Web Page Speed and Search Rank

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Last updated: November 10, 2017 at 5:59 am

Web page speed or page load time, is the time taken by a web page to fully load on a desktop, laptop, or mobile device screen and it is affected by web server configuration, proper design of the HTML code and use of image, code and page caching with a quality CDN.

Back in 2010, Google announced that web page speed would begin affecting where a page appears in search results. Google's position: if your website is faster than a competitor's website and the content is equally helpful, you could get better placement in search results which will get you more traffic. Since 2010, other leading search engines including Bing introduced similar policies that gave improved search results ranking for website pages with faster page load time.

Why is Web Page Speed Important?

Vistiors to your website deserve the best user experience you can deliver. Keeping them interested and coming back until they're ready to engage your business is what you want. Google's internal study from 2009 showed that slowing a web page by less than half a second caused website visitors to leave, and after experiencing slow load times those same visitors were less likely to return.

Faster loading web pages will keep visitors longer, but slower web pages frustrate visitors and make them leave

Besides rewarding fast websites with a better position in search results, Google is aware that its search engine users deserve a great user experience too. So it's in their best interest to place faster websites more prominently in search results over websites that load slower.

Web Page Speed on Mobile Devices

In the past decade, mobile phones have become the leading devices used for web search, browsing, and reading content on the web. To ensure the growing number of mobile device users get the most from a web page recommend from search results, Google and Bing started making mobile device page speed a priority.

Google's page speed research from 2013 showed that as core Internet infrastructure such web browsers, LTE/4G mobile networks and mobile device processing power improved, there was a significant reduction (or faster speed) of more than 30% in page load time.

In 2014 Google made changes to its PageSpeed Insights tool which guided webmasters toward changing their websites to improve page speed for visitors using mobile devices.

In 2015 Bing announced a Mobile Friendliness Test Tool and shared their criteria for determining whether a page was mobile friendly or needed work. They include helpful tips in the tool's reporting that make fixing web pages pretty straightforward.

Then, in 2016 Google announced Mobile First Indexing, in which their ranking algorithms would favor web pages that function better on mobile devices, rewarding them with more traffic. Eventually Google's search results will be entirely driven by mobile page indexing which means that if your web pages don't perform well in mobile search they will soon decline in desktop and laptop search performance too.

How can I Test my Web Page Performance?

Now that we understand it's important to have a generally fast website but even more important to have fast web pages when viewed on mobile devices, we need to know how to measure performance and make our web pages faster.

Google and Bing provide tools to test how well our websites are designed and how individual web pages perform, both generally and on mobile.

Bing's Page Load Time tool is part of their Webmaster Guidelines toolset and is only accessible after you validate your domain with Bing. However, the Mobile Friendliness Tool is available for use here:
https://www.bing.com/webmaster/tools/mobile-friendliness

Google's Web Page Test tool is available online here:
https://www.webpagetest.org/
and the PageSpeed Insights tool for checking accessibility on mobile devices is available here:
https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

To use the tools, enter your web page URL and click the go button. If you need help deciphering the results, please contact us and we'll be happy to help.

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