SEO & Page Speed Optimisation

Published by Alan on

When it comes to optimising your website for SEO, the complexity of doing so increases as more and more ranking factors become known to users.

There are many different ranking factors when it comes to SEO, but one ranking factor people may not be aware of is “page speed”


So What is “Page Speed”?

Well, the name should make this pretty obvious.

Page Speed is quite simply a measurement of how quickly the content on your page loads, and displays itself to the user.

However, like all things in SEO, page speed isn’t quite as straightforward as it may sound.

There are in fact, many different ways of measuring page speed. Here. I’ll list the 3 most common ways that this metric is measured, and very briefly what they mean.

Page Loading Time

As you probably expected, the most simple measurement used for Page Speed is the loading time of the page itself. Page loading time is simply the time it takes for a web page to fully load. By “fully”, we mean all resources loaded, such as text and images etc.

Time to First Byte

A bit more complex here. Time to first Byte is a measurement of how long it takes for a page on a website to actually start the loading process. Chances are you’ve already seen TTFB in action without realising it. It’s basically the blank white screen you get before a webpage actually displays itself in front of you.

First Contentful Paint (FCP)

This is an interesting one. First Contentful Paint measures the time it takes for a web page to load enough resources for the user to be able to engage with it.

Even though loading a web page fully might take as long as 10 seconds or so, as long as loading the First Meaningful Paint takes 1.5 – 2 seconds, the user can start interacting with some content on the web page without having to wait the full 10 seconds.


There are many different ways of measuring page speed, but overall the most important thing is that your users get the information they’re looking for as fast as possible.


Why Does Page Speed Matter?

From your own experience as a user, you’ll probably know that page speed is a really important factor when it comes to user experience on a website.

I guarantee you if this blog post page took 15 whole seconds to load, you wouldn’t be reading it right now…

Due to the vast amount of information freely available to us, how quickly a website or web page loads is actually a pretty important factor in deciding which website we go to for our information or our products.

Should a website or specific web page take a long time to load, we’ll simply close the site and find our information and products elsewhere.

Having poor page & site speed times highly increases the chances of users leaving your website, leading to an increased bounce rate.

Slow page speed times not only lower overall conversion rates and sales, but they can also create a negative impression on the brand itself. This all contributes to how users will perceive your brand going forward.



Page Speed & SEO

So page speed may have a big impact on overall usability, but does it actually impact SEO?

The answer is yes! A website that loads slowly can absolutely hurt your organic rankings.

Many times, Google has given us indications that site speed (and ultimately therefore page speed), is in fact considered in its algorithm when it comes to ranking websites within its results pages. Check out this blog post from Google Search Central to hear it from themselves when they introduced in in 2010!

Our users place a lot of value in speed — that’s why we’ve decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings. We use a variety of sources to determine the speed of a site relative to other sites.”Google, 2010

…and just to add even more importance to page speed, 8 years later, we saw the introduction of the “speed” update, which announced that it would also become a ranking factor for mobile searches.

People want to be able to find answers to their questions as fast as possible. Studies show that people really care about the speed of a page. Although speed has been used in ranking for some time, that signal was focused on desktop searches. Today we’re announcing that page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.”Google, 2018

We’ve already briefly touched on how page speed is an important factor for overall user experience, and how it can negatively affect your websites bounce rate, but slow page speed can actually be more damaging than that! Longer website & page load times have also been shown to have a negative effect on overall conversions. (, 2012)

Several studies have taken place to measure exactly how overall site performance can have an impact on a business’s ROI. Ultimately, it was found that even a small increase in page loading times can have a really positive impact on a business’s online sales.

What you probably want to know is how does Google determine my page speed?

Although the exact answer to this isn’t clear, there are hints that Google in actual fact uses a combination of different page speed factors rather than just one.

Using Google’s Page Speed Insights, you can analyse the page / site speed of any website you want. I highly recommend you do this for your website frequently, and try to aim for over 50 as a guideline.

The screenshot above shows that Google users different factors, including First Contentful Paint to determine page speed.


What Can I Do?

Fear not! There are many things you can do to increase the loading times of your web pages. Here are 3 great tips for this:

Optimising Images

Many people might not realise it, but images actually take up around 50 – 90% of a web pages size.

This makes them a pretty good place to start when it comes to improving loading times!

Optimising images for web performance is really important when it comes to increasing page speed. Larger images slow down loading times, so trying to find a good balance between a decreased image file size and an acceptable image quality is really important.

If your website is run on WordPress, then there are many tools you can use to do this such as Adobe Photoshop or Affinity Photo.

Here are 3 other great tools you can check out to optimise your images for your web page:


Enable Compression

Another great idea is to use a software application to reduce the size of your code files, such as HTML, CSS & JavaScript.

A great software tool for this is GZIP.

As a general guideline, you’ll want to use this on code files that are larger than 150 bytes. Also, don’t use GZIP on images files. Rather use the tools listed above for those.

Activate Browser Caching

Quite simply, browser caching allows your users to store part of your web page in their browser cache.

Although this won’t have an effect on first time visitors, this means that if a user re-visits your website, the page will load much faster as it is stored directly in cache second time round. Better than nothing!

Look into setting up browser cache in an htacess file, or again use a plugin if you’re a WordPress user.

The Bottom Line

Page Speed is not only important as a usability factor, but it also effects your organic rankings for SEO.

Using Page Speed Insights, can you gain a great understanding of your pages speed, as well as how best to go and improve it.

Optimising images, enabling compression, and activating browser caching will all ultimately have a positive effect on how your website loads to users, and will benefit you most when it comes to keeping users on your website, increasing conversions, and boosting Google rankings.

Categories: News