How Site Speed ACTUALLY Impacts SEO

Site speed is considered to be the most crucial component that determines how well your site performs and how many visitors you receive on a daily basis.

While you might get the gist of the importance of this element simply by the name, you might not be completely aware of how site speed actually impacts SEO.

We’re here to change that, and by the end of this article, you’ll hopefully be aware of the exact meaning behind the term “site speed”, as well as how it can help your site, and what you can do to solve any problems that it might cause.

Defining Site Speed

Site speed is exactly what it sounds like – the speed at which your site can fully load a page. More specifically, the actual site speed refers to the time that passes from when a site visitor sends in a request, which is then processed by the server, and the time it takes for the site itself to load and present all of the necessary page elements.

The page loading times that your site achieves is going to play a major role in both visitor satisfaction and rankings. The reasoning is simple – slow loading times cause visitors to leave your site, so Google registers the low amount of active time that a user interacts with your site and defines your ranking based on those statistics.

There is obviously a lot more to it as this was the simplest explanation that we could give. In the upcoming sections, we are going to provide a more in-depth view of how site speed actually impacts SEO and how you can improve the performance of your site. Before we get there, we just need to specify that low site speeds aren’t a symptom of a bad site, but rather the result of bad site management. That being said, there’s nothing that can’t be fixed.

We’ll go over the elements of bad site management and how you can avoid them, but the first thing you’ll need to do is get a speed reading.

Speed Test

In order to properly evaluate your actual site speed without having to rely on Google ranking data, you can use measuring tools like Sitespeedbot. We’ve optimized thousands of websites over at WPSpeedFix, and without question, this is our tool of choice when we want to easily and quickly produce the most accurate findings possible.

The main reason why we recommend this tool is because it actually makes a measurement of the most vital site components. Other speed measurement tools usually do nothing more than compare your speeds with certain predetermined vectors, which gives you no data that you can actually work with and simply waste your time with meaningless averages and unnecessary statistics.

Sitespeedbot outlines all of the most important elements that you need to pay attention to, like the TTFB (time to first byte), page size, number of requests, and so on. All of the terms are pretty self-explanatory simply by the name, and even the more generally unknown phrases like the FCP timing have small descriptions in brackets so that you know exactly what the metric is measuring.

We can point you to some articles that can explain the importance of certain elements and what sort of figures you should be aiming to reach. However, for this article, we’ll be sticking to explaining how they collectively make up the page loading times and how site speed actually impacts SEO.

If you already went to Sitespeedbot and got your baseline numbers, then you know where your starting point is and where you’re gonna go from there.

How Do I Improve Site Speed

Each of the elements that we mentioned earlier, such as the TTFB, FCP timing, and the page size(as well as the ones we neglected to mention, like the cumulative layout shift, the total blocking time, and the fully loaded time) are all influenced by different factors and can all be reduced or increased in a number of ways.

Going over all of them would be a waste of time since they’re all interconnected. This is good news since it means that all you need to do in order to boost a handful of your site stats is to make a few changes in your site management here and there.

In particular, there are 3 major elements that you’re going to need to look out for when it comes to site speed, and we’ll go over all of them, plus include a few solutions to each.

Improving these 3 elements can really help you get a better SEO ranking and improve the performance of your site.

Page Size

The size of a website is directly proportional to the speeds it can achieve. In essence, this is due to the fact that the larger amount of data that a page needs to load at any one time will drastically affect the CPU power that’s required in order to fully render all of the elements.

One of the more troublesome elements that can affect CPU usage is the code. We’ll go over some of the reasons as to why this is and how you can prevent it later on, but suffice it to say that poorly optimized code can cause strain by adding too many unnecessary lines that do nothing more than clutter the site and cause processing power to be expanded by going over junk data.

Luckily, even if you have poorly optimized code, that isn’t the major issue when it comes to site sizes and there are still a few things that you can do in order to more effectively reduce the megabytes.

The majority of your hard disk is going to be taken up by image files, given that the difference between the memory usage of pictures and the memory usage of text is astronomical.



The .webp image format is one of the better choices when it comes to both reducing the size of your images and keeping them in mostly the same resolution. 

The .webp format doesn’t compress the images as much as the JPEG format, nor does it maintain as much of the resolution as the PNG format (both of which we’ll cover in the next point).

However, while the other two formats are better in their respective functions, the .webp format is a great middle-ground.

The easiest way to implement this format is to either use the Shortpixel plugin or the Cloudflare option (if you’re using that particular service). Shortpixel might just be the more popular option between the two, but it doesn’t really work well on sites that aren’t WordPress powered, which is where the Cloudflare polish to compress images feature comes into play.

File Types

A much simpler method that you can use to reduce the size of your images is to simply save them as JPEG files instead of PNG. This can be done manually, or by using this particular WordPress plugin. The difference between the two lies in the compression algorithm that they use.

PNG files use a lossless compression system, while JPEG files use a lossy system. The lossless system keeps all of the image data intact while the image is compressed, while the lossy does not.

This means that the PNG files are going to stay the same quality if you compress and then uncompress them, whereas the JPEG files will have their resolution reduced after to restore them to their original size.

On the other hand, the lossy system allows the JPEG files to be compressed into much smaller items, allowing you to use a larger number of compressed images on your site than would be possible otherwise.

In essence, you’re trading quantity for quality, but we believe that the trade is worth it since site visitors aren’t likely going to even notice if the images are a slightly lower resolution, while they will notice the speed droops that come with having too many large files on the page at one time.

Lazy Loading

Speaking of having too many images displayed at once, the lazy loading function can help you reduce the amount of stress that your CPU comes under as a result of having to keep track and render a large number of images.

The function of lazy loading is to only load the images after the site visitors have scrolled far enough down the page to actually be able to trigger the display rule, as well as to de-load the images that the visitors have scrolled past.

In order to accomplish this, helpful tools like the Lazy Load plugin set a certain border over the edges of the image. As soon as a certain predetermined part near the top of the point is visible on the screen, the image will load, and the reverse will happen as soon as the image is too far up on the screen.

Naturally, the way in which these plugins help your site is by giving it less work by reducing the number of items that need to be rendered at any one time, ensuring that the resources are better spent somewhere else.


Constant crashes, unreliable uploads, and difficulty in request processing are the surest signs of a bad web hosting server. Using a service that can’t provide you with the speeds, bandwidth, and CPU power that you need to run your site properly will result in a lot of frustration for both you and the site visitors that have stable internet connections but still have a hard time loading pages from your site.

Without question, the easiest way that you can increase your overall site reliability is to simply move to a different web hosting provider. Some of the most famous and trusted hosting services that are currently available come with a lot of useful perks for site management, while also lots of valuable features at some pretty reasonable prices. 

Our recommendation for one such service is Cloudways. The main reason is the fact that the service can provide some of the most impressive loading speeds, stable servers, and uptime reliability. They also have a flexible pricing scheme that can allow you to pay anything betweeen $10 and $745 a month, depending on your requirements.

If you do move to a different hosting service, you’re still going to need to keep an eye on your site performance to make sure that your speeds and ranking aren’t dropping. There are a few common issues that you might run into, but there are also a few easy solutions.


Use a CDN

A Content Delivery Network allows you to host your site data on multiple servers around the world in order to be able to stream to visitors in different countries without them having to suffer drastic speed drops.

Without a CDN, if the visitor is farther away from the server base that your web host is using, it will take much longer for them to send out a request, have that request processed, and receive the required data. This results in faster speeds for visitors that happen to be in the same general location as the server, while the other visitors have to put up with much longer delays.

A CDN circumvents this issue by allowing you to host your site on multiple locations that services like Cloudflare maintain, thereby ensuring that the data is both delivered more quickly, and has less of a chance of being corrupted or having information lost in the transit.

Set up a Monitor System

You can find a lot of useful monitoring tools online. We personally prefer to use Uptimerobot. We have a lot of history with this tool and it’s one of the more reliable monitoring tools that we’ve worked with.

The main reason why we prefer to use this tool is the lightning-fast, 1-minute intervals at which it checks the site pages for any notable flaw or problematic features. We are using the paid version, but the free version that everyone can get will still check your site at 5-minute intervals, which still isn’t all that shabby.

You might also look into investing in the LittleWarden and DomainComet tools as well. Both of these are useful for monitoring things that also impact uptime, like SSL certificates and domain expiries.

Backup Your Site

You’re likely going to frequently experience some data loss. This can come as a result of bad coding, unreliable plugins, botched maintenance attempts, or even hacking. The simplest way that you can minimize the damage that you take from any of these is to frequently create backups of your site data, and even then make sure that you have multiple copies of these saves.

Realistically, the most likely problem that you’re going to face is going to be one that you might create yourself.

Most WordPress plugins are sponsored by some big names in the field, meaning that a faulty plugin is going to be very unlikely unless you intentionally choose to use some shady software.

Bad coding shouldn’t be an issue as long as you use WordPress themes like Divi, Astra, or BeaverBuilder, all of which have site builders that can help design a perfectly functional site from scratch.

As for hacking, most web hosting services like Cloudways provide you with a pretty reliable firewall that can thwart most such attempts.

None of these factors are 100% safe and you might have issues with any and all of them at some point. However, without question, the most likely cause of data loss on your site is going to happen when the maintenance that you attempted didn’t quite work out so well.

So just make sure to create multiple backups and you should be just fine and dandy.

Site Data

The Google rankings are decided based on collected data from a few different sources.

Most prominently, they use CRUX or “Chrome User Experience Report”. This data is collected from millions of Google chrome users and it compiles together your site speeds and metrics along with the user engagement algorithms.

They use both of these results in order to determine how long a visitor stays and engages with your site while it runs under different loads and provides them with different site speeds.

They also use Google Pagespeed Insights and Pagespeed score, in addition to Core web vitals, in order to run a 28-30 day information processing cycle.

What all of this means is that there is no set time that you need to worry about your site being reviewed by Google since it’s already happening on a regular basis.

This is both good news and bad news.

The bad news is that you’re constantly going to need to be on top of your game in order to keep a good ranking and keep up with your competition.

The good news is that as long as you managed to do everything that we mentioned up until this point, you’re very likely going to receive a favorable Google ranking, so you really don’t have anything to worry about.

However, one area that you should pay attention to is the performance of all of your pages. Most sites focus on optimizing their homepages and largely neglect the rest. This is easily uncovered when the surveys are carried out, and if this is the case, the site will be considered as having nothing more than fancy window dressing and no actual substance.

Luckily, there are a few things that you can do in order to ensure that all of your pages are properly optimized.



Caching is a method of storing data after a user comes to your site for the first time. The general method of caching data involves embedding certain lines of code in the user’s PC so that they can be accessed much more easily the next time they send a request to your site.

There are actually many different types of caching. WooCommerce caching, for instance, is a lot more dynamic in nature and involves excluding certain pages from the caching process in order to prevent leaks of confidential information. We won’t go into all of that, but you can check out this article if you want any more information on the subject.

There is also object caching, which involves storing database queries. One of the most well-known plugins that can do this, which is very beneficial for both WordPress and WooCommerce sites, is Rebis.

While you don’t have to use the specific caching plugin that we recommend, getting a general-purpose caching plugin for your WordPress site and a dynamic caching plugin for your WooCommerce site can really boost your loading times.


Updating from HTTP to HTTPS will allow you to gain some additional security to your site, which goes a long way when it comes to both visitor loyalty and improving your ranking. 

The added encryptions that HTTPS sites are equipped with is a real help when it comes to eCommerce sites in particular. Seeing that lock in front of the address bar can really put you at ease when you’re considering entering your personal information into a site that you’ve never visited before.

HTTPS sites are also able to use the new HTTP2 protocol which allows them to receive the files that can be downloaded from a site at a quicker rate, hence boosting the site speed.

Before switching over, simply make sure that you run it by your web hosting provider. If they are one of the services that can’t support this transition, then maybe it’s time for an upgrade.


If you’re running a blog or general content sort or WordPress site, then you might like to look into some plugins that are tailor-made to provide you with a few useful tools, regardless of the exact nature of the site. The same applies to WooCommerce sites as well.

All you’ll need are 5 minutes and you’ll probably find a plethora of useful features and add-ons for fashion sites, travel sites, business-focused sites, private venture sites, and so on. The WooCommerce plugins are also particularly useful since they include a lot of product marketing-oriented features.

Regardless of what you choose to add to your site, any boost in page performance will result in an all-round improvement of your site functionality.

Just make sure that the plugins and new features play well with all of the options that you already have added. If they don’t, then no matter how useful they are, they’ll likely do more harm than good and you’re far better off removing them right away.


When it comes to the question of how site speed actually impacts SEO, the answer is a bit more complicated than many people think. However, there are quite a few ways that you can ensure that both your site performance and speed are good enough so that your SEO ranking improves, or at least doesn’t drop significantly for a long time.

Let’s briefly summarize what was said so far:

  1. Use image compression plugins in order to save on disc space;
  2. Prioritize the JPEG format rather than PNG for your images;
  3. Install a lazy loading plugin to help reduce unnecessary CPU usage;
  4. Use a CDN in order to be able to stream data closer to your site visitor locations;
  5. Set up a monitoring system so that you can keep an eye on your site performance at all times;
  6. Make sure you have multiple backups of your site data, especially before attempting any maintenance work;
  7. Caching site data helps repeat users load the pages faster;
  8. Upgrading to HTTPS has multiple benefits, the best of which is the boost in speed;
  9. Add tools to your site that can boost it in specific ways, depending on the exact nature of the site.

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