If you have already invested in making your website mobile friendly for Google’s latest algorithm update, then you are ready for the next step: optimizing your pages to load as quickly as possible. Otherwise, all your hard work toward gaining the top rankings in desktop and mobile search will be in vain.
In 2010, Google announced that site speed is a factor they take into account for search rankings. Since this revelation, they have introduced specific tools for webmasters to analyze and improve their page load times.
First, there is the PageSpeed Insights tool. Enter your website URL and it will show you your speed score for both mobile and desktop devices, plus suggestions on how to fix each of the elements that are slowing your website down.
Then there are the Site Speed reports inside Google Analytics. These reports, in the Behavior Section, will show you average times for page load, redirection, domain lookup, server connection, server response, and page download.
You will also find detailed reports about your site speed in relation to specific browsers, countries, and pages.
Google also recommends monitoring your website’s speed performance in the Google Webmaster Technical Guidelines. In addition to their own tool, they suggest using YSlowand WebPageTest.
Even if you don’t think that page load affects your Google rankings enough to matter, you should be concerned about it from the user experience side of things. Particularly, studies have shown that:
These are the real reasons why you need to ensure that your website loads as quickly as possible. Even if you have the number one ranking in search results for your target keyword, you are wasting all of your marketing efforts if your visitors are leaving due to slow loading times.
The website hosting provider and technology you choose can have a significant effect on your page load times. Dedicated hosting solutions are preferable over shared hosting so you do not have to worry about other websites on the same server as yours slowing your website down.