How To Increase Page Speed?

Speed and SEO are crucial to the success of your online marketing strategy. However, unless you understand the search engine’s core web vitals, you may struggle to improve page speed. When it comes to fast-loading pages, how does page speed impact SEO? 

This beginner’s guide will explain Google’s recommendations to optimise your website and improve your online success.

What is page speed? 

Page speed is the time it takes for the content on your web page to load. Page speed refers to the loading time of a specific page, such as a single blog post. It will affect site speed; fast sites have many fast loading pages. 

What influences your page’s speed?

  • Video, media, and image size.
  • Themes and plugins.
  • Coding and server-side scripts.

It would help if you considered optimising page speed as part of your digital marketing strategy.

Why is page speed critical?

Why should you care about page speed? How does speed affect your marketing strategy?

The time it takes to load a page will affect your user experience and bounce rates. How often have you clicked off a website because it took too long to load? With fewer potential customers, you’ll struggle to increase conversion rates

Moreover, it’s not just your site visitors you need to impress. Speed affects SEO. Optimising your images, coding, plugins and using a content delivery network CDN will improve your search engine rankings.

How to measure page speed?

Before beginning speed optimisation, you need an idea of your current website performance — various developer tools, such as beginner-friendly testing tools Pingdom Website Speed Test and GTmetrix. 

However, Google’s Pagespeed Insights Tool is the most accurate performance metric testing tool. It’s easy to use, allowing you to measure and test your web page speed on desktop and mobile devices. Moreover, as a Google-supported tool, it’ll help you hit the necessary website speed optimisation factors to improve your rankings on the most popular search engine. 

How does Google measure page speeds?

Google takes user experience into account, including everything from broken links to page loading speeds. To understand page load speeds, Google uses Core Web Vitals. These consist of three measurements:

  • Largest contentful paint
  • First input delay
  • Cumulative layout shift

Source: PageSpeed Insights

These factors help make up Google’s ‘page experience’ score —  a rankings factor that sizes up the overall user experience.

1. Largest contentful paint (LCP) 

The largest contentful paint measures how quickly it takes for your web pages to load for the users. LCP considers the time it takes for the most page content to load from clicking on the link. 

For instance, if your website takes 10 minutes to load, then many site visitors will close the browser because it is taking too long. To create a better user experience, you need your pages to load faster.

Your LCP response time should be 2.5 seconds or less. 

To improve LCP:

  • Use lazy loading for large image files.
  • Upgrade your web host.

2. First input delay (FID)

First input delay measures the interactivity of the page’s loading. How quickly can site visitors click on buttons or links?

Interactions include:

  • Clicking on a menu option.
  • Clicking on a link on the site’s navigation.
  • Entering an email address.

Your FID speed score should be less than 100 milliseconds. Google’s algorithm considers that faster-loading FID scores offer a better user experience as the site visitor can complete their actions more quickly. 

To improve FID:

  • Browser caching.
  • Minimise JavaScript and CSS files.

3. Cumulative layout shift (CLS)

CLS measures the visual stability of your UX design. How much does the page layout shift after loading? 

For instance, when two links are close together, a user might accidentally click on the wrong one when they shift due to poor page loading. Similarly, moving images or navigation menus can confuse and irritate. This frustrates the site visitor, negatively affecting the user experience. 

The cumulative layout shift and speed testing value should be 0.1 or less.

To improve CLS:

  • Use fixed size attribute dimensions for your media library.
  • Ensure ads have a reserved space.

How to increase page speed? 

Speeding up your website should be priority number one. To improve your SEO and user experience, and make Google happy, attempt the following steps. You’ll see better page loading speeds with image optimisation and minifying CSS and JavaScript files. 

Step 1: Enable image file compression 

The smaller each file size, the quicker your pages will load. Fortunately, reducing the size of your files with image compression is one of the easiest ways to improve load times. Many tools are available to compress your image and file sizes, from Gzip to Brotli. However, you might want to optimise images to ensure they retain their quality manually.

Step 2: Minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML 

Improving the way your files load will help your site’s loading speed. This means you must remove unnecessary spaces, characters, comments and other elements to reduce the JavaScript file size. It also makes it easier to combine them, resulting in cleaner code and improving your site speed. 

However, combing through each line of code in every file isn’t efficient or an excellent way to spend your time. Luckily, there are free plugins and tools available to help.

Step 3: Use a fast web hosting service

The amount of traffic, resources, software, and hosting solution you use affects the server response time. Ensure your host provides adequate memory and performance to improve page loading speeds. The optimal server response time is less than 200ms and will significantly impact the user experience.

Step 4: Reduce the number of redirects

It would help if you reduced redirects to improve your site speed. When your web page redirects visitors elsewhere, it prolongs the HTTP request and response time. While some redirections are necessary, you should remove unnecessary redirects that slow down your site. 

There are several ways to reduce redirects on WordPress sites. 

  • Avoid creating unnecessary redirects in internal links and menus
  • Ensure your top-level domain resolves in one redirection

Step 5: Cache your web pages 

Caching is a highly effective way to improve your site’s speed. Caching stores a static copy of your site’s files, reducing the amount of work the server needs to do and, therefore, improving your website load speed. You can do this with caching plugins such as WP Rocket.

Step 6: Eliminate unnecessary plugins

While some plugins improve your website’s speed, not all WordPress plugins are necessary. Too many can slow down your website page load speed. Moreover, outdated and poorly maintained plugins might cause a potential security threat. 

To ensure your site performs well, conduct frequent site audits. Minimise unnecessary plugins by deleting and disabling any that you don’t use. Are there plugins with overlapping functions? Are all your plugins still relevant? 

Specific plugins may slow down loading speed more than others. To improve site speed, test each plugin individually to check whether they are too bulky. 

Step 7: Use content distribution networks

A content distribution network (CDN), also known as a content delivery network, is an excellent way to improve page loading speeds. 

Content delivery networks are networks of servers that distribute the content delivery load. What does this mean? 

A CDN stores copies of your site in multiple data centres to provide faster and more reliable site performance.

What is a good page load time?

Improving your site speed is essential for your online reputation and SEO tools. But, what are you aiming for? What is the best page load speed to increase Google’s search rankings? 

According to Google, you should aim for page load speeds of under two seconds — the bounce rate probability increases by 32% with a three-second load speed.

SEO best practices 

While site speed affects SEO, it is not the only ranking factor. You must learn SEO to improve your organic search rankings. Here are some tips to improve your content marketing strategy:

  • Use keyword research to enhance local SEO.
  • Use link building.
  • Consider the mobile user; how do mobile searches differ?
  • Use Google Ads and paid search marketing
  • Measure your performance with Google Analytics.

Summing up 

Your SEO strategies should always consider load speed. However, improving your ranking on Google’s search results might seem impossible with many factors to monitor. We’re here to help. BlindSeer can implement a solid and tactical marketing strategy to optimise your conversion rate, improve SEO, and focus on page speeds.