Would you wait for a one-hour delivery to arrive if you’re starving, or will you search for the fastest delivery available? Chances are, you’ll probably discard both options and look into your fridge for an easy fix. Similarly, our online experience is almost identical when it comes to satisfying our cravings. No one wants to keep waiting for a website to load if it takes ages- a few seconds are enough to make us close the tab and look for the information we’re seeking elsewhere. In technical terms, page speed scores are the metrics that describe how fast (or slow) your website pages load, and here’s why that matters.
Knowing how fast your pages load gives you a general idea of how well your website, as a whole, is operating in comparison to the other sites. There are two main reasons why you should pay close attention to your page score metrics: to optimize user experience and improve your SEO.
Based on personal experience, how patient are you with slow-loading sites? Do you even bother to stick around if a site fails to load for a few seconds? We didn’t think so, and your customers certainly don’t think so either. Even if you’ve spent a fortune on perfecting every corner of your website, you can’t expect it to be compelling if your content won’t even reach your target audience.
Every SEO specialist knows that page speed scores are one of the most important factors they should test before anything else – sometimes, it’s even the most important SEO factor. There are two ways in which page speed affects your website’s SEO: the quality of your Adwords and your website’s organic ranking.
The quality score refers to the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. The higher the quality, the less you’ll have to pay for these services, and the higher your conversion rates become. As it turns out, page speed has a direct effect on your quality score.
The whole goal of SEO is to optimize your website to rank higher on the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs), and page speed is one of the cornerstones through which websites are evaluated and ranked.
Now that you know just how crucial page speed scores are for your website, what can you do to improve these metrics? Here are 8 things you can do to optimize your website.
Similarly to how file compression programs work, you can compress the size of the code running your website. In doing so, you decrease the loading time by reducing the size of the data needed to be downloaded. On the plus side, these programs usually remove any unused codes, formatting, and comments that take even more space.
Following the same concept, make sure to minimize the size of your images as much as possible. After all, images are known to consume the most space. However, make sure to maintain the quality of your images by compressing them using designated programs instead of general file compression tools.
Instead of having to download all the page information every time you visit, browsers can cache in the information and store it for the next visit. When you enable browser caching, your recurrent visitors won’t have to experience any delay in page loading, as their browsers have a stored version ready to be previewed as soon as they visit your site.
Better yet, by adding expires headers, you can make sure their experience remains up-to-date with new adjustments. These headers alert your visitors of when to fetch newer versions of the files they had previously stored.
Page redirects occur if a visitor moves from one page to another. Logically speaking, this is a two-step process. However, if you squeeze in more page redirects to switch from page one to page two, the loading process takes longer.
Optimally speaking, your server response time shouldn’t exceed 200ms. This time can expand due to many factors, such as the weight of traffic you get from visitors, the resources packed into each page (or a specific page), the kind of software your servers operate on, or the hosting service provider you use.
You can optimize your server response time by looking through your insights and identifying performance bottlenecks. This will alert you to slow database queries, insufficient memory, or slow routing, and that’s what you’ll need to know to be able to fix them.
Content distribution networks allow multiple copies of your website to be created and stored at diverse data centers, which in turn allows users to have faster and more reliable access to the information on your pages.
If you’ve been wondering why your sales efforts aren’t paying off, then it’s worthwhile to look into your page-speed metrics before changing your whole marketing strategy. Chances are, your slow-loading pages are the culprit behind poor user experience and failed SEO efforts. There are few tweaks you can make to get your site up and running at full speed.