Every user has experienced a slow-loading website and its impact. It may be due to limited network bandwidth, an overloaded server or simply a lot of superfluous data having to be delivered to the user’s browser. A large volume of unoptimized images is one common reason behind website slowness.
Today, “page load time” refers to the “first meaningful paint”, the time it takes for the content of a page to become available to the user. The first meaningful paint has become the most important metric for Google’s SEO rankings next to the quality and relevance of the content. It is the most relevant technical factor for SEO: How fast does your site display content?
Since modern user interfaces are mostly browser based, they essentially consist of a set of pages delivered to the user’s browser. The speed the pages are delivered to customers, employees and other stakeholders is a key success factor. The perceived responsiveness of this software is crucial to good user experience and therefore a competitive advantage. Customers having to use a slow website do not want to wait. Employees using a slow digital workplace become frustrated and unmotivated. It is not only the user who needs an optimal user experience. Supplying content to other systems or meeting content quality requirements in search engines depends on page delivery speed, too. Google has indicated speed as one of the key signals used to rank pages1.
To improve website performance, many companies not only engage internal teams but also external agencies, paying to improve something that should be available from the start. But since users may be located anywhere on the globe, latency can become an issue even if the network’s bandwidth and computational power are available at the highest level and the page is highly optimized. Optimization becomes even compulsory if large amounts of data need to be transferred.