A significant SEO factor for Google is the speed at which your website downloads. In effect, slower websites are penalized with lower page rankings. Therefore, it is crucial that your website downloads data as quickly as possible to all kinds of devices—large and small.
Google provides a test instrument by which websites can assay their own download speeds. Aptly named PageSpeed, it incorporates a scale between zero and 100 to rate your website speed, and 85 is considered the minimum passing score.
Did you know that 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less? Two seconds!
Does your website load in 2 seconds? If not, you're not meeting expectations. When that happens, people "bounce" off your website and move on to the next result on the list.
Google knows this and they measure it. They measure how quickly your website loads, how much time people spend on it ("dwell time") and if they instantly leave your page or not (the bounce rate).
If your website does the best with those stats (among others), then you'll get a good ranking. If not, you're lower on the list or buried on page 3 (or worse).
You leave a website when it loads too slowly and move on to the next result, right? People visiting your website are doing the same thing.
Maybe your website has been around a few years and it's not taking advantage of the latest technologies available to make websites load fast (just a few years in our industry is a long time). Or maybe you had a website developed but you used an inexperienced developer or had a small budget. Either way (and to be honest), Google doesn't care what your excuse is.
If your competition has a fast loading website, they have an advantage over you.
This is something within your control, so why give them that edge?
When we at Webstix launch a website, we shoot for a load time of 2 seconds or less. We often hit one second or less for the home page. Doing this ensures your website comes up quickly, giving you a greater chance of ranking higher.
Google has said that speed is a ranking factor and it makes sense because a fast loading website contributes to a better experience for your website visitors. If you "think like Google" (as we say), then you know they want to give the best results. If they don't, people will stop using Google. To do that, they measure lots of things and their algorithm changes many times daily. To rank high, you must make sure you make your website that best result and that very much includes making sure it loads quickly.
There are 3 main things that make a website load quickly:
This means your hosting can't be the discount / cheap hosting you find out there. Cheap hosting is cheap hosting. You're put on a server with hundreds of other website and you have no idea what those other websites are doing. Instead, get on fast hosting where the server is powerful and optimized and where there's a limit on how many sites are hosting (or get a VPS - virtual private server).
Images must be optimized. Images from your camera or computer may be formatting for printing and not for a website. They may contain lots of extra information (data) that isn't needed. Optimizing images must be done to make sure your website loads fast. It's data. You must reduce the amount of data going through the pipe and images take up a lot of that bandwidth.
Your website's scripts, style sheets and code must be optimized (minimized). You should also be doing some kind of performance caching to reduce the amount of processing and database / disk access needed to produce a page.
Website speed is all about reducing the amount of data being sent and delivering it as fast as possible. This is a simple concept but if it isn't implemented, then you won't see your website load as quickly as it can.
Google has their PageSpeed tool, which measures how a page loads in the way Google wants it to load. This is their tool and it actually doesn't give you a load time score. Tools like Pingdom show how fast a page actually loads.
We have found that if we were to optimize a page for Google PageSpeed, the page wouldn't load in a user-friendly way. The way they want a page to load makes it load in a strange way. The page structure is loaded first and then the style/design. The result is a funny looking page for a split second. We've found this actually confuses website visitors more than it helps them. This is why we do not suggest optimizing for Google PageSpeed but mainly for Pingdom so you end up with a good page load time.
This doesn't mean we won't use Google PageSpeed as a guide/tool to help diagnose why a page loads slowly but optimizing the way Google wants is not the goal we're after and we think this is a wise decision. Maybe Google will revise their methods and tools in the future. If they do, we'll take another look at how they're measuring page speed.
At Webstix, our knowledge and expertise about website speed optimization is top notch. We've been making fast-loading websites for years. It's in our DNS (or DNA... yeah, that's a web developer joke). We're speed freaks!
We can either develop a new website for you that loads quickly or help you get your current website up to the mark. Yes, there are some websites where you really do have to just start over but we've taken many websites we didn't develop and we've made them load much more quickly.
We have a team that are experts at making websites score high with Google PageSpeed.
Here are some websites we've optimized for Google PageSpeed. Just click on the links, and they'll open in a new window:
Nelson & Pade Aquaponics
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IBC Bookkeeping Solutions
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Genesis Exteriors, Inc.
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Note: Scores may vary depending on the host, network traffic, server load and other factors (i.e. changes being made by our clients). Try reloading them another 1-2 times.
This is work you do once (and then maintain) that keeps working for you in the future. You keep receiving the benefits once the work is done - over and over - year after year.