And page speed being most relevant among the users Google has been using it for ranking factors. And now for even the mobile sites the page speed will act as a ranking factor.
Page speed is amongst the most critical metrics in Digital marketing and SEO today. With billions of users using the internet for their various day-to-day needs, the expectation is that the page loads fast and they are impatient enough to leave the page that takes too long to load.
Just a second of increase in the page load rate enhances the double increase in the bounce rates. And page speed being
most relevant among the users Google has been using it for ranking factors. And now for even the mobile sites, the page speed will act as a ranking factor.
Let’s come across some of the major influential terms that affect the page speed metrics and understanding these would make our knowledge of page speed metrics easy and simple.
What is Page Load time?
Before we even start talking about Page speed metrics and discuss it; the most important thing to know is what is page speed and on what it depends? Page speed depends on the page load time.
Page load time is the default site speed metrics that Google Analytics reports on and the one many digital marketers pay significant attention to. Page load time means the time for loading to finish completely. A page can be useful, and even look functionally complete before it has finished loading. And the users care about their experience rather than what is going on in the background. Most users want the page to be loaded in seconds
but when it takes longer to load they feel annoyed and abort the page most of the time.
What is the First Contentful Paint?
First Contentful Paint is the stage at which the browser first renders any text, image including background images. This excludes any content in frames but includes text with pending web fonts. This is the first time that the users start consuming page content.
First Contentful Paint is really important to its relation to engagement metrics. It is essentially the first stage in the loading process where the user sees something actually happening. It is the background activity that appears as a loading symbol or buffering and gives the user the confidence that yes he is flowing on the right track towards the website he has searched for.
What is Document Interactive Time?
Document Interactive time is the metrics that tells us the point at which the user can first start interacting with the elements on the webpage. Unlike first contentful paint, this is correlated with bounce-rate and should be the metrics that one should be attentive towards.
Now after we are familiar with some of the basic terms of page speed metrics it is the time we dig deep into the components of page speed metrics.
User – Centric Page Speed Metrics
The Page Speed Metrics is user-centric and can be optimized by the user for better performances and better page speed. Here we will learn how we can optimize upon the various components that are the essential part of the Page speed metrics. These optimization techniques may sound a little of use but once they are done they prove to be a great help in the enhancement of page speed and ultimately increase your website traffic.
a. Time to First Byte
Time to first byte is the time it takes for the search engine to load the very first byte of your page’s
data to be delivered to the browser requesting it. Ideally, Time to first byte must be somewhere between 200-300 milliseconds and if that is not possible for your website then target for 500 milliseconds. It is a measure of your server’s responsiveness, there may not be much you can do to improve it instead of switching servers or hosting providers. However, by optimizing your existing server and by leveraging catches to reduce the portion of the page that needs to be served dynamically each time the page is loaded.
b. First Paint
The first time anything appears on the screen; the first point at which the screen can be said to be something other than “blank”. If you are unable to make your page fully load faster, in that case, you can give them an impression that the page is loading faster by optimizing your time to first paint, reducing the amount of time they spend staring at a blank screen.
To optimize first paint you need to remove render-blocking scripts from the head of your document. It is the generally practiced web performance optimization practice, but the benefit of doing this is that it will make your time to first paint faster. You may want to look at inclining key styles in the head of the document so they can begin displaying before your stylesheet has loaded.
c. First Meaningful Paint
First paint means that anything has appeared on the screen which is often a background colour and not anything else which is meaningful and significant enough. The first meaningful paint measures when the page first becomes useful in a meaningful way. This often means that the main page content has been displayed or has started to be displayed. Most users who use a mobile browser have been able to start reading an article before the page an article is finished loading. This is one of the ways to give the impatient users the impression that your page is actually loading faster than it really is.
Once the user gets initial contents he is least bothered about whether the page is loaded or buffering he gets busy with reading the contents on the page.
To optimize this make sure that your hero content i.e., most relevant and attractive content loads as early in the page as it can. You may consider delaying the codes that are not necessary to display the
d. Time to Interactive
Similar to the first byte, time to interactive or TTI is the time it takes for your page to be able to receive user input in some way whether it is through clicking, scrolling etc. Now to optimize it, having a fast TTI is good for all these metrics, but it is also important to make sure that the time between first meaningful paint and TTI must be as short as possible. It is very frustrating and annoying for a user to see the content and not be able to click on it. To optimize interactivity, by making sure that the code makes them load in short succession. Avoid long tasks that tie up the main thread and block interactivity, break larger chunks of codes into smaller pieces that can load synchronously.
Viewing HAR file and the Network
Alongside the page speed metrics for pages loaded within a session, you can also view the network for more details or download the HAR file that corresponds to that page. The Network view allows you to analyze what happened during a page load and The HAR file can be super helpful to save as a record of the page load details for any given page within a session.
The HAR file can is a super standard format for viewing the assets that contribute to a page load in the waterfall chart.
Waterfall Chart Optimization
Lighthouse audits are amongst the free tools to start digging into the smart page metrics. The free tools always allow you to view a page’s waterfall, which is a chart of all the resources a page has to load in order to load. It is a great way to quickly spot resources that are blocking the rest of the page load, so they can be deferred or broken up into smaller tasks.
Search For sessions with slow pages Apart from being able to view the page speed metrics within the events stream during the session playback, you can search for sessions with slow pages usually in omnisearch.
There are the couple of ways to search for the sessions with the slow page. You can either
- Start a new search from scratch using omnisearch, or
- Bootstrap a new search directly from the page speed metrics and in session playback.
Page speed Metrics is an essential component for your page as it generally is associated with the speed by which your page loads. Speed is indirectly related to time so a slower speed means a greater waiting time for the user and vice-versa. The more time the user has to wait for the more he gets annoyed and leaves your page if it does not load in ample time.
People these days are time and speed bound, so to attract such impatient and time-bound users you need to be a step ahead of them. Give them a short glimpse of your page or an attractive bright color that would keep them bound to your page till your website gets loaded. Also, you can offer them some of the relevant and interesting content to go through while your page gets loaded. It is kind of binding the user to your website and allows him to expect better content ahead and someone who really wants the better content would wait for your website to be loaded if he gets to know what you can offer.
Optimizing various components of page speed metrics is the best possible way to reduce the loading time of the page and offer the user with complementary resources that keeps him glued rather than a blank screen.