Page load speed is a UX consideration. How can we check the speed of our pages and improve it?

What is Page Loading speed?

The time it takes a webpage to load is measured by its page speed. Many variables, such as a site’s server, page file size, and image compression, affect how quickly page loads. Page Speed isn’t as simple to understand as it may seem.
That’s because there are numerous methods for determining page speed. Three of the most typical are listed here:

Page Loading Speed

Fully loaded page

This is the time it takes for a page to load 100% of its resources. This is the simplest way to gauge how quickly the page loads.

Time to First Byte

This indicator shows how long it takes for a page to begin loading. If you’ve ever landed on a page and stood there for a few seconds, you’ve seen TTFB in action.

First Meaningful Paint/First Contextual Paint

It takes time for a page to load enough of its resources for a user to view the content on that page. Let’s take the scenario where your blog post takes 10 seconds to load fully.

If you just consider how long it takes for the full website to load, then that is a considerable amount of time. On the other side, focusing on First Meaningful Paint can occasionally be a better representation of how consumers really engage with your website as it loads. Take the webpage that requires 10 seconds to fully load all of its resources as an illustration.
The first time a user loads the page, they see a “First Meaningful Paint” after 1.5 seconds, despite the fact that it takes some time for the complete page to load. They can therefore practically immediately begin interacting with your page. Hence, your page appears quickly to users.
In summary, there are many different techniques to gauge page speed. Moreover, there is no one “correct” statistic that outperforms them all. Pros and negatives can be found in each of them. Instead, concentrate on enhancing your page’s loading time for all of the metrics you discover.

What is the normal time for a page to load?

According to Google Research, the average mobile web page loads in 15.3 seconds. The issue, according to the same survey, is brought on by the overwhelming number of page elements on mobile websites. Although though 4G rather than 3G accounts for the majority of web traffic, this issue still exists.

What constitutes a good page load?

A 2019 study by Portent found that the ideal page load time is between 0 and 4 seconds, with the first five seconds having the greatest influence on conversion rates. In actuality, pages that load in 0 to 2 seconds have the highest e-commerce conversion rates. Website conversion rates decline by an average of 4.42% for every extra second it takes for the page to load.

How does page load time work?

The “stopwatch” starts when a user submits a request and finishes when all of the page’s content has been shown to the user’s browser. An example request-response cycle with the many processes that affect how quickly a page load is shown below:

The user clicks a hyperlink, inputs a URL, or submits a form.
• Over the network, the browser sends a request to the server.
• The web server handles the request.
• The response is returned to the browser by the web server.
• The requested page starts to load in the browser (known as the time to the first byte)
• A browser loads, parses and displays the content of a page.
• The browser displays the complete requested page.

SEO Best Practices

According to Google, one of the signals utilized by its algorithm to rank pages is site speed, which also affects page speed. Moreover, studies have indicated that when evaluating page performance, Google may be particularly calculating time to the first byte. Also, if your page loads slowly, search engines will be able to crawl fewer pages with their allotted budget, which could hurt how well your site is indexed.
The user experience is also impacted by page speed. Longer loading times are associated with higher bounce rates and shorter average time on the page. Conversions have been observed to suffer from long load times as well.

The following are a few of the numerous methods for shortening website load times

Enable compression

Reduce the size of your CSS, HTML, and JavaScript files that are more than 150 bytes using the file compression program Gzip. Gzip shouldn’t be used on picture files. Instead, you should compress images in a tool like Photoshop where you can still edit the image’s quality.

JavaScript, CSS, and HTML minification

You may significantly speed up your page by optimizing your code (including deleting spaces, commas, and other unused characters).

Normal Code

Remove formatting, unneeded code, and code comments as well. Using CSSNano and UglifyJS is advised by Google.

minification

Fewer redirects

Your visitor must wait longer each time a page switches to another page while the HTTP request-response cycle runs its course. If your mobile redirect pattern looks like this, for instance:

example.com -> www.example.com -> m.example.com -> m.example.com/home

Deleting render-blocking JavaScript

Before rendering a page, browsers must parse HTML in order to construct a DOM tree. If your browser runs upon a script while doing this, it must halt the operation and run the script before moving on. Blocking JavaScript should be used as little as possible, according to Google

Make use of browser caching

In order to save time when a visitor returns to your website, browsers save a lot of information (including stylesheets, pictures, JavaScript files, and more). Check your cache’s expiration date to determine whether it has already been set using a tool like YSlow. After that, specify in your “expires” header how long you want the data to remain cached. Unless your website’s design is constantly changing, in many circumstances.

Increase the speed of server response

The volume of traffic, the resources each page needs, the server software you employ, and the hosting service you choose all have an impact on how quickly your server responds to requests. Search for and fix performance bottlenecks like sluggish database queries, delayed routing, or insufficient RAM if you want to increase the speed at which your server responds to requests. A server should respond in under 200 milliseconds. Find out more about how to improve your time to the first byte.

Make use of a content distribution network

Networks of servers are used in content distribution networks (CDNs), also known as content delivery networks, to distribute the workload associated with delivering content. So that users may access your site more quickly and reliably, copies of your site are essentially kept in numerous, geographically dispersed data centers.

Optimise Images

Make sure your images are no larger than they need to be, that they are in the proper file type (JPEGs are typically preferable for photographs, although PNGs are normally better for graphics with fewer than 16 colors) and that they are compressed for the web.

For pictures, you commonly use on your website, such as buttons and icons, utilize CSS sprites to make a template. CSS sprites combine your images into a single, huge image that loads all at once (resulting in fewer HTTP requests) and then only displays the portions that you want to be visible. By preventing viewers from having to wait while many images load, you are reducing load time.

Why Is Page Speed Important for SEO?

On both desktop and mobile, page load time has been proven to affect rankings.
To put it another way: Better rankings may be influenced by faster loading times in addition to other significant signals. Your search engine rankings are impacted by page speed since users have a terrible experience on slow websites. In fact, Google claims that if it takes more than three seconds for your page to load, the likelihood of a bounce virtually triples.

Yet, it’s critical to be clear:

“Page speed” is not one metric in isolation. It serves as an umbrella phrase.

Why?

As there are numerous techniques to gauge page speed. (See some of the tools that can achieve this below.) Consider the case where a person types a domain into their web browser and clicks “enter.” The website launched shortly after that. Sometimes, a blank page is what the user sees right away. Users see some elements a few milliseconds (or seconds) later. A paragraph of words or an image, perhaps. When specific conditions are met, the user can engage with the page. For instance, they could press a button. The content of the page could change as new elements load while people wait.

On occasion, users have already found what they were seeking by the time the page has fully loaded. In other instances, they gave up and closed the page. As you can see, a lot takes place when loading a website. Also, the pace of things changes. You can measure each of these occurrences independently. Due to the fact that there are other metrics involved, we say that page speed is not one of them.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is single-page sessions divided by all sessions or the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page and triggered only a single request to the Analytics server.

This is currently the Bounce Rate of my website

For the website need to run it should have a low bounce rate and a high average (engagement) time per session.

What Is SEO?

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a set of techniques aimed at enhancing the look and positioning of web pages in natural search results. Since organic search is the most popular method for users to find and access online information, having a strong SEO strategy is crucial for increasing both the quality and volume of visitors to your website.

Why is SEO important?

Let’s divide our concept into three components to better comprehend the benefits of SEO:

Organic search results

The unpaid listings on a search engine results page (SERP) that the search engine has judged are most pertinent to the user’s query and are known as organic search results. Several SERPs contain a sizable amount of adverts, more specifically PPC or pay-per-click ads. In contrast to these adverts, organic search results are positioned according to the search engine’s organic ranking algorithms rather than advertiser bids. You cannot purchase a higher position for your page in organic search results.

Quality of organic traffic

How relevant the user’s search query and the material on your website are to each other define the quality of organic traffic. Even if you manage to draw in the largest number of visitors, if they arrive at your website believing you to be an authority on Apple computers when in fact you are a farmer selling apples, they are likely to depart without making a purchase. Only people who are really interested in the services, resources, or other content your site offers are included in high-quality traffic. High-quality SEO takes advantage of the efforts made by search engines to match users’ search intentions with the web pages presented in the SERP.

Quantity of organic traffic

The number of users who arrive at your website through natural search results. Because search results that are near the top of the SERP are far more likely to be clicked on by users, it’s critical to employ your SEO strategy to rank relevant pages as high as you can. You are more likely to notice an increase in worthwhile conversions the more highly-qualified visitors you draw to your website.

How does SEO work?

Crawlers, which are sometimes referred to as bots or spiders, are used by search engines like Google and Bing to gather data on all the content they can locate online. Starting from a well-known web page, the crawler tracks both external and internal links to other pages on that site. The crawler is able to comprehend the semantic relationships between each page and the other pages in the vast database, or index, of the search engine thanks to the content on those pages and the context of the links it followed.

The search engine utilizes sophisticated algorithms to compile a list of results it considers to be the most accurate and helpful for a user’s query after they enter it or voice it into the search box. Websites with a lot of text, news stories, pictures, videos, listings for nearby businesses, and other more specialized sorts of information can all be found among these organic results.

The algorithms used by search engines depend on a wide range of variables, all of which are constantly changing to reflect changes in user behavior and developments in machine learning.

By developing and implementing search marketing strategies that balance on-page, off-page, and technological best practices, SEOs draw on their knowledge of these ranking variables. An enterprise should adopt a strategy that prioritizes user experience, uses non-manipulative ranking techniques, and changes along with search engines and users’ evolving habits in order to achieve and sustain high SERP rankings and, as a result, plenty of high-quality user traffic.

It should be noted that although other digital marketing strategies like conversion rate optimization (CRO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media management, email marketing, and community management are frequently intertwined with SEO, they are typically outside the purview and definition of traditional search marketing.

How to Measure Page Speed

You must evaluate the effectiveness of your web pages before making any site improvements. To test and gauge page speed, you can use a variety of tools. Pingdom Website Speed Test and GTmetrix are two well-liked choices that are suitable for beginners.
But, Google PageSpeed Insights is where we advise you to start. You can use this simple tool to gauge and evaluate the speed of your web pages on desktop and mobile platforms. Additionally, because it is a Google-supported tool, it may assist you in ensuring that you are meeting the performance standards necessary for top search result rankings.

In order to utilize PageSpeed Insights, just type the URL of the website you wish to test into the text area and click the Analyze button:
Your page’s content will then be evaluated by PageSpeed Insights, which will provide it a score between 0 and 100. The following tips on how to speed up page loading are listed below your score:

Mobile Version

It’s important to note that both the desktop and mobile versions of your site will receive a different score and list of recommendations. You can use this information as a good starting point for evaluating how quickly your web pages load and suggest practical steps you can take to do so.

Desktop Version

What is user engagement?

The level of interaction or “engagement” users have with your website or service determines how valuable they perceive your offering to be. As a user downloads, shares navigate, and engages with your product’s tools and features, you can know if they are interested in their behavior.

Reference

1- https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/page-load-time-conversion-rates#:~:text=According%20to%20a%202019%20study,times%20between%200%2D2%20seconds.
2- https://moz.com/learn/seo/page-speed
3- https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-reduce-your-websites-page-speed
4- https://www.semrush.com/blog/page-speed/
5- https://moz.com/learn/seo/what-is-seo

Other Links

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1OpiMKfI_th92ezyK4QzIjV6uH2inwzNV?usp=sharing