Why Site Speed Matters
People don’t like waiting around, least of all for a slow-loading website.
That’s why it’s crucial for your website to load quickly.
Not only does a fast website improve user experience, but it also plays a crucial role in search engine optimization (SEO).
So let's explore why page speed matters for your real estate website.
User Experience: Speed is Key
A fast website is crucial to providing users with an optimal experience. Slow loading pages can quickly frustrate visitors to your site, causing them to leave before it even finishes loading.
In fact, studies have shown that users expect websites to load in under two seconds, and if it takes longer, they'll likely move on.
By prioritizing page speed, you can keep your users happy and engaged, leading to better engagement metrics, more leads, and higher conversion rates.
Here are some benefits of having a fast real estate website:
- Better engagement: If users have a sense that their actions will be met with prompt and responsive results, they’ll be more likely to spend time browsing and clicking around.
- Competitive advantage: Page speed can be a way to set yourself apart from the competition. Tell potential site visitors that you have a fast site and then back it up.
- Enhanced brand image: A website with good user experience reflects positively on your business and can enhance the overall reputation of your real estate brand.
Speed is a Ranking Factor
In addition to improving the user experience, page speed is also a ranking factor in Google's algorithm, one of the many that contribute to where your site places in Google search results.
Google first introduced page speed as a ranking factor back in 2010. The move made sense because Google wants users to have the best experience possible and slow-loading websites don't provide that.
But is speed really a ranking factor?
Although initially introduced as its own ranking factor, Google later grouped page speed with Page Experience among its list of systems for determining placement in search results.
However, in April 2023, Page Experience was removed entirely from the list of ranking systems.
Understandably, some confusion ensued within the SEO community.
Google then followed up, explaining that ranking systems looked at “a variety of signals that align with overall page experience”.
But what does “align” mean? Was page speed, along with other experience factors, simply correlated with ranking success rather than a driver of it? This had some people doubting whether page speed was ever a ranking factor at all.
However, Google’s Search Liaison Danny Sullivan stepped in to clarify:
Our guidance on page experience is here, as we shared last week along with our blog post:https://t.co/My7bdcBhwS— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) April 28, 2023
It does *not* say page experience is somehow "retired" or that people should ignore things like Core Web Vitals or being mobile-friendly. The opposite. It says if…pic.twitter.com/KkjRklCmnH
As he explained, factors like page speed were indeed ranking factors, they just weren’t part of a separate Page Experience system. They were instead signals being used by a variety of other systems. You can read more about how Google evaluates page experience here.
The key takeaway was clear: By improving your page speed, you'll improve your chances of ranking higher in search results.
How To Check Your Website Speed
So is your site providing a good page experience, including fast browsing speeds? How do you check?
One way to evaluate your site's speed is to conduct a subjective self-evaluation by browsing your website from different devices and locations. Does it feel fast and responsive?
You can also use Google's PageSpeed Insights tool to get a more objective assessment.
Understanding Page Speed Metrics
- FCP (First Contentful Paint) measures the time it takes for the first piece of content to appear on a webpage.
- FID (First Input Delay) measures the time it takes for a user's first interaction to be responded to by the webpage.
- LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) measures the time it takes for the largest piece of content to appear on a webpage.
- CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) measures the visual stability of a webpage as it loads.
However, this is definitely a case where it doesn’t pay to be a perfectionist. Content relevance and quality are still the most important for SEO.
Want to know how to improve your page speed? Read some of our forum and blog posts:
- Google Page Speed as a Ranking Factor
- How To Increase Page Speed
- Improving the Speed of your Real Estate Website
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Page Speed FAQ
What is meant by page speed?
Page speed refers to how fast a web page loads and displays all its content.
Does website speed matter?
Website speed is crucial for improving user experience, enhancing engagement and brand image, and optimizing for search rankings.
How do I check the performance of a website?
Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom, or GTmetrix to test website speed and performance.
What is a good website load speed?
A good website load speed is typically under 2 seconds for all content and functionality above the fold, the part of a website viewable before scrolling.
Why is my website slow?
Slow website speeds are typically caused by things like large images and videos, excessive third-party scripts, custom site features, and hosting issues.
How can I improve my website speed?
You can improve website speed by optimizing images, minifying code, removing unneeded scripts and customizations, lazy-loading assets, and upgrading your hosting plan.