The speed of your website loading might seem like an insignificant thing. But you may be surprised to know that most Search Engines take it into account when calculating how to rank a website. But why? Aren’t there better ways to figure something like this out? Probably. But we have to take into consideration that Search Engines like Google are in the position to make the rules, not us. They dictate what they want to see, and we simply have to oblige. Although this may sound benevolent and cruel, Google might have a plan for the internet that we just aren’t seeing. Nonetheless, let us explore what page speed is, why it is important, and what we can do to stay on top of it.
Page Load Speed
Page Speed is simply how long it takes for a website to load. Yay, the article is done! Not so fast (pun intended?). There is more to read into here than you may previously have expected. While we may only be looking at it from the perspective of “time from button press to website load”, the picture may not be as one-dimensional as this. Let us explore why Search Engines still use thins and their potential reasoning for it.
What can Affect Page Load Speed?
If you have ever published a website, even a free one from WordPress or Wix, you would know by now what they cost, not necessarily cheap. Now imagine what a unique, well-maintained, secure, sexy website costs? There are so many hidden little bits of code and functionality that make a website stand out. Facebook alone is comprised of almost a dozen different coding languages! Everything from the servers you use for hosting, are they dedicated (only for you), or shared (up to hundreds of sites on a single server)? Have you streamlined your code so that it isn’t too bulky? If not, you will probably need to hire a developer, and those are NOT cheap. Moreover, there are tons of add-ons; SSL Certificates, Plugins, Themes, all cost money. But, they all help with the impression your site gives a Search Engine like Google.
What it Means
Lets take a moment to refresh our memories. Search Engines want to keep people from tricking their systems into ranking them highly, like we discussed in another article. Google has effectively profiled the typical behavior of a Black Hat SEO’er as the following:
- Does not want to spend a lot of money on websites
- Does not put too much effort into designing them
- Websites are just means to an end, they have no value besides that
- Typically using budget systems to bring down total costs (like hosting all sites on one server)
So, when a website loads slowly, there can be a number of reasons for this, none of them will count in your favour:
- Using low quality servers
- Not using coding best practices to reduce bulky code
- Not optimising the content like Images and graphics to be smaller (more considerate of users)
- Not using the best practices for the industry to make a product of high quality
- And many other reasons.
Essentially, Google will put you in the same box as the Black Hatters. Because neither seem to want to provide a user friendly experience. This might seem like a tangent, but it all comes down to that one singular point. Google is trying to make the internet a better place, by providing a curated and clean, satisfying user experience to people, that way they will remain the king of the Search Engines.
Its always helpful to check how your website performs in terms of speed, but it would be even better to know exactly which elements of your site is affecting its speed. We recommend trying out two tools, one is free, to check how your site performs. These sites scan your website and give you a report on how it performs. They give you tons of information, all the way down to tome individual file types that are anchoring you down. The sites are as follows:
They may seem unnecessary, but incorporating them into your workflow would be valuable at any level. Building the site yourself? Use it to stay on the right track. Work as a developer? Use it to provide your team with reports. Have a developer working for you? Use it to track their progress. Want to get a developer to help you? Use this as an outline of the problem.
Optimise. Optimise. Optimise. The speed at which your website loads gives a god indication of your mentality and attitude toward offering value to users. It would be a shame to be mistakenly taken for a scammer. We here at BFS have spent lot of resources investigating what the best approaches are to satisfy Search Engine criteria. Need help with your site, get in touch.