Is Page Speed Important for SEO?

improve your page speed for search engine optimizationThe most important reason for optimizing your website’s page speed is simply because Google will reward you with higher rankings and visibility, but if that’s not reason enough or if you are not entirely convinced that it will boost your rankings, there are a number of other benefits that directly impact the profitability of your company. In this article, I will mention why PageSpeed has become such an important optimization factor for post Panda SEO and beyond.

Google Page Speed Algorithms

google-analytics-site-speedAs mentioned on Google’s performance best practices, At Google, we’ve found that faster sites make for a better user experience. and in case you haven’t noticed, Google recently added new metrics in Google Analytics to help measure your site’s load time and performance. But if you are still in doubt, they made it clear when they announced that they do in fact use site speed as a new signal in Google search ranking algorithms so unless you want to experience Google’s page speed penalization, head these warnings. Test your site’s page speed here or you can download and install the Firefox extension.

So why does Google care about page speed so much? A study conducted by Compuware found that two-thirds (67%) of web users say they come across slow websites at least weekly while, over a third (37%) say it makes them less likely to return to the site and 27% say it makes them more likely to visit a competitor’s site. Another study conducted by MIT technology review shows that 49% of online visitors will bounce from your website or just check out your competition if they experience performance issues. Below is the infographic they produced or you can download the full PDF version here.

page speed infographic

Other Benefits of Optimizing Page Speed

Not only can you get better rankings and more traffic but faster sites are cheaper to host because they require less load on your server(s). A more efficiently served site uses less bandwidth, therefore, lowering your monthly hosting fees. This might not be a big deal for some of you but most of the sites I work on spend anywhere from $7,000 to $25,000 per month on bandwidth alone. In addition, you may be able to save even more money by being able to downgrade your servers hardware requirements.

How can I Make My Site Faster?

This is a case-per-case type of issue because no two sites are exactly alike and even if they are using the same CMS, they could potentially have other factors such as content that could require different optimization methods. That being said, some places to start are by looking at your code. You want to use as light of code as possible and even in this complicated world of ever-evolving languages and techniques, basic HTML and CSS are always going to be your best choice. Use simple and short expressions, like <div> not <tb> and try to consolidate your CSS as much as possible by using site-wide rules instead of having several different CSS files for different sections of your site. You can use CSS menus for JavaScript-based menus to minimize or even eliminate the use of JavaScript altogether. If you must use external scripts, try to limit them to 2 per page and keep the total size below 20k. You can also compress resources with gzip or deflate to reduce the number of bytes sent over your network. You can also use browser caching, parsing of JaveScript, optimize images (combine into CSS sprites), minify JaveScript and CSS, remove query strings from static resources and reduce request sterilization.

Page Speed SEO Consultation

Please feel free to contact me if you would like a free consultation on your site and as always I look forward to answering your questions and concerns below in the comments.