BrightHaus Digital Marketing Agency

Does Page Speed Matter?

August 3, 2013

The Google Developer’s Tool PageSpeed Insights got an update yesterday, now welcoming users with the message “Make your web pages fast on all devices”. Webmasters (and white hat SEO companies… I’ll talk about this more in a sec) can now use this handy tool to get a checklist of fixes to improve the loading speed of a mobile site in addition to a desktop site.

Upon entering your site’s url and clicking ANALYZE, PageSpeed Insights fetches Google’s indexed information about your site and shows results on two tabs, Mobile and Desktop.

The tool still uses it’s familiar stoplight indicators: green – ‘No significant issues found. Good job!’, yellow – ‘Consider fixing this if it is not an onerous amount of work’ and red – ‘Fixing this would have a measurable impact on page performance’ to show you where your site is and isn’t performing. Everything you need to know is 1-2 clicks away, with expanding “Learn More” tabs for every specific script or link needing improvement. Every section has a “Learn how to fix this issue” link at the end, meaning that Google has provided you with an A-Z roadmap for how to optimize your page loading speed.

So why write about it here, in an SEO agency blog? It’s because this update is just the latest in a series of indicators that echo what Google has hinted about website quality – in terms of user experience – being increasingly important to search engine rankings. A good SEO company will focus a considerable amount of efforts, critical thinking and strategic planning on improving the experience a user has on your site. Sure, page speed is one metric by which Google decides the quality of a site, but so is bounce rate (I’d leave too if it took 5+ seconds for a website to load), average time spent on page (am I finding what I’m looking for? Is the content well written and relevant to my search query?), the number of crawl errors (duh), unique and optimally relevant title tags, meta descriptions… and so on and so forth.

At the end of the day, Google (however frustrating it can be to some days to play by and react to their rules) is clearly urging website owners to shift their focus on user experience and customer service instead of concentrating solely on offsite activities and external link building; I personally think it’s pretty sound advice. While links to your site are still important, user satisfaction should never be forgotten and seems to be an increasingly important factor when it comes to search engine rankings.