SEO and Website Page Speed: Is There A Connection?

In this article we highlight the importance of an optimized website page speed and explain how page speed optimization is important to improve the SEO of your website.

Why Website Page Speed?

No matter what type of website you run, SEO is sure to be something that you’re going to hear and care about at some point in the lifetime of your site.

In your online search for best SEO practices, you are without a doubt going to find a plethora of information about SEO — some worth considering and some that should just be chucked to the side. With so much information to digest, it is easy to get overwhelmed with everything there is to learn.

If you’ve been feeling that way, don’t worry — you’re not the only one nor the last, I'm sure.

Website Page Speed impacts website trafficWith so much to try and learn and filter through with regards to SEO, it can be hard to focus on one activity area. If that’s been you, then consider this a compass to help point you in the right direction for the time being.

One place you can start to take action on your SEO journey is directly related to your site. What is that?

It’s your site’s speed, otherwise called Website Page Speed.

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering: is that actually important for SEO? The short answer to that is yes, but page speed goes beyond just helping with ranking your website. Want to know how? Then keep reading.

Does Website Page Speed Really Matter?

As we already established, Page Speed is a factor in SEO — a rather important one really. But if you’re anything like me, you likely don’t take an answer at face value; you like evidence to back up the statement and support that argument.

I hear ya loud and clear.

Here are a few reasons why Page Speed is indeed important and an area you can be confident is worth your time delving into a bit.

1 — Google Says Page Speed Is Important To Them

Google writes the laws of SEO and, unfortunately, those laws seem to be ever changing. With algorithm updates like Google Panda and Hummingbird, many of those “loopholes” that got people to top of the SERPs were tossed to the side, leave much starting from scratch.

However, one thing still held true: Google likes — or should I say, is lustfully obsessed with — fast loading websites. Why can that be said with confidence? Take this quote from the Official Google WebMaster Blog:

You may have heard that here at Google we're obsessed with speed, in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. — (Source)

To further the claim that they like sites that are quick on the draw, they later posted this on their blog:

At Google, we’re striving to make the whole web fast. As part of that effort, we’re launching a new web-based tool in Google Labs, Page Speed Online, which analyzes the performance of web pages and gives specific suggestions for making them faster. — (Source)

Yes, you read that right.

Google considered site speed an important enough factor to actually spend the time creating a tool that helped site owners analyze the speed of their site(s). And even though these quotes were from a while back, it’s easy to see that this is something that is still in play.

Why?

Google is a business that delivers an end product (your website) to its customers (who also happen to be people you want to become your customers). And as a business, Google has to keep its customers happy if it wants to keep them coming back.

If you think of Google as a fast food delivery service, you start to understand why they would place such an importance on site speed and why they focus on it won’t be changing anytime soon.

Just like someone ordering fast-food, Google users have come to expect to have a web page load faster. If it doesn’t, then they tend to get frustrated, which is viewed as bad customer service. And let’s face it — no one (myself included) likes to wait more than a few seconds for a website to load in your browser.

Google understood that and responded by rewarding sites that load faster with better PageRank so that the best of the best is delivered to its users.

2 — Faster Sites Create a Better Experience For Users

This was sort of touched on in the previous point, but it is certainly something that deserved to be touched on a bit more.

Now it is true that we all have to play by Queen Google’s rules if we want her to grant us her favor and raise our site in the SERPs. However, Google is not the only one that site owners need to keep happy.

We also have to consider our viewers.

Even if site speed was never something that Google started paying attention to, it is clear that no matter what kind of business you run, being timely is important to customers. Much like the mentality of someone in line at a fast-food drive-through, online viewers have come to expect sites to be delivered to them faster — the faster, the better.

For example: A restaurant could have the best food in the city, but no matter how great that food is, if it took longer than an hour for that food to reach you (the customer), you’re going to be irked, to say the least.

Similarly, even if the content on your site is the best in the industry, if it takes a long time for your site to load, your viewers and potential customers are going to get irritated.

In fact, slow site speed can contribute to a loss in users, a drop in page views and a much higher bounce rate — all of which are bad.

So, is Page Speed really all that important? Obviously, it is and it's something that every site owners should seriously consider in order to keep Google, viewers, and your pockets happy. (*wink*)

Fixing a Slow Site

If you’d like to help boost your Page Speed, then you’re in luck.

There are quite a few common things that lend to a slow loading time and most of them have an easy fix. Below are some great articles that contain tips on how to boost your Page Speed and help your SEO endeavors:

Wrapping It Up

Yes, Website Page Speed and SEO is connected, but it shouldn’t be your main focus. Google acknowledges the following:

Site speed… doesn’t carry as much weight as the relevance of a page.

Therefore, when focusing on good SEO tactics to implement, creating great, relevant content should be number one on your list of things to do. Like any proper Lady, Google prefers substance over vanity and so do your users.

But couple awesome content with a website page speed and you have something that is sure to make everyone happy.

photo credit: Nicolas Alejandro Street Photography via photopin cc

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