Page Speed Test
When it comes to optimizing a website for search engines, many people think of keyword research and content creation as the most important aspects of an SEO strategy. However, there are many moving pieces within a sound SEO strategy that are often overlooked, one of which is a website's page load speed. Luckily, there are a variety of page speed tests that will help you diagnose any loading issues.
With StatCounter, you can track where your traffic is coming from and how visitors are interacting on your website. Some of our metrics, like bounce rate, are closely tied to your website’s page load speed. For example, the longer it takes for your website to load a new page, the higher your bounce rate is expected to be.
Considering the importance of a quick-loading website, allow us to further explain how this can affect your SEO efforts, as well as how a page speed test can assist you in ensuring your site is loading fast enough. First, let’s take a look at some tools you can use to check how your website is loading. If you’d like to learn more with regards to SEO and improving your website, check out the pages below:
Page Speed Test Tools
You can choose from a range of page speed test tools online. Many search engines, like Google, have a page speed test that will even give you suggestions to help improve a website’s loading speed. From there, you can then take the suggested actions and get your site up and running at a sufficient speed. While fixing most loading-related errors takes a bit of experience, there’s a few tips that’ll typically improve the load speed of any site or webpage. Take a look below:
- Optimize Image: Often times, images on a website are larger than they need to be, which can add to your page load speed. Be sure that your images are formatted correctly and compressed to the correct sizes to ensure a fast page load speed.
- Avoid Redirects: Website redirects, such as a 301 redirect, can cause your website to load slower. This is because you have to wait for the initial site to load enough for it to redirect to the new site. Then, you have to wait for the redirected site to load, adding an extra step to the process.
- Enable Browser Caching: Though it won’t affect first time visitors, caching allows page elements to be stored so the user’s browser can load the page without sending an additional request the next time they visit your site.
- Use Fewer Plugins: Though plugins can be great additions to your site, adding too many can present site speed issues. Go through your plugins and determine which are the most unnecessary (or least necessary) and consider removing them.
- Focus on Above-the-Fold Content: Give priority to above-the-fold content on each page of your site, as this is the first portion site visitors will see. You can divide the CSS for above and below-the-fold content to ensure the above content loads faster. The content below the fold may take longer to load, but it should be fine by the time users scroll down to that portion of the page.
In short, there are a number of methods that can improve your website’s page load speed, though you’ll have to put your website through a page speed test to determine exactly what needs to be corrected. Like we said, you can use a variety of speed tests to determine as issues, and the tool you use will really depend on your preference. Aside from those offered by search engines, some additional page speed test tools are provided below:
Importance of a Fast Loading Website
Search engines, like Google and Bing, prefer fast loading websites. Not only is this helpful when search engines are indexing your web pages, but it is also incredibly valuable to your user experience. A slow loading site is likely to have visitors leave the site after viewing one page rather than wait for a second page to load. This action of exiting a website after viewing one page increases what is called bounce rate and has a direct impact on your search result rankings
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.
Search engines focus heavily on user experience, so if a site has a slow load speed, search engines will not view that site as important and could drop its rankings accordingly. From a search engine user perspective, a slow loading site will be annoying or viewed as a poor site, often causing the visitor to leave before the website finishes loading. Increasing your website’s page load speed will help improve your rankings and keep your visitors engaged and on your site longer.
How Site Speed Affects SEO
As mentioned, ensuring your site is loading at optimal speed can have a strong and positive impact on your SEO efforts. In essence, a fast-loading website will better satisfy web visitors, keeping them on site longer and ultimately improving keyword rankings. Of course, your site speed is also going to directly affect your conversion rates. Needless to say, if users are exiting your website due to speed issues, you’re going to lose leads and sales. In contrast, users will be far more inclined to remain on site and find what they need when the pages are loading at optimal speed.
Track Your Progress with StatCounter
Once you have put your website through a page speed test and corrected any issues, you can begin tracking your improvements with StatCounter. Our detailed metrics can show you areas of your site that need improvement, which you can then use to perfect your SEO strategy and keep visitors on site.
If you ever need any assistance, you can contact us by filling out the form provided below.
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