The speed of page load is one of the many measurements Google (and I’m sure other search engines) use you score your website.
You might well ask why speed is so important these days.
Google’s primary focus of its search engine is to offer a free research tool to the general public. They offer a commercial angle to this through their Adwords service. Google simply insist that their customers and users have an excellent experience so that they continue coming back and use the search engine again and again.
They’ve done a great job over the years maintaining their high standards of user experience despite the constant attempts by some to “game” the system to gain higher search engine results to drive sales. Anyone promising to get you to the top of the search engines in a matter of days is likely gaming the system and whatever they are up to will soon be rendered useless by the owners of the search engine.
So what’s this got to do with your website and it’s page load speed?
In this day and age with 70% or more of online browsing carried out on a mobile device, which in turn runs a lightweight browser to help extend battery life, it’s super important that Googles sees your website page load times as fast as possible. It means their users are having a good experience after Google has referred them to your website.
If your website page is slow on loading, Google measures this and use this information to have their results algorithms calculate where your site should appear in their search engine results pages (SERPS).
So, you at least need to know if your site loading fast.
You can do this using a few free services available online. Each service measures and displays your results in a different way, so it’s a good idea to use them all and average your results to get a better idea of the actual speed of your site. Since there’s so much data available from these services, it’s handy if you focus on one figure – first contentful paint (fcp). That one represents the result that’s closest to how a human would see your website page loading in their browser. Google keeps a very close guard on their algorithms, so no one except Google themselves really knows what they measure and use to generate the SERPS.
Here are a few services you can try.
GT Metrix is a comprehensive service with lots of information on how you can improve your site page speed. It is worth opening a free account and selecting a test service closest to your website server for a more accurate indication of how your site is performing.
Pingdom Tools is certainly a service you should check. Again, ensure you select a test that matches your webserver location to get a closer idea of how quick your website page is loading.
Web Page Test is another very comprehensive testing service. I like this one since it will automatically run the website speed test 3 times automatically and help you see your average results without too much fuss. The same rule applies here in that you should select your testing location that matches your webserver location.
Once you have your results you will know whether you need to improve things. Generally, a website page that takes over 3 seconds to load needs improvement. The services mentioned above should be able to indicate what you should do to improve your results. If you are not so sure how or where to make those improvements, get in touch and I should be able to help you.