Why Page Speed Matters and How to Test your Page Speed Score
By Jash Unadkat, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack - April 16, 2022
A website’s speed is one of the most critical factors contributing to a positive user experience. A user is more likely to bounce if a website takes too long to load. This infographic from Neil Patel reveals that 40% of people bounce from a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
But does Page Speed actually affect SEO rankings? Also, how would someone test the page load time for a website?
This article answers both of those questions.
What is Page Speed?
As the term suggests, Page Speed is a measurement for identifying how fast the content on specific page loads.
Note: Page Speed and Site Speed are often used interchangeably. However, they are different. Page Speed can either mean ‘page-load time’ (the amount of time taken to display the content of a specific page completely) or ‘time to first byte’ (time taken by the browser to load the first byte of information from the server)
A support document from Google defines Site speed as a measurement of how quickly users can view and interact with content across the site. At an advanced level, Site Speed represents three aspects:
- Page-load time for a sample of pageviews on a specific site
- Load time of any user interaction (loading of images, response time), event, or discrete hit
- The time is taken by a browser to parse a specific document to make it available for the end-user
Why is Page Speed Important?
Websites with faster Page Speed provide a seamless user experience. On the contrary, websites with longer load times tend to have high bounce rates and reduced average page time.
An infographic from Kissmetrics also reveals that a delay of 1 second in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversion rate. Longer load times not only affect conversion rates but also affect how users perceive online brands. Page speed importance is undeniable in nature for those looking for a highly optimized led high conversion rate website. How important is page speed, then? Well, it’s a make-or-break situation for any eCommerce platform or a Shopify online store where their product pages end up in slow load screens, and off goes their potential customers.
Additionally, if a website is too slow, then it is probably taking a hit in the search engines, too, which is not an excellent sign for your marketing teams. This raises an important question.
Does Page Speed Affect SEO Rankings?
Yes, Page Speed does affect website rankings, especially in Google search engines. In 2010, Google’s former head of web spam, Matt Cutts officially admitted that Google considers fast load speed as a positive ranking factor.
However, while Google has been clear about the impacts of Page Speed, they have also cautioned the website owners not to sacrifice content relevancy in the name of faster web pages.
Mobile users expect speed too. Observing the gradual exponential growth in mobile traffic, Google started experimenting with a new project: “Mobile-First index” in 2016. According to Google, Mobile-First indexing is a technique that predominantly focuses on indexing and ranking mobile versions of the website. This project was made live on July 1st, 2019.
Note: Google continues to use only one index; no separate mobile-first index is maintained.
To learn about the best practices of mobile-first indexing, refer to this official documentation. One can easily see how Google is constantly striving to provide a seamless and optimized user experience on mobile devices. Google is speed-obsessed with its products and services. Therefore web developers should be aware of the importance of optimizing their websites for mobile devices.
How To Test Website Page Speed Score?
Fortunately, several tools are available on the internet, making it easy to identify speed bottlenecks and speed improvements, regardless of the tech stack used in developing the site. A user-friendly website is supposed to be:
- Intuitive & Easy to Navigate
- Mobile Compatible
- Cross-Device Compatible
- Quick Loading
One of the tools that help evaluate Website Speed insights effortlessly is – Speed Lab by BrowserStack. Speed Lab instantly provides you Page Speed Score out of 100 for both Desktop and Mobile platforms. With these insights, your website optimization team can get to work on creating a user-friendly website.
Refer to the illustration below for a glimpse
A unique offering of this tool is that the Page Speed test is executed across a range of widely used device-browser combinations. These tests are conducted on real devices that are hosted on BrowserStack’s real device cloud.
Users also don’t have to worry about generating separate reports for different device-browser combinations. Once the test is executed, users receive detailed and extensive reports regarding the Page Load time in milliseconds for each platform.
Although multiple tools are available for speed analysis in the market, BrowserStack stands out in delivering accurate test results (every time) for a highly fragmented digital environment.
Evaluating and optimizing website speed is mandatory for website developers to keep up with a competitive and evolving search landscape. Enhancing the site’s speed improves not only search rankings but also improves user experience. Doing so ensures that organizations do not miss out on potential customers, lead generation, conversions, and revenue.
Pro-Tip: Geolocation testing with BrowserStack also ensures that your website is viewed as intended across geographies and targeted regions, thereby speeding up your globular access.
Your QA team can test location-based scenarios using GPS and IP geolocation for:
- Geotargeting: Verify that your mobile app or website delivers content localized to a user’s location.
- Geofencing: Test that your mobile app triggers the right notification when a user crosses a predefined geographical perimeter.
- Geotagging: Test if your website or mobile app tags the right location to media, such as photos, videos, and social posts. Test if your users are able to find the geotagged media.