Blog SEO

Does Web Page Speed Matter in 2022

Everyday website owners check their website’s traffic and see differences in the page views, and bounce rates, and even go further to check the location of these visitors.

When they see a significant traffic drop, they always associate this with their website’s speed.

The biggest question people ask on a daily basis is – Does web page speed matter?

Your website page speed is one of the most important factors, which ensures a good user experience when browsing through your content. Each page should be loaded in less than 2 seconds, or else you are entitling yourself to low SEO scores.

So if you don’t optimize your website for speed, you won’t see a huge climb in the traffic or more keywords ranking.

What is web page speed?

The web page speed is usually tracked and delivered as a report to the user through special tools, such as GTMetrix, Pingdom, and the most used one PageSpeed Insights.

These tools give us all kinds of metrics and data, which can ensure we follow the basic and even advanced optimization steps and ensure a good web page experience for our users.

There are many reasons why your web pages are loading slow, and some of these reasons are your image optimization, how many plugins you use, and sometimes are you using SEO plugins for your website.

Don’t get me wrong, but SEO plugins can slow your website page speed results. They can be quite useful, but speed is one of the reasons why you shouldn’t use SEO plugins.

Is Page Speed a Direct Ranking Factor?

A website page speed is indeed a direct ranking factor, which Google and other search engines measure closely. The loading time can be critical for your site’s traffic and user experience.

Even those who did not believe that page speed was important, or disregarded it, started losing their keyword positions.

Back in 2020 Google had rolled out a major update, called Core Web Vitals. This update strictly checks websites, if they have fast websites, so they can be recommended to the searchers.

The graph shown helps website owners to find if they have passed the requirements for their websites to be placed at the top of the search results.

If your website is below the average, which means “poor” results, you will start noticing how your rankings will start dropping.

But if you are in the “needs improvement” graph there is nothing to worry about for the moment.

But do note that even if you have the best results both for mobile web page speed, or desktop web page speed, it does not guarantee direct rankings.

In the beginning, it will ensure a good user experience, so you can start promoting your website across social media websites and improve your social signals.

In fact, by just increasing my web page speed results, I managed to rank for many keywords on the top of Google, or at least on the first page.

Achieving a full score on Google PageSpeed Insights isn’t something impossible, but requires knowledge in the field or the use of fewer plugins and little to no ads.

But keep in mind that the web page speed was not the only thing that managed to get me better keyword rankings.

It took hard work, refreshing outdated content, writing keyword-targeted blog posts, and most importantly, following what my users like to see.

What can affect the web page speed of your WordPress Website?

Many things affect the web page speed and we are going to take a better look at them. Even the smallest javascript code or PHP code misplaced in your theme’s files may destroy your hard work.

What plugins do you have installed

WordPress is made to be used with plugins, so even those who have no coding knowledge can have a great experience.

That said there are more than 60,000 free plugins in the WordPress repository and twice as that on markets and developing companies, available for sale.

While you can find a WordPress plugin to solve an issue with your website or simply save you some work, you should not disregard the idea that you are sacrificing your web page speed for this purpose.

Each plugin you install takes a certain amount of resources. And even that depends on the developers.

There are lightweight plugins, which don’t affect your web page speed too much, but there are some that cause heavy loading times.

The best way to save your website and ensure you have a good web page experience on it is to use the plugins you need.

There are also some alternatives, which do more than one thing, so make sure you download the correct plugins.

Reviews can often help you, as there are many bloggers, who prepare lists of helpful plugins or do case studies.

What theme are you using

WordPress themes are the source of design, which our websites inherit. Aside from page builders, themes can also be measured as lightweight and slow.

News themes and gaming themes are often full of features, such as extra widgets, ad placements, and many other features for better design.

The more functions a theme has, the slower your website will load. The animations and effects on your website are not the sources, which keep visitors active. It is your content that matters.

If your visitors cannot wait for your website to load, they may not see your content and generate page views. This gives a red flag to Google and soon enough you will start seeing your results going nowhere.

There are hundreds of lightweight themes, which can help you achieve good web page speed results.

Keeping only one of your themes installed is also another page speed factor.

Do not forget to delete every inactive theme from your website. Just because it is not working, it does not mean your website’s page speed will be good.

You need to keep your resources for important things, such as plugins, images, and posts, and reserve as much as you can.

The scripts running on your WordPress website

There are multiple cron jobs and scripts, which get executed every few minutes. One of them is the well-known WordPress heartbeat, which checks if your website is running properly.

While the heartbeat can be useful most of the time, there are tools, which do the absolutely same job and do not have a requirement to be placed on your website.

Use a caching plugin such as LS Cache or even Asset Cleanup. It lets you remove plugins, CSS files, and even scripts on certain pages.

If the free version is not good enough, you can also upgrade to the Pro version, which gives you the freedom to edit whatever you would like.

Asynchronous vs synchronous loading

Asynchronous and synchronous are two different ways of loading the codes on your websites. Preloading also exists, but for the time being, we will be watching those two.

Asynchronous is when a single or all codes on your website are loaded one by one. In most cases, WordPress executes your codes 1 by 1.

This can cause potential web page speed issues and slow your site down a lot.

However, you can always change the way your WordPress website is loaded by using synchronous loading.

This way part of your code or all of it will get executed at the same time, which will help your website load faster.

But do not get the wrong idea. You need to specify, what comes first and what comes last.

The most important things to be loaded on your website are your HTML and CSS files. Without them, the visitor will not be able to see anything.

But on the other hand, if you first load them, your visitor will be able to interact with your content, while the JavaScript is being loaded.

And on top of that, you can combine and execute your HTML, CSS, and even JavaScript into one file to preserve space and tell your website what comes first and what comes last.

Most of the WordPress caching plugins do have these options and you can set them as per your liking.

Fonts loaded on your WordPress website

Every WordPress theme and page builder has fonts installed, which can be used. These fonts require time to be requested from Google fonts and get loaded on your website.

The problem with requesting your fonts is that it takes your web page speed.

Hosting your fonts locally by downloading them can be the easiest and most efficient way to fix speed issues.

Another great way to handle the speed of your website is to choose lightweight fonts, which don’t require a large number of resources.

Lazy loading vs non-lazy loading

Lazy loading is very popular nowadays. It is a must for a website to have its elements lazy loaded, but when and how should we do it.

Lazy loading in short helps websites to load elements when a visitor comes to that part of the web page.

It is based on scrolling and can save a ton of resources, so your website can show only the most important part, without slowing your web page speed.

But the idea of lazy loading is very precise. Most users lazy load each image and iframe on their websites.

This can bring a ton of issues.

A proper lazy-loaded website should have all elements that cannot be seen without scrolling.

Continuing with the elements, which a user can see will cause many issues with your user experience. The other thing to note is if your WordPress theme has lazy loading enabled.

For example, using a plugin like WP Rocket for lazy loading and enabling it in your theme, may screw up all the hard work you had done.

Choosing wisely the elements, plugins, and themes is the extreme matter when you wish to get your web page speed optimized.

Hosting location for your website

When starting your website, you need to know your target audience. You need to know their age, interests, what products they buy, and most important – their geographical location.

If you want to start a local business, things are really easy, because you know your location and service area.

But if you wish to have yourself in each country, then things are a bit different.

Every country can have people from your target audience, and every audience can be more critical than the previous one.

In such cases, you will need to set up goals or think, about which is your primary audience.

Once you discover the country you want to optimize your website for, you can be sure that countries around it will be considered priority ones too.

So the best way to optimize your web page speed is to move your hosting to any of those countries, where your main audience is.

You do not even need to worry about the rest of the countries, because a CDN will always be beneficial in your case and deliver content.

It will not be as fast as having your website in your target country but will earn you extra customers.

Hosting Plans and Resources

The hosting company you choose may be your lifetime partner. Changes always happen. But what is important in choosing your hosting provider, is to know what their plans offer.

From a financial standpoint, you do not need to worry. All the money you give for your website is an investment, which has an ROI. It may take more time to get it, but SEO is not a thing happening overnight.

If you are starting a website, which is fairly new and will not have a ton of products, you can choose a small hosting plan from a reputable WordPress hosting company.

Once you see the traffic growing after the first 6 months, then you may want to switch and save resources, so your website can keep up the good speed.

In rare cases, your website will need its dedicated machine, but some people just like to throw money in the air.

Network conditions

As you know every hosting company offers you tons of resources and bandwidth. But we cannot be sure how many of them have a good internet connection.

Some companies are just filled up with websites on a single machine that the network conditions are below average.

Each request that a user makes when visiting a website can potentially slow down a server. Not to mention the internet connection is also dependent on the uploading and downloading speed.

If you are using a hosting provider, with slow internet speed, then your web page speed will also suffer.

Changing your hosting provider to a more reputable one can potentially fix this issue without any tech requirements.

CDN usage

A CDN is one of the most important factors for web page speed. The idea of a CDN (Content Delivery Network) is to create a cached copy of our web pages and deliver them to users from the nearest location.

This way the user will not have to do repetitive requests and slow down your website or wait too long to see your web pages loading.

And aside from that, a CDN can also handle bot attacks and mask your IP address, so it does not get exposed.

There are many CDN companies, which offer plans from free to a few cents for a gigabyte of traffic. And the good thing is prices depend on the traffic and country.

A good example of a CDN, which is free and dependable is Cloudflare.

All you need to sign up for them and you receive a free CDN forever. You get all kinds of settings and have the freedom to configure the caching however you like.

The interesting thing is that you can set 2 different CDNs to work together by using CDN mapping.

If none of the 2 CDNs you have chosen have the same options overlapping, you will have a fully functional and good web page speed experience.