What Role Does Page Speed Play in Search Engine Optimization?

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Faster is better. 

That’s been common knowledge for a while now. Unless there’s a noticeable gap in quality,  a faster website will almost always outperform slower sites in the same niche. We aren’t solely talking about search engine optimization (SEO), either. 

More than half of mobile users abandon a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Bounce rates increase exponentially for each additional second it takes a page to load, topping out at 123% for 10 seconds. On top of this, for every second above the average a page takes to load, customer satisfaction plummets further. 

All this is to say that if your website is slow, you’re getting hit from multiple angles—by Google’s algorithms as well as a dissatisfied audience. 

How to Optimize Your Website for Speed

So, we’ve established the importance of page speed. Let’s wrap things up with a brief overview of what you can do to optimize yours. We advise the following while also using Google’s PageSpeed Insights to check on your progress as you do: 

  • Minimize HTTP requests wherever possible. 
  • Implement a content delivery network positioned geographically close to your primary audience. 
  • Leverage browser caching. 
  • Use adaptive web design, including both images and layout. 
  • Compress your website’s content. 
  • Minify your code, and only use scripts where absolutely necessary.
  • Avoid using rich media where possible.
  • If you must use JavaScript or rich media, asynchronous loading is your friend.  
  • As an addendum to the above, defer resource-heavy files so that they only load after the most crucial elements on your site. 
  • Work with your host to improve your backend and minimize time to first byte.  Note that this may require you to choose a new web host if your current one does not meet your needs. 
  • Consider running a compression audit with a tool like GIDNetwork
  • If you’re using a content management system such as WordPress, assess your plugins and uninstall any that you don’t absolutely need. Factors to look for include: 
    • Overlapping functionality.
    • Tasks that can be easily accomplished manually.
    • Poor performance optimization. 
    • Lack of consistent updates.
    • Security flaws.
  • Cut down on redirects. 
  • Optimize for mobile first, desktop second. 

We realize that’s a bit of a comprehensive list. But we also promise it’s worth the effort to incorporate every piece of advice. Not only will Google’s algorithms like your website a lot more, your audience will thank you for your efforts. If you want to see other ways you can increase the SEO performance of your site, check out our post on the role of Backlinks in SEO.

Remember that you also don’t need to incorporate all of our advice overnight. SEO has always been a gradual, ongoing process. This is really no different—ironically, if you try to rush your page speed optimization, you might end up shooting yourself in the foot before you even manage to get off the ground. 

Author: Terry Cane

Terry Cane is a technical writer for SEOHost.net, a reliable and supportive SEO hosting partner.