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Many companies and site owners focus on the look of their site. It is understandable, as the appearance of a site plays a pivotal role in how long someone will stick around when they land on it. But focusing on appearance at the expense of page speed is a huge mistake.

Understanding a Site’s Page Speed

There are two ways to describe page speed. It is either the amount of time it takes to load the entire page or the “time to first byte.” In other words, the amount of time it takes your browser to access the first byte of site information. We would say that both factors are important when determining page speed.

It is possible to use the Google PageSpeed Insights to check out page speed. A website is only optimized when its pages are loading instantly, especially on good connections. And this should happen on all devices, mobiles, tablets and computers. 

Does Page Speed Matter?

There are two reasons why page speed matters for website performance. The first reason is due to Google. The search engine does factor page speed in its algorithm that determines how pages are ranked. If your site’s pages load slowly, you will suffer in the rankings.

And the second reason why page speed is important is because of how site visitors will react. Say you are looking for information and you do a Google search. You get a few results and go for one that seems right. But the page takes ages to load. Will you persevere? Or will you go back and pick another page that does load promptly?

Reduce Redirects

Excessive page redirects can take up a lot of time, as every redirect means a site visitor is waiting for the HTTP request-response cycle to be completed. For instance, many mobile sites have a redirect pattern that goes from www.webpage.com to m.webpage.com to m.webpage.com/home.

Improving Server Response Time

Research has shown that improving server time is a very important element of boosting page speed. Many sites are quick to load after the first byte of information is received, but getting that first byte can take a few seconds, which is too long by current standards. Server response time should be 200ms or less.

Optimizing Images

There is a tendency for site owners to have images up on their pages that are far bigger than necessary. Images should be the right size and they should be properly compressed for the web. An image that is a few MB is far too large and improperly compressed for a regular web page, which is why it will slow down page loading times.

Understanding Intent

Not every user will search in the same way. While some users may search through full sentences or phrases, others may just add a few related words to get the desired result; for instance, searching “pizza Upper East Side” instead of “pizza restaurant in the Upper East side”. The research done at SEOJet.net shows that getting a good mix of anchor texts, including many that don’t contain any of your desired keywords, is more likely to be successful with Google.

Written By: Mark Debenham

I do marketing and tech things. Despite my profile picture, I don't live my life in Instagram