Page Speed As a Ranking Factor: Google SEO Mythbusting 101

Google’s Search Developer Advocate, Martin Splitt discussed the value of page speed and its effect on SEO in the new SEO episode of Mythbusting.

Here’s a quick recap of each talking point, along with the corresponding timestamp in the video.

General misconception of page speed & ranking (0:00)

A common misconception about page speed is that it’s a ranking factor far more significant than it actually is. Some people even believe that this is the most critical factor, which isn’t true.

Why does page speed matter? (1:57)

Page Speed is important because pain and frustration with waiting for loading sites are alleviated.
In certain parts of the world, the internet is weak, and they must be taken into account when creating websites.

Page speed vs Quality of content (3:00)

Page speed is a significant ranking factor, but it’s not that critical that fast pages will rank better than other pages with more relevant content.
Google aims to deliver the most important content to user’s but isn’t necessarily the quickest content.

Web page size recommended vs average (4:54)

There is a significant difference between the actual size of the web page and the minimum size for web pages.

The total size of web pages appears to be in the megabytes, although they really should be around 500 KB.

Obviously, the smaller web page size will load fast.

“The fewer KB is better says”, says Splitt

Optimisation of page speed(5.48)

In the majority, SEOs get the basics correct when it comes to page speed development, but other elements tend to be difficult.

It is commonly understood, for example, that it is essential to keep image sizes to a minimum.

Nonetheless, SEOs do not always have techniques such as lazy loading images at the end. Lazy loading helps ensure that the images below the fold are not loaded until the user scrolls down the page.

Lighthouse reports, data and scores (7:44)

SEOs may also get hung up on reports from tools like Google’s Lighthouse, which predict how proposed improvements can impact the speed of the site.

Lighthouse may estimate that a specific change will trim the X-number of seconds off the speed of the page.

So SEOs are frustrated when the change has been introduced and find no noticeable speed improvements.

Most of these issues have been “threaded,” Eric Enge recalls, which means improvements need to be merged in order to increase efficiency. Not a single fix.

Site speed on various user devices and connections (9:18)

It would help if you were careful not to fall into the pit of believing that the web is fast because it’s easily loaded into your high-end smartphone.

Sites are handled by all sorts of devices, all loading sites at different speeds.

Just purchasing the most widely used device may be worthwhile in order to better understand how users experience your web.

Page speed, AMP, and PWA (11:36)

Splitt repeats something that must be said any time a conversation takes place about page speed: AMP is not a ranking factor.

AMP is vital since page speed is important, But AMP is not a ranking factor

Page Speed as a Ranking Factor (13:06)

Split explains how page speed is an important factor.

It is about a tie-breaker, in the sense that the quicker page ranks ahead of the other if two pages are equal in quality.

You can check the video here:

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Page Speed As a Ranking Factor: Google SEO Mythbusting 101