What is page load time?
Page load time is the amount of time, measured in seconds, it takes for a page to load in the browser. Google considers page load time for desktop and mobile as a ranking factor in its algorithm.
How can you reduce page load time?
To reduce page load time on your site it's important to know exactly how a webpage loads:
- The user clicks a link, enters a url or submits a form
- The user's browser, for example Chrome or Safari, makes a request through the network to the server where the url is located
- The request is processed by the server
- The server sends a response to the browser
- The browser starts receiving the page to download (this is the time to first byte)
- The browser parses the code, loads the page and renders the content visible to the user
- The requested page becomes available in full on the browser
This whole process usually occurs i less than a couple of seconds, but Google have noted that a half second delay can lead to as much as a 20% drop-off rate. To ensure your pages are loading as quickly as they can you could:
- Compress images to reduce their size (imageOptim is a great tool for this)
- Reducing redirects
- Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to put content closer to the users geographical location
Page load time as assessed by Google can be monitored in the Google Search Console.