How Page Speed Affects SEO & What’s The Role of Hosting Here
Loading please wait. This is perhaps one of the most frustrating things your page visitor can get. And a frustrated page visitor usually results in a never-again-returning website user. Optimizing page speed, then, becomes business critical.
Things got a bit more complicated especially for web masters and SEO experts when Google rolled out 3 new metrics to its Core Web Vitals update. And as of May 2021, page loading speed became a direct ranking factor for all pages (NOTE: Google first announced that page speed applies as a SEO ranking metric for mobile search engines in 2018).
So, how exactly does the speed of your web pages affect SEO? And most importantly, what does web hosting have to do with it?
To understand it, let’s look at the next few questions and the way we see things.
What Is Page Speed, Load Time, And Why Does It Matter in Terms Of SEO?
Page speed is a metric on websites that determine how long it takes for a page to load, i.e. it measures the load time. Now, what is load time? To illustrate it more vividly, let’s say that load time is the amount of seconds or milliseconds it takes for an online consumer to go from “Oh, let’s add this item to the chart as well” to “I’m ditching this e-commerce website for like… forever.”
In other words, the page load time not only defines how fast your online content will appear on the screen, but it’s so important as to become one of the main factors that impact:
- bounce rates
- closed deals and successful sales
- customer loyalty
- conversions and more
What Do Some Page Load Statistics Say?
After continuous observations and studies, Portent managed to find that the highest conversion rates for ecommerce strikes when the load time of pages is between 0-2 seconds. Now, this sounds blazingly fast, but you must keep up with the requirements and expectation of end-users and beat competitors. Unless you want your website to be cast aside and replaced with another by web users who expect digital experiences spanning in an instant and are used to fast load time anywhere across the web.
Another research, this time by Google, showed that the chance of increased bounce rate by about 32% is bigger when the page load time takes from 1 to 3 seconds and by the shockingly 90% when it takes from 1 to 5 seconds.
What Nikolai Kalenski, Technical & SEO expert at BGO Software, points out that; “Out of my experience I’ve identified that at around 53% of people leave a website when the time to load takes more than 3 seconds. A slow website equals bad UX. Nowadays everyone wants things to happen fast, rapidly, instantly. That’s why optimizing web pages to load in under 3 seconds time is business critical.”
So, the page time does really affect how consumers interact with the page and sways their willingness to buy things online in one direction or another. To present this in numbers, even one second delay can compromise the conversion rates and lead to a decrease in conversions by 4.42% for each second.
What To Do to Optimize Page Speed For SEO?
We asked Ivan Angov, the Manager Director of BGOcloud, to identify the key pillars that affect page speed the most and the way they relate to SEO. Here’s what he suggests doing in case you want to avoid or already struggle with your Page performance and speed:
- Get faster web hosting
Yes, hosting is crucial because it is one of the major things that improve the Lower Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) metric. If your current provider doesn’t deliver enough bandwidth and RAM, see what they can increase it. If there’s nothing they can do, simply change the hosting service provider. We at BGOcloud, for example, offer multiple options and web hosting plans to choose from with the disk space and bandwidth to suit the size of your website and business needs. You can choose from 10 GB to 100GB, and you know that the more, the better. More bandwidth and RAM automatically add speed and power to your website. Another way to improve the web hosting is to opt from a shared server to a dedicated server or VPS.
- Look for unoptimized images and optimize them
Another way to achieve better page speed is by having optimized code – remove unused code, unnecessary formatting, code comments, spaces, and other excessive characters. Also, you can choose a different trigger type and set non-critical Google Tag Manager tags to fire it a little bit later – like on “DOM ready” or “Window Loaded” page view option.
- Unnecessarily heavy content
Sometimes keywords bloated content may not only ditch your page irrelevant but also negatively affect the page speed. When the text is too heavy, stuffed with redirecting links, images, paragraphs, meta descriptions, alt texts, and so on, your page visitor has to wait even more for the HTTP request-response cycle to be completed. Keyword jamming and excessive link density is already things of the past. This strategy became popular somewhere between the late 1990s and early 2000s but it doesn’t serve the purpose of precise and relevant content that quickly addresses the needs of users and navigates them to what they want – be that a solution to a certain problem with their hosting, for example, a product they want to buy, a service they look for, or something else.
- Expired headers and ETags
Make sure to eliminate expired and irrelevant headers and ETags as well. Doing this will help you reduce the volume of requests to the server sent by the browser. For example, if the page contains a static logo that rarely changes, enabling this setting will prevent the browser from reloading this type of files and will improve the speed.
So, how fast does your page load? Does it need to be optimized? Or are you already scoring that winning formula of 0-2 seconds?