improving website speed

Website download – a key search engine ranking factor

A website loading speed is not only important to its visitors, it is also a key ranking factor to search engines.

Google has been focusing on speed as a ranking factor for the last eight years.

In Jan 2018, Google formally announced that it would be updating its speed update algorithm sometime in mid-2018. This update will be a significant one. This early announcement gives website owners some heads up to start taking actions to improve their site downloading speed.

Why Is Google doing this?

The reason that Google is making this speed update is that speed matters to a user, especially as more and more users are surfing on mobile devices, which typically has a slower connection compared to desktops.

The user’s patience for a slow downloading site is waning. If a website takes too long to download, they merely move on to another website. Users expect to move through a brand’s site and pages at lightning speed. A web page that loads quickly will increase user satisfaction.

A key ranking factor

One of Google search’s key ranking factors is a site’s download speed.

So what does this mean to you, a website owner?

If your site is not downloading fast enough, visitors will abandon your site and move on to another. In time, your ranking on Google search engine page results will drop.

If your competitor’s webpages are downloading faster than yours, your site will rank lower than theirs. Hence you can see, speed matters.

What contributes to a website download speed?

Many factors determine the performance of a website.  They generally fall into two parts – front-end and back-end.

Front-end would refer to the webpages and all its associated resources, as rendered by a browser. The components on the front-end  that has an impact on the loading time would include the

  • HTML codes
  • CSS files
  • JavaScript
  • media  sizes (images, video, etc.) and
  • the use of caching
  • the use of redirects

The back-end would refer to the webserver delivering the page to your browser. Below are some of the

  • location of the webserver,
  • connection speed,
  • PHP version,
  • the number of HTTP requests etc.

Optimizing both front-end and back-end is critical in achieving optimal website performance and ranking higher on search engine result pages.

Let’s have a conversation if you would like to do a web page speed audit or improve your website speed.

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