Your website is one of your most powerful marketing tools with customers and search engines alike. Contrary to what you may think, page speed and user experience play a major role in how well your website ranks online. Users don’t have the patience for a website that takes too long to load – this is nothing new. According to a report by digital.com, 90% of visitors will abandon a web page that takes longer than 2-3 seconds to load, which directly correlates to user experience.
If users are leaving your website due to page speed, that means they aren’t sticking around to make a purchase or interact with your site. Page speed and user experience are intertwined and are key factors in Google’s Core Web Vitals. So how can you eliminate issues and make your website faster? In this article, we break down how page speed fits into user experience and SEO, and what you can do to improve your own site.
Google’s Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals (CWVs) are a set of specific factors that Google uses to evaluate a webpage’s overall user experience. They are made up of three specific page measurements:
- Loading Speed: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
- Responsiveness and Interactivity: First Input Delay (FID)
- Visual Stability: Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
Other web vitals include mobile friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS, and no intrusive interstitials. CWVs were introduced in 2020 to provide a more user-centric metric for rating your page’s user experience. It provides Google with a ranking signal to help evaluate how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page.
Google’s constant mission is to deliver the best results for search queries. A site that’s slow, not responsive, difficult to navigate, and not mobile-friendly isn’t the ideal result to deliver to the end user.
Page Speed and User Experience
It’s important to note the correlation between page speed and user experience. Great page experience alone won’t push you to the #1 spot in Google, nor will fast loading time. Google states:
“While page experience is important, Google still seeks to rank pages with the best information overall, even if the page experience is subpar. Great page experience doesn’t override having great page content. However, in cases where there are many pages that may be similar in relevance, page experience can be much more important for visibility in Search.”
This tells us that while quality content still reigns supreme, the overall page experience weighs heavily on how well websites rank. Ignoring these Core Web Vitals can have a huge impact on your site’s visibility and overall SEO.
How to Improve Server Response Time
To ensure your website’s with Google’s CWV algorithms, it’s important to implement these factors in your site and eliminate any page speed issues. To help find areas that need improvement, make sure to run a PageSpeed Insights Report.
If your report shows a low score, make it a priority to improve these components. Here are some ways to eliminate any page speed issues:
Optimize and Compress Images
This seems like a no-brainer, right? However, often site owners don’t realize that the largest elements weighing down their website speed are images. Optimizing your images can significantly improve your loading speed, LCP score, UX, and your overall rankings on search engines. Adobe Photoshop has the ability to optimize and compress images. You can also utilize a plug-in, such as Imagify to reduce the size of your images.
Implement Lazy Loading
Along with optimizing your images, be sure to set up lazing loading for your site. Lazy loading enables images to only load when someone scrolls down your page. This means you can achieve LCD significantly faster by not compromising the website’s loading speed.
Proper caching allows the web browser to pull up assets from the local cache instead of making a new request to the server every single time. Optimal caching can significantly improve the page’s load speed without reducing the server’s response time. WordPress and most other CMS options have caching plugins that can reduce the load on your site’s database and improve your CWVs dramatically.
In many cases, a high server response time is caused by a bad web hosting provider, particularly if you are using shared hosting versus dedicated hosting. Be sure to look for a web hosting service that offers features such as a 100% uptime guarantee, free SSL certificate, included SSD storage, and free site migration.
Audit Plug-ins, Redirects, and Unused coding
Although there are over 200 factors Google uses to rank sites in Search, page speed and user experience are a big chunk of all of it. If you improve your website’s overall performance, it makes your website better in general, and the better your page experience score with be with search engines.
Take action now to improve your website; not only for the search engines but for potential consumers as well. For more website tips or to get help creating or optimizing your website, please contact our team for a free digital consultation.