If you’ve been in the SEO game long enough, you’ll know that site speed is a huge factor when it comes to ranking and overall success of an SEO campaign. Since WordPress is our favorite framework, and one of the most popular ones on the web, we’ve put this WordPress site speed guide together to help you through the process. To get started, take into account this statement made by Matt Cutts, from Google
“Also take a step back for a minute and consider the intent of this change: a faster web is great for everyone, but especially for users. Lots of websites have demonstrated that speeding up the user experience results in more usage. So speeding up your website isn’t just something that can affect your search rankings–it’s a fantastic idea for your users.”
–Matt Cutts, Google’s Spam Czar
The Rise Of Core Web Vitals As A Ranking Factor
Before we go any further, we need to say this: Website speed is one of the few factors that Google admits is an actual ranking factor. This is one reason why we place such a high importance on site and page speed. This is only growing in importance, with Google’s adoption of using actual site interaction data in your “Core Web Vitals” that will be considered part of the search signals your “page experience”.
There is no 1 tactic, plugin, or script that will speed up your WordPress website. The process of optimization a WordPress website for speed is no easy tasks, especially for larger websites.
If you perform every update and tweak in this guide, have the best caching, CDN, smallest images, and least plugins – and then you put your site on a shared hosting plan, don’t expect it to work. Site speed has to be treated holistically. We worked with a webmaster for months insisting that minifying CSS and adding browser caching was the key to getting their site to load in under 30 seconds…yes 30 seconds. But no matter what tweaks we made, none of it mattered because it was sharing resources with 10 other sites.
In our experience of ranking websites and SEO, website and page speed is a huge factor when it comes to ranking. As an agency, one of the first (and most important) factors when it comes to SEO that we focus on is page and site speed. In this guide, we’re going to focus on WordPress specifically. Many guides have been written on optimizing websites in general, this post will focus on WordPress.
With WordPress gaining more and more popularity, we wanted to take this opportunity to create the ultimate WordPress SEO site speed guide, based on our experience and a what we’ve learned from other sources.
Facts about website speed, from a published study at Nielsen Norman Group:
- Websites that load faster than .1 second are perceived as instantaneous by the user (optimal)
- Websites that load slower than 1 second will be noticed by the user, and they will get the feeling that the data is not being delivered instantaneous
- With websites that load slower than 10 seconds, users will generally click away or multitask while the site loads, and more than likely lose attention (leave/bounce)
Most websites can get away with loading in 1-3 seconds, outside of that you should probably start to worry.