Page speed matters for SEO because it matters for you and me. People don’t want to visit slow sites, so search engines don’t want to recommend that their visitors go to bad sites. If you’ve ever made a recommendation for a doctor or a restaurant, then that person has complained about your recommendation, you know where I am coming from.
Google announced back in 2010 that they were going to add page speed as a factor in ranking, and even this year they continue to talk about how they were going to make mobile page speed a factor in mobile rankings. Bing helps decided your ranking based on a factor that they call the “pogo effect.” This is based on how quickly a person bounces back from your page back to the search engine back. If too many of your visitors are landing on your back and quickly bouncing right back off, this is an indicator that your content is bad, or that your page doesn’t load quickly enough.
How Can I Know If My Site is Too Slow
There are tons of free tools that you can use that will help you not only determine if your site is too slow, but how to best fix your site. Here are the ones that I use and recommend to my clients to use when they want to check the speed of their sites–these also help check with issues regarding technical SEO, too.
How to Tell If Your Site is Slow
- Pingdom Website Speed Test – https://tools.pingdom.com/
- GTMetrix – https://gtmetrix.com/
- Google’s PageSpeed Insights – https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
- WebPageTest – https://www.webpagetest.org/
These tools won’t steer you wrong and they will help tell you how to best fix any issues you may have.
What is Slowing Down My Page Speeds?
More than likely, there are three main culprits that are slowing down your page speeds. If you take a look at these three, one of them is usually to blame for slow page speeds and can hinder your SEO efforts.
Image Compression and SEO
Usually the number one culprit that I find when auditing a website that has slow page speeds is that they are not only image heavy, but that the images aren’t optimized. Images should be resized to fit within your site’s parameters and they should be compressed so that they still look good and can load quickly. Using large images can really be a drag on your server and slow down your site’s page speeds.
Since I mentioned servers, we will talk about the elephant in the room. If you spent less on your monthly hosting than you did on your lunch today, that may be your problem. If you buy cheap hosting, you will get cheap results. I’m not saying you need to get your own private server or some expensive plan, but shop around before you jump on any shared hosting plans. No matter how much you optimize your site, if you have a slow server, you will never have fast loading content.
Too Many Plugins
Most of the people I talk to use WordPress, so I’m going to include this as one of my three. If you use WordPress, you need to do a seriously evaluation of your plugins. They may be cool, and they may make your site do all sorts of awesome things, but most of them are not necessary and they are bringing your site to a crawl. Remove unnecessary plugins and watch your site fly!