Is page speed important for SEO?
If you want to rank well on Google there are a number of SEO principles and techniques that need to be addressed. From aspects such as keywords and page structure to backlinks and more, it can become a minefield of information and hard to know where to start. However, one aspect that is often overlooked is your websites page speed. Loading time has become an important aspect when it comes to ranking well, which is something Google themselves have told us.
Even if you currently rank very well for a set of keywords, if your page speed is low and your pages take a long time to load, you will start to suffer on Google. Especially as more and more competitors start to take up the mantle and optimise their page, loading times could help them to out-rank you.
Use faster hosting
Part of the reason many websites are slow to load has nothing to do with the web design itself but is actually due to cheap hosting. Because it’s hard to know exactly what benefits a more costly host can bring, many users find themselves going for options that are substandard. We always recommend our clients use one of the more renowned hosting providers with servers across the world including the UK such as SiteGround or Kinsta. By using these services instead of the cheaper options you often get much more from the package, including SSL certificates and more.
Limit the number of plugins
Over the years a website can become full of an incredible number of plugins. From contact forms and galleries to social media previews and much more, WordPress make it easy to add almost anything you need to your website. Unfortunately, many of these plugins can slow down your website by adding unwanted bloat to your code. An easy way to speed up your website is to deep clean your plugin directory. Simply deactivate and delete the plugins that add no real value to your users, or can be replaced by a better solution. You may see a quick improvement with very little effort here. Simply go to your admins plugin section and deactivate the plugins that have become redundant or are over-bloated. Though Imagify is an excellent plugin, with hosting like SiteGround image optimisation is included as part of their package.
Use smaller images
An often missed aspect of page load speed is the use of overly large images. In an attempt to keep photos and images crisp lots of users upload very large images so that they can appear at their best on large screens, unfortunately, they then use these same images on mobile views, where the screen size can be vastly smaller. A top tip is to serve your users’ different images depending on what screen size they use. Depending on your setup this may be done in different ways, but another benefit of SiteGround is the ability to optimise images so that their file size is reduced without needing to mess around.
One benefit of a service like SiteGround hosting comes in the form of their built-in optimisation plugins. If you use WordPress for your website design, Siteground includes a caching plugin that is directly developed to run with their own hosting. This means you can easily cache your pages so that pages don’t need to be constantly loaded from fresh, which can give you massive speed boosts. These plugins also allow you to automatically reduce the number of errors that Googles own Page Insights tool can throw up. Why spend hours and hours trying to fix something that can be done easily by a robot?
Cloudflare can be used by anyone for free but setting it up can be a little confusing if you don’t know what you’re doing. Another benefit of SiteGround hosting is that they allow you to automatically set up a Cloudflare account and increase your page loading speed without any stress. If you use an alternative host you can still use the benefits of this service, but it may take you a little extra learning time. Using Cloudflare gives you added security benefits at the same time as increasing page speed.
Will my web designer optimise my page speed?
Everyone can be affected by page load speeds, while looking at page speed scores for other web designers in Huddersfield, we were shocked to find a large number have surprisingly low page speed scores in Googles Page Insights. We’ve outlined some example scores below against our own but removed their names to show how easily page speed scores can be overlooked, even by the best. These scores can fluctuate and are much better for each on desktops, but Google is specifically telling us all how to improve our scores for mobile optimisation, where over 50% of people are actively searching for your business. Page Insights by Google show you how long it takes to load your page as well as the different views a user may see, as you can see from some of the blank areas, some pages take a long time to show a user anything but a white screen. Which can be very offputting to a potential user. All scores were done testing each web designers homepage.
If you have any thoughts drop them in the comments section below or throw them to us on the contact page.