Page Speed for SEO?


1. Audit your site

Before making changes that affect how your site loads and handles content, audit its current performance. Use free tools like PageSpeed Insights to assess Core Web Vitals, get site performance scores, and identify areas of improvement. You can also evaluate the user experience by accessing the website from multiple devices. Gather data to identify key areas that require improvement and optimise performance.

2. Make mobile a priority

To rank high in search results, your mobile page needs to meet Core Web Vitals' standards and other page signals. Achieving this goal can be challenging since mobile pages take longer to load compared to their desktop counterparts, with the same attention span from users.

Mobile webpages take an average of 15.3 seconds to load, and a loading time of ten seconds increases bounce rates by 123% compared to a one-second loading speed. You must optimise website aesthetics and site content to appeal to visitors browsing through mobiles to earn a spot in the SERPs.

3. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

When all data required to load your website is in one location, you risk slow initial and ongoing load times. But you can resolve these issues by using CDNs and replicating content across multiple locations. When a user visits your site, the CDN chooses the server closest to their location to optimise content delivery.

4. Optimise your images

High-resolution images can cause long loading times with the median weight of images on a website exceeding 1,000 KB on a desktop. Many photo-editing programs now allow "save for web" options that optimise images to achieve significant savings in weight and time while still maintaining their quality.

5. Reduce your redirects

Redirects can easily reduce loading time efficiency by transferring users from the current page they’re viewing to a different page. They are, however, an effective way to link promoted high-traffic pages to new content. When stabilising content, use a redirect initially but replace old redirects with new content promptly to keep loading times short.

Mastering Page Speed Optimisation

Page speed is crucial to maximising search engine traffic, leading to better branding, engagement, and sales. Google's algorithm considers page speed as a ranking factor, and webmasters need to optimise their websites for faster page load times to rank higher in SERPs and provide a better user experience for their website visitors.

Looking To Optimise Page Speed With a Digital Marketing Agency in South Yarra?

Gain a competitive edge by optimising your website speed with the help of this digital marketing agency in South Yarra, Provider Digital. Strategic page speed optimisation will help you make sure that your visitors have the best experience possible on your website, allowing them to find the information they need quickly and easily.

Contact us today to get your web pages up to speed.

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