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Page Load Speed – What It Is And Why It Matters in 2018

Google has announced that “starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.”
They are calling this the Speed Update.

What is page loading speed?

Page load speed is described in two ways. First is “page load time,” meaning how long it takes to display the content of a web page. Alternatively it is known as “time to first byte,” meaning how long it takes for your browser to receive the first byte of information form the web server.

The faster a page loads, the better.

What does this mean for you?

Visitors to your site want, and expect, a smooth and fast experience. Mobile devices now surpass desktop usage for online traffic and it’s a trend that is going to increase. Google found that 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Of course, you want your site to load fast on both mobiles and desktops, but keep in mind that Google says “our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site.”

A slow page load speed equates to a high bounce rate (which is the percentage of visitors leaving your site after visiting only one page). This signals to Google that the page content isn’t relevant and has a low dwell time. This translates to your website being pushed further down the search results, lowering your visibility.

How to improve page loading speed

You’ll find lots of free tools online that can help improve your page loading speed. Google has its own tool called PageSpeed Insights. Consider these points for your website:

  • Optimise images – ensure they are the right size, format, and compressed for the web
  • File compression – reduce the size of CSS, HTML, and JavaScript files
  • Optimise code – minify CSS, HTML and JavaScript. Google recommends using YUI Compressor for both CSS and JavaScript
  • Caching – content management systems (CMS) offer cache plugins you can utilise to optimise page load speed. You can also leverage browser caching with a tool such as YSlow
  • Media – aim for at least a 75-to-25 text-to-media ratio
  • Reduce redirects

For more information on each of the above points, check out this information from Moz.

With all the free tools and tutorials out there, there’s plenty of tweaks you can do yourself to improve your page load speed. However, if your site’s page speed is hindering your success and you need more expert help,  ask Webstruxure to audit your site and make recommendations for fixes. We can help to give your website users the smooth and speedy user experience they expect.

Webstruxure is here to make the web work smarter. Let us know how we can help you for user friendly, mobile friendly and search engine friendly websites. Our services include:
Web design
Content strategy
 User experience

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Briaane Davis - WordPress Administrator
Briaane Davis – Happy Content Hacker

Briaane currently works for Webstruxure as a website coordinator in Wellington. Between plugging away at Search Engine Optimisation and content creation, Briaane can be found curled up with a coffee and a Sci Fi book, or broadening her skills and talents. You can connect with her and see samples of her writing on LinkedIn.


Also published on Medium.