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Why page load speed is so important and how it affects SEO on your website.

In today’s age of technology countless amounts of people access the Internet for millions of websites and links. With the abundance of websites and searches, Google uses a multitude of factors to determine how to rank search engine results. Typically, the factors, for this selection process, are related to the content of a webpage itself including:

  • Text
  • URL
  • Titles
  • Headers,
  • Links (internal & external)
  • Image alt tags
  • etc.

Another factor involves measurements of the authenticity of the website itself consisting of age of the domain name, number and quality of inbound links, etc. In 2010, Google did something very different: it announced that the website speed would begin having an impact on search ranking. Now, the speed at which someone could view the content from a search result would be a factor within their algorithms. When people say “page load time” for a website, they usually mean one of two measurements: “document complete” time or “fully rendered” time.

What page speed load times means for retailers.

According to KissMetrics, the four- to five-second differential in search results and load time is costing retailers billions. In fact, according to their findings, a one-second delay in page response can lead to a seven percent reduction in sales.

Social sharing buttons delay the loading of your website content, which in turn makes your search ranking drop. t’s a problem for end users simply because longer page times delay the instant gratification the typical internet user wants out of life. The slower your page is to load, the more likely they are to back off and try a different search result. Stay away from social media buttons and input a social media link to the profile page instead. Why? Because by the time the script has loaded and feeds back and forth between the servers, API’s, etc. a lot of load time has been lost and that counts for ONE button only. Now repeat for several more buttons and you have pretty much lost an entire second. If you would like to put a social media share button onto the website, put it ON THE BOTTOM of the page to allow the rest of the information to load first.

What can anybody do to result in a more successful experience with their websites?

Most sites use databases to store information; however, your database can impact your page speed. The addition of an index is one of the best ways to start optimizing your database for page speed improvements. Doing so will help your database find information quicker. Instead of having to scan millions of records, your database can rely on an index to narrow down the data to a few hundred, causing the data to be returned to the page much faster.
Website developers always look toward new needed and viable information to help boost their business and/or revenue. While tracking codes are vital for analyzing user behavior onsite, marketers should review each analytics program and determine which is necessary. Simplicity continues to represent a key model for designing many ideas and objects’ success. Every time another tracking code (like Google Analytics) becomes added to your page, it begins to slow it down. For tracking codes you do include, be sure to put it at the bottom of the page. That way, the page can be displayed to the user even if the code hasn’t finished loading yet.

This will help prioritize the marketing benefits rather than the negative impact to page speed. The manager of these or a particular website needs to balance the risk of a slower page speed with the benefits of each initiative. In order to make the responsible decision by testing the change and analyzing the effect on rankings and traffic against your KPIs. Multiple videos or share buttons on a page can dramatically slow down load time. The use of tracking codes, embed videos, and included share buttons can be viable but stay selective.

How Page Loading Works

When you visit a web page for the first time, your browser needs to request all the images, text, scripts, etc. from the website’s server. They are stored in your browser’s cache so that when you visit other pages on the site, you only need to download the parts of it that are unique. For example, the site’s logo or slogan will likely be the same on every page, so that is an image the browser can load from its cache quickly.

Website’s servers being physically located in a particular area, should allow websites to load quickly for residents there because the processed data only travels a short distance from the server to their computer. Putting in the aspect of reality with having visitors to websites whom are great distances away and even separate countries, the web page data must travel from server to user, stopping at multiple routers along the way.

This delay, or “latency,” is added to every single byte of data that is transferred — every image, every video, every javascript file, every CSS file, etc. The perfect solution to this very dominate problem would be the involvement and use of a content delivery network (CDN). A CDN has servers all over the world, and they’ll store a copy of your website on those servers. This way, no matter where a visitor is, they’ll have access to content resident on a nearby server. With the acknowledgment of the use of CDNs, there are plenty of them available; however, most are usually paid services. Google is offering a free CDN called PageSpeed Service but only as a trial period.

Within Google Webmaster Tools you now have access to “PageSpeed Insights.” This tool analyzes a given URL’s page load speed, and gives you tips on how to make improvements. It is particularly valuable because Google uses a similar speed analysis as a factor in your rankings. Using this tool will allow you to see what Google sees and not only on your computer but your mobile devices too.