We hear a lot about the importance of page load speed but what are the direct impacts on SEO and conversion? In this post, we will take a look at the key ramifications of having a slow loading site, the impact on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and CRO (conversion rate optimisation) and the common fixes for slow loading websites.
Identifying the page load speed on your site
There are a number of tools available to evaluate the speed of your website. These are some of the most popular (free) tools:
These three tools all provide slightly different metrics when it comes to site/page speed so we recommend using a combination of all three to assess the potential speed issues on your site/pages.
Google PageSpeed Insights
According to the PageSpeed Insights website, “PageSpeed Insights measures the performance of a page for mobile and desktop devices. It fetches the URL twice, once with a mobile user-agent, and once with a desktop user-agent.
PageSpeed Insights checks to see if a page has applied common performance best practices and provides a score, which ranges from 0 to 100 points.”
As well as providing you with an overall page speed score, the tool will also provide you with a handy list of potential issue on the site as well as suggestions for how to fix them. Common issues that we see on a wide range of sites include:
- Optimise images
- Reduce server response time
- Leverage browser caching
- Minify CSS
- Avoid landing page redirects
Web Page Test
Web Page Test works in a similar way to Page Speed Insights. You can choose any page on your website to test and you can also pick from a wide range of test locations, helping you to accurately test the speed of your pages in your target countries. We would also always recommend running a minimum of three tests (you can update this in the advanced settings) to gather a median score for your page speed metrics.
The results from Web Page Test are very different to PageSpeed Insights. One thing that Web Page Test is very good at measuring is the all-important ‘time to first byte’ metric. This is the time is takes to receive the first byte from the server. Google recommends this time should be less than 200 milliseconds.
GT Metrix is the final tool we use when testing the page speed score. This again presents very similar results to PageSpeed Insights with actionable recommendations. It’s free to sign up and once you do, you have the ability to change the testing location and browser. You can also run tests on Android devices that are not run through an emulator so give you a really accurate picture of your performance on mobile.
These are some of the key features: