Is your website loading slowly? How does this impact your Google search ranking?

We all know that slow sites are annoying for users. But having a slow site affects more that just the user experience — it also affects your search ranking. Google has been using page load times as a factor in search ranking algorithms since 2010, citing the simple fact that “faster sites create happy users.” That means slow sites are in double-trouble because they’re both losing out on clicks from search and failing to engage the users that actually make it to the site.

A slow site does not necessarily mean that the site was developed incorrectly. Whether it was built five years ago or five months ago, it’s necessary to make adjustments throughout the life of your site to keep up with ever-evolving industry best practices. So how do you know what adjustments to make? A lot can be learned from using Google PageSpeed Insights.

PageSpeed Insights is an excellent tool for those interested in improving their site’s performance, and a new update announced Monday (which will include enhanced mobile-specific site recommendations) makes it an even more valuable resource for total site optimization.

Via Google: PageSpeed Insights measures how a page can improve its performance on:

1. Time to above-the-fold load: Elapsed time from the moment a user requests a new page and to the moment above-the-fold content is rendered by the browser, and

2. Time to full page load: Elapsed time from the moment a user requests a new page to the moment the page is fully rendered by the browser.

PageSpeed Insights then considers the network-independent aspects of page performance: the server configuration, the HTML structure of a page, and its use of external resources such as images, JavaScript, and CSS, and makes suggestions (ranked in order of priority) that will improve the performance of the page. Click here to use the free tool.

Making the suggested changes usually only takes a few hours, but the payoff is huge. A faster site means more clicks, better visitor engagement, and a better search ranking — all of which will lead to more conversions.

If you’re interested in improving your site’s speed, contact Starkmedia today.