Speed has always been an important factor of a website. But now, Google has made it a ranking factor for SEO. With a set of developer tools, Google has taken action to help improve the loading speed of websites – one of the tools being PageSpeed Insights.
47% of web users expect a web page to load in less than 2 seconds. And if a page doesn’t load within 3 seconds, an estimate of 40% of users will likely abandon the site. Speed is now a ranking factor when it comes to SEO.
The Page Experience Update by Google includes a focus on Core Web Vitals – with loading speed being a priority. Google evaluates the speed by measuring the performance of all areas of the website.
As a part of Google’s update, the focus on the Core Web Vitals is to improve the overall user experience on a web page. The Core Web Vitals as a ranking factor is broken down into three main components.
LCP is the time it takes for a page to load. To provide a friendly user experience, the recommendation is 2.5 seconds or less.
FID is the time it takes for a page to become interactive. It measures the amount of time between when a user clicks on a button and when the page responds to the request.
CLS is the measure of a website’s stability. When a website loads, CLS is the time it takes for the website to stabilise from loading.
(Source: cognitive SEO)
Page speed is the time it takes for a web page to load. The load speed is determined by differing factors, including the site’s server, file size, and image compression.
With that being said, determining page speed isn’t as straightforward as it may sound. There are multiple ways to measure page speed.
Speed is relative. It depends on many factors, including the website’s performance, the server’s performance, the web page, the connection type, and more.
Page speed isn’t just a score, like how PageSpeed Insights represents it. Page speed is a web page’s loading time – which is measured in seconds.
(Source: cognitive SEO)
PageSpeed Insights is a popular tool with SEO specialists that is powered by Lighthouse. In the past, PageSpeed Insights hasn’t had the best reputation, but as Google has recently updated it, it’s a lot better but also a lot harder to understand.
When you enter the page URL into PageSpeed Insights, the tool will return a page of some results with the website’s performance.
At the top of the page, there will be a general score, which is calculated based on an average of multiple factors. Below the fold of the page, detailed information will be provided about what is actually affecting the page speed.
Google gives two scores – one for the desktop version and one for the mobile version. At first, the tool only gave one score – for desktop. But as of 2018, more than 50% of search engine users search on mobile devices.
On the desktop version, the score may be higher because the connection speed is often faster. The website desktop version goes through the same testing as the mobile version, but it’s mainly the connection speed that differs.
Mobile is the first result shown when using the tool. The website is tested on a mobile connection, with likely a 4G connection. However, there are still many mobile users that only get a 3G signal, but despite the slower connection speed, it is still expected that a website should load fast.
As mobile devices tend to have slower connections, that’s why mobile comes first.
(Source: Craft CMS)
A powerful content management system is not just important, but essential when it comes to improving a website’s page speed. We use Craft CMS for its user-friendly interface and customisable back-end.
In our previous case study, Rebuilding Taylor Construction’s Website With Craft CMS, we dove deep into the benefits of using Craft CMS – scalability and freedom being the most evident.
As Craft CMS developers, we turn to Craft because it enables us to build robust and fast websites for our customers. We use headless architecture because it is designed with speed as a priority.
Traditional architecture was once a standard approach, but with Craft CMS headless architecture, responsive web pages and innovative content publishing is a growing reward.
If you’re considering making the switch, get in touch with us. We are Craft CMS developers and have spent a fair bit of time working with Craft and rebuilding websites through using its headless architecture, so it’s fair to say we know the in’s and out’s of Craft quite well.
Improving page speed is important. But it is also important to remember that quality remains a priority in SEO, so optimising your Core Web Vitals and achieving a greater page speed score alone won’t guarantee an improved SEO ranking.
The new Core Web Vitals algorithm signals that a shift towards a focus on user experience is ahead. Google is continually taking active steps to make optimisation easier.