The faster your website loads, the happier everyone is. And by everyone i mean not only your visitors, but Google as well. It is well documented that faster websites have better user experience, better conversion rates and user retention and better placements in Google.
How do you make the fastest website possible? The short answer is build a static website, one that doesn’t rely on huge databases or requires massive resource caching and the use of a CDN to achieve adequate loading times.
Since this approach is not viable for most website owners, other solutions are needed.
How page speed is Calculated
There are a few ways to measure page load times. Some, like webpagetest.org or YSlow simply measure how fast a page and its elements are loaded. Others, like page speed insights or the Lighthouse chrome extension (both by Google and in compliance with W3C standards) measure rather obscure parameters such as time to interactive and first contentful paint.
Because of these differences, your site may score very well on tools other than Google’s, but very poorly on Page Speed Insights.
The Gist of Scoring Well with Speed Insights
- Cache, minimize and compress everything (always a good idea)
- Optimize all images and use modern image compression formats
While these are the most important, there many other assets to optimize, such as web fonts, server response time, alternate images for different screen sizes and even links to other websites.
How Important is Page Speed
As noted above, page speed is first and foremost related to user experience and the ability to achieve your site goals. There is. Of course, the added benefit of improved rankings in Google and possibly other search engines.
While no one knows for sure the impact, if any, site speed has on rankings. But considering the amount of research showing the direct positive and direct impact of a speedy site on user behavior, is in itself, enough to put considerable resources into improving your site performance.