Why does it matter?
In 2010, Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, confirmed that site speed plays a factor in search ranking algorithms. In 2013, Matt Cutts confirmed this information on video. If you’re spending money on a content marketing campaign, but your site is not performing at the standards set by the search algorithm for page load speed, is your money going down the drain? YES.
That’s the bad news. The good news? It’s easy to test your website for page load speed with a simple page speed test. What are the perfect numbers for page load speed? Google has not identified a goal for page load speed (shocker!), so as usual, savvy internet marketers performed some research and came up with some data for the rest of us. (Thank you SEO Chat).
The numbers? If your average page load speed is between 9.82 – 13.84 seconds, that speed is considered average according to results of the study. These numbers are not meant to be used as a goal, but if your page load is greater than this range, it’s time to investigate and search for ways to reduce it. The information on this topic is dated when you search for the recommended goal for page speed, but several posts point to goals as low as 2.5 seconds for optimum page load speed.
The neverending follow up question: What about mobile? Looking for more data and definitive answers on mobile and page speed? Read the study from SEO Chat for yourself.
Average page load speed for a top-ranked website is between 9.82 – 13.84 seconds
How do you fix it?
Onto the tools. Luckily, there is a wide variety for you to choose from. Here’s a handy list to start your testing:
1 Internet Marketing Ninjas
This tool was developed by the Ninjas and is called the Load Time Speed Test Tool. Not only can you get page speed information, you can compare two pages, i.e. test your speed against competitors. What else? The Ninjas give you plenty of tips to help speed up your page load times, no purchase necessary.
The tool is free to use, and it gives you some comparative data upon showing the results. Pingdom also provides details that will be helpful to a development team, such as server response codes, redirect information, server and connection errors, etc. Pingdom does offer additional services, such as monitoring websites and servers for downtime, with detailed reports and notifications.
3 Google Speed Test
Go right to the source: PageSpeed tools from Google. Not only does this free Chrome extension evaluate web pages, it gives suggestions on how to improve.
4 Here’s the pesky mobile question again…what about mobile?
Never fear, PageSpeed Insights is here. Enter the url, and you will receive results for both mobile and desktop load times.
Honorable mentions? There are many page speed tools available, and we’ve mentioned the top picks above. Looking for something with a little extra oomph?
- GTMetrix offers a sophisticated suite for analyzing and optimizing your website’s speed. Features include alerts, playback videos, test from multiple regions, and history tracking.
- WebPageTest is another cool tool, and it is offered in conjunction with a forum to network with developers and search engine experts.
Skeptical about the importance of page speed? What if SEO is not your game, and visitors find you through paid ads or referrals? Moz has an interesting analysis, providing information on the link between site performance and increased conversion rates. If you aren’t interested in maximizing speed for Google, then do it for your new customers. A web page speed test could reveal information that can save your next website visitor from bouncing onto a competitor.
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