SEO Knowledgebase 101: Does Website Page Load Affect SEO Rankings?

SEO Knowledgebase 101: Does Website Page Load Affect SEO Rankings?

Yes, it does. It is always important to ensure your website is speedy and loads fast. Not only does it make it quicker for search bots to crawl your website or blog, but Google and other search engines will not rank your website as highly if your website is slow to load.

Why? Because it is a bad end user experience – and so Google factors this into account when ranking websites – because users do not want to be finding the first search result to be website that has good content but takes an eternity to load.

How can I make sure my website or blog loads fast?

Well, it goes without saying making sure the web hosting provider you are with has a fast and speedy web server. If the web server is slow, your website slow – which then affects your search engine optimisation rankings.

But as importantly is optimising your website to make sure it loads fast. Things such as optimising the images you have on your website or blog – compressing them using free tools such as Trimage on Linux, ImageOptim on OS X and similar free utilities for Windows. You’d be surprised at how much compression utilities can reduce the size of your files without compromising on the visible quality of the image itself.

If you really wanted to go further, you can compress your CSS and JavaScript files. When you “compress” CSS, you are merely compressing the CSS code to as little as possible – i.e., no spaces, tabs, etc. – so a web browser can still interpret the CSS code even though it wouldn’t be as readable to you as a web developer.

Some tools that we’ve found online can actually decompress your CSS code back into a more readable format, but it’s best to have an old copy of your CSS code and when you make changes, make a new copy and get it compressed and upload it to your website. JavaScript files can be similarly compressed.

Making use of JavaScript libraries.

If you make use of JavaScript libraries such as jQuery, don’t waste bandwidth by having the jQuery library file hosted on your own website or server. In fact, Google and Microsoft have their own Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) that you can make use of – and because the CDN is used by hundreds of thousands of other websites, it’d be very surprising if there were any differences in speed in the JavaScript file being downloaded externally versus having it on your own account or server. But bottom line is, it also saves bandwidth and puts that burden on the CDN.

Use of gradients, rounded corner images and other techniques.

Sure, this isn’t going to affect your website or blog’s pageload times, but if there is a better solution, why not make use of it? No need for extra images on your account or server. You can now make use of CSS3 for gradients and rounded corners (and some other techniques) and many modern browsers support many of these techniques.

The border-radius CSS property is the primary element for creating rounded corners with CSS selectors/HTML elements. Do note that because CSS3 is not standardised yet, these newer CSS properties do not work in some modern browsers including versions of which are used by a large portion of Internet users – such as Internet Explorer 8 and below.

Furthermore, certain browsers have non-standardised CSS properties for rounded corners, gradients, etc. which you will need to incorporate into the same section when using the standard property (for example, border-radius for CSS rounded corners). And of course, because CSS3 isn’t standardised yet, the specification is subject to change.

Other interactive content on your website or blog.

Other interactive content on your website or blog can also be a factor to how fast your website loads. If your website or blog’s page load times are quite slow, consider anything you may have added to your website or blog recently and as to whether they may be causing your website to load slower than expected.