Page Speed: How fast Is “fast enough” for Google?

Page load times

Today, the modern internet user is accustomed to high speed data connections and optimised website browsers, with online inquiries answered in milliseconds. Website speed has become a crucial factor given that Google incorporated it as one of the parameters for page ranking. This can also explain the recent rise in attention paid to page load times by mainstream media. Take for instance, Mashable’s recent infographic illustrating that one in four internet users usually abandon a web page that takes more than four seconds to load. Other studies have suggested that even two seconds for a page to load is too long!

Here are few tools and suggestions to help you move your website load times closer to the speed of light:

Monitoring Tools

Google Analytics Site Speed measures page load time from the user perspective and enables the webmaster to evaluate other user-defined variables that affect site speed. The following parameters are used to evaluate site speed:

Page latency (load time) for a sample of page views carried on your web pages. This allows one to evaluate how their pages load based on different factors such geographic areas of access and type browsers.

Load time or execution speed of any discrete hit, user interaction or event that you intend to track. This can involve monitoring how quickly specific images load or how long your site takes to respond to a specific click.

Solutions

For webmasters and developers involved in SEO practices, increasing page loading speeds is a vital exercise that should never be underestimated. There is no doubt that fast and optimised pages result in further visitor engagement, higher conversion and better retention rates. Google offers various PageSpeed tools that are designed to enhance the performance of your site. Some of these optimisation tools include mod_pagespeed for Apache, PageSpeed Service, and PageSpeed SDK.

PageSpeed Service is an online service developed to assist webmasters to speed up loading of their web pages. It works by collecting content form servers, then rewrites the pages by adopting web performance best practices and then reroutes the content to end users through Google servers. On the other hand, mod_pagespeed is an open source Apache HTTP server module that boosts page latency without requiring one to modify the workflow or the content. Lastly, PageSpeed SDK is a set of C++ modules that automatically optimises website pages when the app is run.

Conclusion:

It is a proven fact that if you intend to use the internet to promote or market your business, page speed is a vital factor that should always be considered. From Google’s perspective faster page speeds improve internet user experience and result in higher retention and conversion rates. In addition page speeds have a significant impact on search engine page rankings and ad quality scores. However, the page speed is also influenced by other factors such as type of browser, content on pages, bandwidth and geographic location of access. All in all, page speed will continue to play an important role in determining website performance against the increasing market need for faster page loading speeds that enhance user experience.

Author Bio: Jason Stevens from jason-stevens.com / Freelance web developer, tech writer and follower of cloud computing trends. Follow him on Twitter: @_jason_stevens_.

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