One 9th April, 2010, Google has announced “As part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests.” As Google is using about 200 ranking secrets for ranking factor and with the confirmation Page Speed is the officially adopted as ranking factor, those facing the touch competition on website SEO, for them if their website is not fast they will be punished for it and those who have the fast website will be given preferring.
According to the survey The Psychology of Web Performance says:
“In a 2004 study, Fiona Nah found that the tolerable wait time (TWT) on non-working links without feedback peaked at between 5 to 8 seconds (Nah 2004). Adding feedback, like a progress bar, pushed the TWT to an average of 38 seconds. Subsequent attempts at non-working links revealed lower TWTs, peaking at 2 to 3 seconds without feedback. Nah concluded that the TWT of web users peaks at about 2 seconds. With regard to behavioral intentions to return to a site, Dennis Galletta and others found that they level out at 4 or more seconds and attitudes flatten at 8 or more seconds (Galletta et al. 2004)
The Effects of Slow Download Times
Even small changes in response times can have significant effects. Google found that moving from a 10-result page loading in 0.4 seconds to a 30-result page loading in 0.9 seconds decreased traffic and ad revenues by 20% (Linden 2006). When the home page of Google Maps was reduced from 100KB to 70-80KB, traffic went up 10% in the first week, and an additional 25% in the following three weeks (Farber 2006). Tests at Amazon revealed similar results: every 100 ms increase in load time of Amazon.com decreased sales by 1% (Kohavi and Longbotham 2007). Experiments at Microsoft on Live Search showed that when search results pages were slowed by 1 second: (Kohavi 2007)”
Google has introduced the Page Speed as one of the factor of Ranking in 2010 and study is done in 2007 and with passing of time, the importance of page speed has increased and if SEO doesn’t consider the Page Speed as one of the factor they would be punished for doing bad things. Thus, if in 2007 every increase of 100ms (means the 10th part of the second) in page load effects Amazon by sales of 1% in 2007 the effect of 100ms after 5 years is almost 2-3 times and if you don’t look at the Page Speed now then your website would be punished much harder as Page Speed becoming more and more important.
From the many advantages of Page Speed some of the important advantages are:
1. Cost Reduction
It’s not always about SEO, but it’s about saving money as in the present competitive world where the sales margins are decreasing daily and to make much profit is to reduce the cost of the product as it would affect in cost reduction.
Example without Page Speed: 16000 Page loads daily
I used an un-compressed image with transparency. I used Photoshop to export the image to PNG-24 with transparency and the resulting file size is about 352 kb. So I would be using traffic of about 16000 x 352 = 5500 MB of Traffic.
Example with Page Speed: Same as above of 16000 Page loads daily
Then I used the same image and exported it to PNG-32 with Fireworks. The file size is about 332 kb. Visually, they both look the same (at least to me). But when you calculate the things i.e transfer saving 20KB would be saving our 20 KB x 16,000 = 320,000 KB i.e. around 312 MB of Transfer
2. More Visitors
Online Business depends only on 1 thing i.e. visitors, the success of online business lies when a customer recommends your website to other or visitor visit again. If your website page loading speed is low then the customer has to wait and in the competitive market no one wants to wait. Now, search engines also weigh the time taken by page to load and if the page is loading fast they give preferring page loading speed less time. Think about a news website and now think that do you want to visit a news website which takes about 15 secs. to load a page or take about 2-3 secs. to load the page. Everybody would prefer to go to those websites which loads the page fast as they can spare the time easily. It is well said by somebody “Time is money and money is Time“, so reducing the time of page loading will certainly fetch more money and also reduce cost.
3. No Changes in Web Design
Many developers and SEO think that if they make the Page Loading speed more fast they have to reduce the size of Images, clips and other things to make it load fast and I would say it’s totally misguiding principle. To reduce the time of page loading, one doesn’t have to change the things but has to tweak the things. If the website uses the JPEG images then change them into PNG and that would reduce the size about 30-40% depending from image to image. For sounds one can also change the format from avi to mpeg or 3gp of any other format, which doesn’t decrease the quality of the sounds but reduce the size. For flash, Google has just launched the new service ‘Swiffy’ which reduces the size of flash file and also increases the performance. There are other many tweaks which can be used to increase the speed and we doesn’t have to change the design of other things of the Website/Web Page required thing is only tweaking the things and if one doesn’t want to change the size of the things just use GZIP on the contents which will reduce the size of the contents and communication between browser and server would be zipped format which certainly reduces the size of contents in communication only.
4. Mobile Users
One of major advantage of reducing the page load speed is the gain of Mobile Users. The Mobile is gaining the market and now Mobile companies like Apple and RIM has making money from the Mobile Users. The segment and development of Mobile Website is different and one has to deal with only one stream. Whatever thing is used the speed of Mobile can’t reach the speed of broadband communication and it is the fact that can’t be denied. If your website has the less loading time than Mobile users would also visit your website. For Mobile users the thing which matters the Speed i.e. time taken by the website for loading and reducing the Page Speed would certainly increase the customer base of Mobile Users.
How to reduce the Page Loading Speed?
There are many rules defined in many Blogs and Website but I believe the following, things reduce the time of Page Loading Speed.
- Enable compression: Compressing resources with gzip or deflate can reduce the number of bytes sent over the network. Many web servers can compress files in gzip format before sending them for download, either by calling a third-party module or using built-in routines. To enable compression, configure your web server to set the Content-Encoding header to gzip format for all compressible resources. Due to the overhead and latency of compression and decompression, you should only gzip files above a certain size threshold; we recommend a minimum range between 150 and 1000 bytes. Gzipping files below 150 bytes can actually make them larger. Write your web page content to make compression most effective.
- Optimize images: The type of image can have a drastic impact on the file size. Images saved from programs like Fireworks can contain kilobytes of extra comments, and use too many colors, even though a reduction in the color palette may not perceptibly reduce image quality. Improperly optimized images can take up more space than they need to; for users on slow connections, it is especially important to keep image sizes to a minimum.
- HTTP Cache: The cache, which is local copies of resources, works because many resources change infrequently. When a browser can reuse a local copy, it saves the time to set up a connection as well as the time to download. The key to making the cache work effectively is HTTP caching headers, which are sent by the web server to specify how long a resource is valid and when it last changed. The HTTP protocol gives two ways to define how long a resource is valid: the Expires header and the Cache-Control: max-age header. The Expires header specifies a date after which a resource is invalid. At that point, the browser will ask for the resource again. max-age works much the same way but it specifies how long a resource is after it is downloaded instead of giving a specific date. That is nice because you can configure your web server with a constant value.