Page load time and SEO
As you know, SEO or Search Engine Optimization refers to the use of practices involved in increasing the traffic for your businesses and services website via organic search engines like Google. While there is a multitude of ways employed by a web development company and SEO analysts and yet another set that is in use by the search engines themselves to rank the websites, the announcement that website speed would have an impact on search ranking was made in 2010 by Google.
The logic behind page load speed and ranking
The page loading speed could be an important factor in improving or decreasing the ranking because a website that is slow to load would result in poor user experience. It would not be beneficial for the search engines to promote websites that are poor in user experience. This would result in the website moving deep down the crawl matrix.
Factors that are related to page load time
Page load time for a website includes two aspects. They are
- Document complete time – This refers to the time it takes for a page to load before you even start clicking or even before a data is entered by you. This makes it possible to interact with the page even before the content is available.
- Fully rendered time – This refers to the time that would be required to download and display all images inclusive of the advertisements and analytic trackers.
Though these factors were believed to be very important in improving the ranking of the websites, studies on page load time based on these factors showed that there was no correlation between ranking and either of these aspects of load time. This led to the extension of studies to consider other factors like TTFB, Page size, and total image content.
The result indicates that even if page load time was an important factor in SEO it probably was lost in the present scenario by the noise of the other factors. But, it would be an important factor when there is high competition for generic searches in which case the back-end website performance or higher TTFB metrics regarding better servers and back-end infrastructure could play an important in improving the website ranking. The TTFB or Time-to-first-byte is easily measurable too.