Even very patient people cannot always stand in line for a long time – whether at a bank, an airport or a pizzeria. We either get bored or angry if the wait takes longer than expected.
Waiting for a website page to load is no different than waiting in line for a delicious slice of pizza. We want this pizza now. And if it takes too long to get what we want, we’ll walk out the door and eat somewhere else. The same applies to browsing the Internet. If the page takes too long to load, we leave it.
How does Google feel about site speed?
In 2019, website loading speed is an important factor. This affects both conversion and behavioral indicators, engagement increases, and most importantly, it has a positive effect on the position of the site in the SERP.
Many people think that search engine optimization is focused primarily on using the right keywords in content and getting backlinks to get your site to the top of search engines (mainly for Google). However, in reality there are many factors that are often underestimated and one of them is the page load speed. Google takes your site’s load time into account in its algorithm and uses it as a ranking factor. Since 2010, the company has given priority to fast loading pages and has openly declared its position. There is even a separate post on the Google blog about it .
The company cares so much about site speed that in 2011 they created a tool called Page Speed Online (now called PageSpeed Insights ) that allows you to check the speed of a site.
Google once asked users how many search results they would like to see on a SERP – 10 or 30? The vast majority chose the latter option, which at the time seemed like a good idea, except for the fact that when Google made the change, traffic dropped by 20%. This begs the question: why? A page with 30 results took half a second to load. It might seem like nothing, but half a second has a significant impact when it comes to page loading speed.
For another example of the impact site speed has on visitors, consider a study by Akamai and Gomez.com . It showed that users are willing to wait no more than 2 seconds for the site to load. If it does not load within 3 seconds, then the visitor is ready to move on to another one. From Google’s point of view, this means that sites with faster loading speeds will be available faster to the user and therefore more relevant – hence the inclusion of site speed in the ranking algorithm.
What should be the site loading speed?
Ideally, of course, the sooner the better, but there are numbers from which you need to start:
1-2 seconds is very good;
3-4 seconds is good;
4-5 seconds is satisfactory, but it is worth working on optimization;
longer than 6 seconds – things are bad, you need to seriously take care of the site.
Ways to increase page loading speed
1. Optimize your images
Pictures or photos can sometimes take up to 80% of the total volume of the page, so you need to optimize them by reducing the size. Here are some optimization options:
Use JPEG images for publishing on your site and discard PNG format where it is not necessary. The fact is that the JPEG format allows quite significant compression of images without loss of quality.
Reduce image size (width and height). If you are using a product image that is about 6000px wide, then you can confidently scale it down to 2000-1800px, that should be enough.
Make previews (small images) of large images.
2. Use site page compression
3. Optimize your database
To display information on the page, the server makes queries to the database. There can be a lot of these requests, depending on the amount and type of content on the page, which in turn increases the loading time of the site in the user’s browser. To reduce the number of requests to the database, it will be enough to make sure that the previously received server responses are stored in the cache. In this case, you can achieve sending one request, instead of five, to the database.
To solve this problem, it is better to involve top web development companies who can track the most problematic requests and optimize them.
4. Lack of server resources (hosting)
One of the reasons for the slow loading of the site may be an insufficient amount of resources on the server on which the site is located. Lack of RAM or a weak processor can cause the site to crash and various freezes.
If you use shared hosting, then you can try to switch to more expensive plans, as they usually provide better features.
5. Unnecessary plugins or code
Sometimes unused codes of various plugins, modules or statistics accounting counters that are not relevant now may remain in the page code. Get rid of that extra rubbish.
Always try to optimize additional plugins as much as possible. For example, if you use the gallery plugin on two pages of the site, then use the same gallery plugin on all the rest, without connecting new ones.
Don’t be slowpoke
Fast loading of a site is a very important factor nowadays, which is taken into account by both search engines and site visitors. Always remember that there are a lot of competitors in the search results and the faster your site loads, the less chance that the user will open the competitor’s site in the next browser tab.