Whether you’re interested in creating a better user experience for your visitors or you want to boost your SEO rankings, it’s essential to spend time managing your website’s page speed. Page speed is an SEO ranking factor that can be defined most simply by the amount of time it takes for a webpage to load. A page’s loading speed is determined by several different factors, including a site’s server, page file size, and image compression.

Ultimately, the quicker your page loads, the higher it will rank in Google search results. After all, for most people, page speed conjures up memories of trying to access a page only to be met with a frustratingly blank screen that’s loading… loading… loading… for longer than you’re willing to wait. That said, page speed isn’t as straightforward as it sounds.

What’s the Difference Between Page Speed and Site Speed?

It’s a common misconception that “page speed” and “site speed” are synonymous. On the contrary, while they both influence conversion, UX, and pageviews, their impact is very different. Here’s what you need to know about the distinctions.

Site Speed

Site speed refers to how quickly a browser can load multiple fully functional webpages on a given site. The metric refers not to a single page but rather the average of several sample pages on a website. Site speed focuses on rendering, pre-rendering, and seamlessly guiding users through the various important paths and funnels you define within your site.

Page Speed

Page speed, on the other hand, specifically refers to the loading time of a singular webpage. Page speed is defined as the length of time it takes to display all the content on a specific page as well as how long it takes for a browser to receive a web server’s first byte. 

Every element of a single page—from its HTML code and CSS that styles page elements to various JavaScript files and images—affects its page speed. It’s also important to note that page speed is measured on desktop and mobile devices separately since technological differences result in an altered experience for desktop and mobile users.

Why Does Page Speed Matter for Your Site?

Setting SEO aside, page speed is important from a purely user-friendly perspective. Faster pages are more efficient and provide a much better on-page user experience. If a page is too slow, a user may exit your site and head over to a competitor. In fact, data from SEO experts indicates that more than a quarter of users will click away if a page takes longer than three seconds to load.

Google has used page speed as a ranking factor since 2010, with a significant upgrade in terms of its importance arriving in 2018. From an SEO perspective, a slow page will hurt Google rankings. The question then becomes, how does Google determine your page’s loading speed? Several metrics affect or relate to page speed, including the following:

  • Load time: This metric looks at how long it takes for an entire page to display in a browser’s window. For this to happen, all files and scripts must be loaded and all HTTP requests must be fulfilled.
  • Page size: When determining a page’s speed, Google will look at the total size of all resources on that page, which includes code elements, scripts, images, and other files.
  • Time to first byte (TTFB): This metric measures the time between a browser requesting the page and the first byte of the information that’s returned by the server.
  • Round trip time (RTT): Google will also consider the time it takes for the browser to make the request, reach the server, and then finally return to the browser.

Google puts a premium on page speed because it’s a way of determining a site’s quality and gauging user experience. Sites that perform well with this metric are rewarded with a high ranking. When optimized, page speed leads to more traffic from organic searches and, ultimately, a more successful website overall.

The bottom line is that visitors will be more likely to stick around when load speeds are quick. Your page will also be more likely to rank on the first page of Google leading to a massive improvement in organic visitors, a critical metric for successful sites. For help improving page speed on your site, contact the SEO and content experts at Market My Market today.

Trust Market My Market to Give You an Edge

At Market My Market, we aim to help your website outperform your competitors’ sites so you can dominate your niche. We offer multiple web design and web development packages to make sure your site stays swift and up-to-date. To find out how we can improve your page speeds and ultimately catapult your website to the top of search engine results, contact the experts at Market My Market for a free consultation today.