Google Page Speed Test
There are several moving pieces within any sound SEO strategy that require in-depth knowledge, one of which is a website’s page load speed. Page load speed is immensely important to a website’s online visibility as it plays a direct role in search engine result rankings and user experience. In order to see how your website loads on search engines, you can utilize the Google Page Speed Test. Performing such a test is good practice too, especially when it comes to ranking on Google, as site speed is one of many ranking factors.
As a ranking factor, site speed can have a direct effect on your search engine rankings. For instance, when a user visits your site and deems it to slow for their use, they’ll leave before clicking to another page, increasing your site’s bounce rate. A high bounce rate signals to search engines that your site or specific web page isn’t relevant to the keyword used to find your website, and your rankings for such will then decrease.
Bounce rate is the percentage of web users who visit your site and exit after viewing just one page. A high bounce rate is often a sign of an unappealing page for web users.
Now, let’s take a look the importance of a quick-loading website and how the Google Page Speed Test can help you determine how to increase your site’s speed.
Importance of Having a Fast Loading Website
Page load speed is an important part of technical SEO. Websites that load quickly are preferred by search engine users, for obvious reasons, and a slow-loading website can have serious repercussions on both the amount of traffic you receive and your keyword rankings.
For example, the longer it takes for your website to load, the less likely visitors are to stick around for more than one page. If a visitor leaves after viewing the first page, this is considered a bounce and a high bounce rate can cause your keyword rankings to drop—as mentioned previously. This is because user experience is a key part of search engine algorithms.
Search engines take user experience seriously, and serving up accurate and functioning websites in search results is just one piece of this. If search users visits a website that loads slowly but was ranking #1 for their search query, that user may not trust that particular search engine as much and switch over to another. If this happens to thousands of users, that search engine will likely lose search engine market share, making it more difficult to compete.
With all of these aspects of SEO being tied closely to page load speed, it is imperative to run a Google Page Speed test to ensure your website loads quickly.
Page Speed Considerations
There are a number of factors that could be causing your website to load slowly. When you run the Google Page Speed Test for your website, you will be given a list of suggested fixes to help your page load faster. These will differ for every website, but some aspects you should consider are provided below:
- Image Optimization: Another common problem is having images that are too large on your site. Ensure your images are properly formatted and compress them for a better page load speed time.
- Visible Content: Above the fold content is immensely important to the speed of your website. Be sure to have important content placed above the fold on your website to help speed up your load time.
- Avoid Redirects: While page redirects, such as 301 redirects, are sometimes necessary, they can cause problems with page load speed. This is because of the way redirects inherently work—when you open a website that is redirected to a new page, it take the server longer to load the page.
- Server Response Time: There are several factors that come into play when it comes to server response time. Website traffic, resource usage, software, and your hosting company can all play an important role in how long it takes for your server to respond to a page request.
These issues are some of the most common reasons why a website has a slow page load speed, however, they may not be the issues specific to your site. You can run a Google Page Speed test to determine specific issues for your website and how to properly correct the problem.
How to Perform a Google Page Speed Test
Though performing a Google Page Speed Test is quite simple, we’ll walk you through the steps to ensure you can find the issue with your site’s load speed, if there are any. Take a look below to get started.
- First, go ahead and type “pagespeed insights” into Google. Click on the first result, which will read, “PageSpeed Insights - Google Developers”.
- From here, you’ll see a screen and bar, asking for the web page URL. You can enter your site’s home page, or a specific page that’s been loading slowly. Enter in the URL and click “analyze”.
- 3. Google will then quickly analyze the page before providing results, which are organized in order of what they deem to be high priority. Also, Google lists the fixes for both mobile and desktop speed issues, as well as an overall speed score.
- 4. Make the suggested fixes accordingly. Of course, a developer may be necessary for many of these fixes, so you may need to find someone who can help you make the necessary changes. To get an idea of how the suggestions are displayed, see the image below:
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While you may need a developer or someone with coding experience to fix many of the issues Google’s speed test will suggest, it’s highly recommended you do so. As we’ve mentioned earlier, your site’s speed plays a key role in how it ranks within search engine results. Keep in mind, using StatCounter’s web tracker, you can get an idea of your site’s speed for any page. Plus, you can then use the detailed metrics to ensure your corrective actions worked properly.
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