You have done everything right. You have mastered the art of SEO and built a perfect site structure, but your website still isn’t ranking on search engine results pages. What else can you do?
Have you thought of testing your site speed to see how fast your website shows up on a user’s screen?
Think about it.
If your website speed is slow to load, the search engine will know this and subsequently keep your website from ranking on SERPs (search engine results pages). It is such an obvious, yet overlooked, concept.
So before you fall victim to this and find yourself with lackluster traffic, you should check your site speed load time to see how it is faring up against the competition. A difference of split seconds can determine the performance of your site, the experience a customer has and the ranking on a SERP.
How to Measure Your Website Speed
There are many resources online you can use to measure your site speed. Google PageSpeed Insights is one of those tools. By analyzing the URL you wish to test, you can receive immediate insights for the speed of your website on both desktop and mobile devices.
When you analyze your website’s URL, you will receive a numerical color score.
- 0 – 49 is red (slow)
- 50 – 89 is orange (average)
- 90 – 100 is green (fast)
With Google PageSpeed Insights, you will receive an overall score, as well as a score for each area of your website: First Contentful Paint, First Meaningful Paint, Speed Index, First CPU Idle, Time to Interactive, and Max Potential First Input Delay.
This allows you to determine which area of your website is lacking the most and how to correct the issue.
Why Does the Speed of My Website Matter?
As we mentioned in the introduction, you could essentially be doing everything right when it comes to optimizing your website’s search engine results, but if you have a slow website, you can inadvertently hurt your chances of ranking on a SERP.
Search engines crawl the internet looking for websites to index into a database. The easier your website is structured and optimized, the greater chance your website will rank on SERPs; but one of the factors that search engine bots taken into consideration is site speed. If your website takes a long time to load and index, the search engine will know this and likely reduce the chance that your website shows up on SERPs.
Think of it this way.
If there are two identical websites with the same SEO and site structure, but one website is painstakingly slower than the other, which one do you think a search engine will likely rank above the other on the SERP?
You guessed it. The faster one. This is because the search engine knows that websites that are quicker to load appeal to users. After all, a search engine is a business too, and they don’t want to deliver useless results to users.
What is Making My Website Slow?
There are a few areas of concern you want to familiarize yourself with when it comes to your website speed.
Web hosting is an important factor when it comes to loading time. If your website is running slow, look at the host. Are you using a shared host or a managed host? Do you know what the difference is?
A shared host is exactly what it sounds like. It is a server that hosts multiple websites. This includes everything related to the websites being hosted: files, html, codes, you name it. While shared hosts are cheap (as little as $3.00/month), the site speed can be a downside.
A managed host is a web host that uses a single server for the website being hosted. Typically, speed issues are less of a threat for a website on a managed host, and if they are an issue, the web host will take care of this for you.
Sometimes an abundance of large images, especially on the homepage of the website, can delay the website from opening quickly. Take a look at the size and quality of images on your homepage to see if you can optimize them.
One way to optimize images is to use the correct format for the image type. JPEG formats work best with photographs, while PNG formats work best with graphics. Changing the format of the images on your webpage can enhance the speed of your website.
You can also use one of many products out there to optimize your images. We use ShortPixel and think it rocks.
Are You Redirecting Your Website?
While it is such an easy and useful resource, a redirect can slow down the speed of your site. Consider removing the redirect to make your website faster.
Is Your Site Still Slow?
If you have tried all of these solutions and nothing seems to be helping your site speed, you should look into using a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
A content delivery network is a network of web servers that will send a user who is visiting your website to the nearest server to view your website. This makes your website speed faster which helps your SEO. One of the great advantages of a CDN is that it can speed up your website even if you are using a shared host.
If you don’t want to find a CDN, you can move your website to a new host. A managed host will allow your website to be stored on an entire single server not shared with anyone else. Managed hosting is more expensive than shared hosting, but you also receive the benefit of avoiding slow site speeds.
Last, you should consider caching your website. Website caching is where the readers who visit your website will see a copy of your website that is stored on the host to prevent a server lag. Website caching prevents your website from continuously loading each time to a user’s computer. This makes the speed of the website substantially faster because it does not have to reload the content each time.
Keeping Your Site Speedy
Site speed is important for both reader satisfaction and search engine optimization. If you want to rank on SERPs, you need to frequently check your site speed to determine if you can make any adjustments to your website for better search engine optimization and web performance.