In its latest episode of the SEO Mystbusting video series on the Google Webmaster’s YouTube Channel, Google talks about page speed and rankings in detail.
In the third episode of season two of the video series, Martin Splitt (Developer Advocate, Google) and Eric Enge (General Manager of Digital, Perficient) started the talk by discussing the general misconception about page speed and ranking. The most common misconception is that page speed is the most important factor if you want to increase the rankings. CEOs and marketers focusing on SEO think that improving page speed would escalate their page rankings and would ultimately increase engagement and conversion. According to Eric Enge, it is a myth that page speed is the ‘most important’ factor to increase page rankings.
Why Page Speed is important?
We all know that how frustrating it is to wait for any website to load and its content to appear. Page speed is important because it provides a better experience for the users. Therefore, it makes sense for any search engine to consider fast websites to rank better than slower ones. While developing websites, one needs to consider that there are many areas of the world with poor internet facilities.
Page Speed vs Content Relevancy
Relevancy of the content is a much important factor to consider than the speed of the page. If your page speed is faster but the content doesn’t match the needs of the users, then your website is not likely to rank higher. Google ranks websites from the user’s perspectives and users would want to visit the website with the most relevant content.
Average vs Recommended Web Page Size
On average, it takes about 15.2 seconds to load a page. Page speed depends on the size of the page. According to Google recommendations, the page size should be around 500 KB. The fewer (kilobytes) the better, says Splitt. Reality is different from the recommendation as the average page size in every market is in megabytes.
If you want to increase the speed of your page, you have to convert those MBs into KBs.
Page Speed Optimization
There are a few things people are doing the right way when it comes to page optimization. As an example, Enge mentioned that they realize that keeping the image size to a minimum is beneficial to the page speed. Another important technique to consider while developing a website is lazy loading. Lazy loading is a practice that ensures that images are not loaded until a user scrolls down. Also, consider purchasing a quality web hosting for your website.
The Intricacies of Lighthouse Reports, Data, and Scores
Another useful tool for measuring the quality of web pages is Google Lighthouse. It audits performance, accessibility, and SEO of web pages so that developers can implement changes to improve the performance of the pages. People get stuck on these reports when they implement a change and don’t notice an immediate increase in page speed. Most of these issues are threaded, says Eric Enge, which means that it takes a combination of changes to improve page speed.
Accessing a page and facing issues from your browser and internet connection doesn’t always mean that other users would also be facing the same issues.
Page Speed on the Different User Devices and Connections
It is completely understood that not all people have the same devices and connections. You may have a decent smartphone and it would load a page much faster than some other device. Through Google Analytics, it can be figured out which device is most commonly used by your visitors. Splitt suggests buying the most prevalent device accessing your website and take actions accordingly to optimize the web pages.
Page Speed, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), and Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is not a ranking factor as most people think. AMP is optimized for mobile web browsing and intended to help webpages load faster. So, it is an important tool to improve user experiences accessing your web pages through mobile phones but it is not a ranking factor.
More on Page Speed as a factor in Google Search Ranking
Content is still the king as far as the ranking of a website is concerned, says Enge. Splitt concluded the discussion by adding that if two pages have almost the same level of relevance in content, then the page with faster speed would rank higher.
To watch the complete video on Page Speed: SEO Mystbusting, click here.