We’ve mentioned a few times already that people hate long loading times. This is especially true with mobile searching and, as Google shifts greater focus towards its mobile first index, loading times are arguably becoming a more important matter.
So, then, what contributes to a sites loading time? The average smart phone is very reliable these days, so a large body of text alone isn’t going to cause a problem. In fact, many of the answers lie within proper website optimisation.
How To Know Your Loading Speed?
Before we begin, it’s worth knowing how to first check your websites loading times. The easiest way to do this is to use Google’s PageSpeed Insights – this is a free tool which will give you a rough idea of how your site is doing.
However, it only gives a rough overview of the entire site. For better analysis, don’t be afraid to test the site yourself, over various devices, and even look at bounce rates and other factors on Google Analytics. You will likely find your larger pages, or pages with unique features, have different loading times to others.
Large images take a long time to load. Optimising your images can solve this problem by reducing them to the correct size. This way, the website doesn’t have to both load and compress the images at the same time.
Of course, this makes a difference on websites with plenty of images, but even banners, headers and other digital graphics can have an impact here.
Done well, caching can be very benefical for SEO. There are many different ways to cache your website – not just via Google’s chosen system – but they all do the same thing: storing an older version of your website that can be given to users.
This has been shown to reduce loading times and, importantly, it can keep your website up should you have server difficulties. The information might not be up to date but, for many websites, this isn’t a priority.
Another issue you might find is that your pages actually load quite quickly, but users still have a negative experience due to excessive redirects.
If you’ve changed your URL or, for some reason, have had to redirect a lot of pages, you might have a chain. You may find a series of redirects leads to an older page, which is now pointed at your landing page. As such, users have to wait while search engines follow this chain before landing on the page.
This is also an area that impacts users based on how they browse. Mobile users getting by on a network, or even on Wi-Fi with a low bandwidth, will take even longer as a result. This risks losing traffic, even when you’re visible on Google. Don’t be afraid to regularly analyse your redirects and ensure they aren’t creating long, interlinked chains.