Over the past few years, the loading speed of a web page has become increasingly important in technical SEO. Thanks to Google Core updates, it is now more critical than ever for websites to load quickly and be user-friendly. But how do you measure a website’s loading speed, and how can you improve it? We’ve compiled all the key points for you.
What is pagespeed?
Page speed, also known as PageSpeed, is the time it takes to load a specific web page. Page speed is an important component of the user experience (User Experience or UI for short) on a website. It’s crucial to have good page speed to ensure that visitors can quickly and easily access information on a website.
Why is pagespeed relevant?
The importance of page speed became evident with the rise of the World Wide Web in the 1990s as people started spending more time browsing the internet. Website speed gradually became crucial. In 2010, Google introduced PageSpeed, a tool that assists website owners in making their websites faster, highlighting how significant page speed had become for Google and other search engines. Since then, page speed has continued to grow as a vital factor for website performance.
Page speed is a crucial factor for the user-friendliness and performance of a website. The faster a website loads, the better the user experience, and the higher the website can potentially rank in search engines. Additionally, the loading speed of a website directly impacts its conversions.
If a website is too slow, visitors are likely to leave before the page fully loads. This can result in lower conversions, reduced traffic, and a lower position in search engine rankings.
How to Measure PageSpeed?
There are various tools you can use to measure your page speed. The most popular tools include Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom Tools, and GTmetrix. These tools provide a detailed analysis of your website’s performance, including loading speed, caching, compression, and other technical factors that can affect performance. Since Google PageSpeed Insights is free and accessible to everyone, it will serve as an example.
Google PageSpeed Insights measures various aspects to assess a website’s performance. This includes:
- Load Time: This is the time it takes to fully load the page, including all images, scripts, and style sheets.
- Mobile Friendliness: This metric indicates whether the website functions well on a mobile device and whether there are any display errors on small screens.
- HTML and CSS Files: This metric checks if the website’s HTML and CSS files are organized and compressed properly to shorten loading times.
- Images and Media: This metric examines whether images and other media on the website are compressed and optimized for faster loading times.
These aspects are used to determine the overall score of the website, indicating how fast and efficiently the website loads and functions. A higher score indicates that the website loads quickly and efficiently, while a lower score suggests areas for improvement in terms of performance and user-friendliness.
These aspects are evaluated against multiple metrics provided by Google, known as the Core Web Vitals. These include:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): Measures loading performance. For a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds from when the page first starts loading.
- First Input Delay (FID): Measures interactivity. For a good user experience, pages should have an FID of 100 milliseconds or less.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Measures visual stability. For a good user experience, pages should have a CLS of 0.1 or less.
These Core Web Vitals are critical indicators of a website’s performance and user experience, as defined by Google. Optimizing for these metrics is essential to ensure that visitors have a fast, responsive, and stable experience while browsing your website.
In addition to the Core Web Vitals, several other metrics have emerged, including:
- First Contentful Paint (FCP): Measures loading performance. Unlike LCP, FCP measures when the first content element is painted on the screen rather than the largest. For a good user experience, FCP should occur within 3 seconds.
- Interaction to Next Paint (INP): An experimental metric that assesses responsiveness. For a good user experience, INP should be under 300 milliseconds.
- Time to First Byte (TTFB): Another experimental metric that measures server connection time and web server response speed. For an optimal user experience, TTFB should occur within 800 milliseconds.
Currently, FCP is used in conjunction with LCP to measure loading speed. The INP and TTFB metrics are still experimental but are likely to become equally relevant in the future.
How to Test Page Speed in Google:
- Go to Google’s PageSpeed Insights website.
- Enter the URL of the page you want to test.
- Click the “Analyze” button.
- The tool will now analyze the page and provide you with a summary of the results.
This process allows you to quickly assess the page speed of your website according to Google’s metrics and receive recommendations for improvement.
The results displayed are based on performance over the past month, across various devices and network connections. Performance is then measured based on a percentile score.
This score places the respective website (in this case, seeders.nl) in the 75th percentile. This means that out of all websites, 25% perform better than Seeders, and 75% perform worse. If aspects such as interactivity are not present on the website, they are marked as “Not Applicable” (N/A).
It’s important to note that the Google Speed Update primarily affects a small percentage of websites negatively in search rankings, primarily the poorest performers. However, even these websites can rank highly in search results through high-quality content. So while website performance is important, the user experience is ultimately the most critical factor.
How to improve your pagespeed
Here are our 7 tips for optimizing page speed:
- Use a Fast Hosting Provider: Choose a hosting provider that offers good uptime and fast servers. This ensures that your website loads quickly.
- Use a Good Caching Plugin: Install a caching plugin on your website to reduce load times. Caching plugins reduce the amount of data your server needs to process, resulting in faster page loading.
- Optimize Your Images: Ensure that your images are as small as possible for faster loading times. Use compression tools to reduce file sizes.
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN): A CDN distributes your website’s content across various locations, making it easier for users to load your website because the content is closer to them.
- Minimize the Number of Plugins: Reduce the number of plugins on your website. The more plugins you have, the longer it takes for your website to load.
- Use a Fast Theme: Choose a theme optimized for speed. Ensure that the theme you select is well-maintained and regularly updated.
- Use a Fast Server: Opt for a server optimized for speed. Select a server with sufficient memory and disk space to host your website.