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How Site Loading Speed Affects SEO

Digital marketing

Author Val

How Site Loading Speed Affects SEO

July 11, 2019


8 min read


Internet users don’t really like web-pages with poor runtime performance. Sure it is easier to switch to another faster site, than to wait until the low-speed one loads. Search engines don’t like low-speed resources even more. The sites with poor runtime aren’t at Google search top. This article explains why does it happen and provides the ways to boost site loading speed that its positions became closer to the top.

What is actually site loading speed?

This is the time for loading all the Internet resource elements. It has four stages:

Server responce

It is the time needed for the network and server to respond to the browser’s request for accessing the site.

Time To First Byte

Time To First Byte or TTFB shows the time interval between the user’s request and first byte load on the webpage.

HTML loading

The browser loads the layout, styles, and page content.


It is the time spent on loading the visual page content, e. g. photos, videos, gifs.

These stages should be kept in mind to understand what exactly search engines evaluate and how to boost performance? Parameters are measured in seconds, but for layout and rendering you need to know the amount of traffic.

TTFB is the most important indicator for search engines (e.g. Google). As the Moz study showed, it is TTFB and not the full loading of the site that affects the site position in search results.

Importance of loading speed

Site performance directly impacts on ranking and it goes at least with Google. The company announced this back in 2010. In July 2018, Google announced that site speed has become a factor influencing the results of mobile rankings.

Slowly loading sites hamper indexlinking. If the search engine robot can’t quickly scan a site, this affects the ranking of keywords in inaccessible pages.

The loading speed affects the behavioral factors. This is the most important indicator for search engines. User convenience is a priority. The more slow sites get to the top, the less people will use the search engine.

Site loading speed affects conversion. As the experience of many companies shows, increased loading speed boosts conversion.

Amazon. Increased site loading speed by 0.1 seconds scales up revenue by 1%

Walmart.  Increased site loading speed by 1 second improves conversion by 15.4%

Firefox.  Increased site loading speed by 2.16 seconds improves conversion by 15%

Analysis of site loading speed: why speed can be low

The most common reasons:

Big pictures are the most common problem. Use the services to optimize your images:

There is also an automated solution to use plug-ins built into the engine for optimizing the image when it is uploaded to the hosting. Plug-ins for each CMS are individual.

Image optimization plugins for WordPress:

  • WP Smush
  • EWWW Image Optimizer
  • TinyPNG, TinyJPG
  • Resize Image After Upload

“Heavy” plugins. Plugins are a convenient thing. However, use primarily only the necessary minimum of add-ons. Otherwise, the pages are slow.

Cheap hosting. Saving on web hosting seems like a great idea. Only then it turns out that the host is of poor quality and slows down the loading.

Extra animation effects. Additional effects look impressive, but it seems so long. Today’s user won’t have enough patience for it.

Embedded media files. Videos on the site improve user experience, but reduce loading speed.

Bad code. Code quality affects the site speed. The code should be as clean and well written as possible for optimal performance.

Lots of redirects. Redirects to other URLs slow down the site speed sometimes two or three times. This is especially disruptive for mobile users.

How to test site loading speed

Any specialist of the company can analyze the performance and find the problem areas. You just type in the URL into one of the services to check the loading speed and get a report.

Errors may be found either on server, in code, or in content. Correcting an error is more difficult than identifying it.  Only a development team can help in this case.

Search Experience Optimization

On the one hand, representatives of popular search engines say that speed is an important factor in site ranking. On the other hand, experiments show that only Time To First Byte is important. Should we waste time on loading speed optimization?

High page loading speed does not guarantee that your site gets top ranking in search engines. SEO is a difficult and complex process, and one factor won’t make a difference.

Due to today’s trends, you can safely assume that the loading speed optimization is about to become a priority. This approach is considered to be the future of search experience optimization.



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