What is Page Speed? Why Every Millisecond Matters in SEO

Brody Hall
Feb 20, 2024
what is page speed

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Research out of the Technical University of Denmark reveals our attention spans have shrunk considerably, meaning the amount of time you have to capture the interest of your website’s visitors is dwindling.

Every millisecond counts—literally.

A mere 100-millisecond delay in load time decreases conversion rates by a staggering 7 percent. Yikes!

This number sends a clear message: if your website isn’t fast-loading, you risk losing customers, rankings, and your competitive edge.

To get you up to speed with, well, page speed, in this guide, we 

  1. define “What Is Page Speed?”
  2. explore its importance,
  3. and uncover how you can ensure your website stays ahead of the curve.

What Is Page Speed?

From the initial click of a hyperlink to the time a web page completely loads, revealing its content in its entirety, this is called Google page speed or page load time. Measured in milliseconds, this crucial metric is affected by several factors, such as the page’s size, quantity, type of media elements like images or videos, server response time, and the user’s internet connection speed.

Learn more: Interested in broadening your SEO knowledge even further? Check out our SEO glossary, where we’ve explained over 250+ terms.

Differentiating Between Page Speed and Site Speed

The terms “page speed” and “site speed” are often used interchangeably, while in reality, they represent different concepts:

  • Page speed is the loading time of a specific web page, which can vary widely across different pages on a website. Why? Because each web page will contain different content elements. Some will house large-sized images and some videos, while others will just have text—an element that’s small in size and fast to load.
  • Site speed, on the other hand, is an average measured across all web pages on a website. As a basic example, a website with three web pages, the first loading in 600 milliseconds, the second in 400 milliseconds, and the last 900 milliseconds, would have a site speed of 630 milliseconds. Website speed provides a holistic view of overall website performance.

Understanding the distinction between both metrics is rather important, as optimizing page speed focuses on improving the loading time of individual pages while improving site speed requires a broader, more time-intensive approach.

Note: If you’d like to test your website’s page speed, simply head over to the Google PageSpeed Insight web page and run a speed test—easy-peasy.

Why Is Page Speed Important?

From the 30,000-foot perspective, page speed is not just a technical consideration—it’s a vital aspect of page experience, search engine optimization (SEO), and overall website success. Investing in improving page speed can lead to more traffic, higher engagement, increased conversions, and a stronger competitive edge.

And from the 500-foot perspective, the impact of page speed and site speed is much more nuanced. Let’s quickly dig into the nitty-gritty:

Importance for SEO and Technical SEO

  • Ranking factor: Search engines like Google consider page load speed a ranking factor (we’ll dig into this more in one of the below sections). The simple fact is that faster-loading pages rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), making them more visible to search engine users.
  • Crawl budget: A faster site allows search engines to crawl more pages within their allocated crawl budget, improving the site’s indexing.
  • Mobile experience: With the rise of mobile browsing, page speed has become even more crucial. Google’s mobile-first indexing means that the mobile version of your site is the starting point for what Google includes in its index.
  • User engagement metrics: Page speed affects user engagement metrics like time on page and click-through rate (CTR). Search engines use these metrics to gauge the quality and relevance of a page and where it should rank in search results.

Impact on User Experience

  • User satisfaction: As we’ve touched on, a slow-loading page frustrates users to no end, leading to a poor user experience (UX). Fast-loading pages enhance user satisfaction, encouraging them to stay longer and engage more with the content.
  • Accessibility: Page speed ensures that users across various devices and connection speeds can access the content without undue delays, making your site more accessible and inclusive to those users with slow internet speeds.

Influence on Conversion Rates and Bounce Rates

  • Conversion rates: As mentioned earlier, faster pages create a smoother user journey, leading to higher conversions.
  • Bounce rates: Slow-loading pages lead to higher bounce rates, as users may leave the site out of frustration. A lower bounce rate, facilitated by quicker page speed, signals to search engines that the site is valuable and relevant.
  • Trust and credibility: A fast-loading site reflects professionalism and reliability, building trust with visitors and increasing engagement and sales.

How Google’s Core Web Vital Metrics Evaluate Page Speed

Core Web Vitals is a set of metrics introduced by Google to evaluate the quality of a user’s experience on a web page. These vitals focus on three critical aspects—loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability.

Let’s quickly break down these Core Web Vitals and understand their role in evaluating page speed:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

LCP measures the timeframe within which the majority of the page’s content has successfully loaded. A good LCP score is considered to be under 2.5 seconds.

First Input Delay (FID) / Interaction to Next Paint (INP)

First Input Delay (FID) evaluates a page’s interactivity by measuring the duration between a user’s initial interaction with the page (such as clicking a link or pressing a button) and the moment the browser processes this interaction. A good FID score is less than 100 milliseconds.

Note: Google has announced that FID will be replaced by a new metric, Interaction to Next Paint (INP), in March 2024.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

CLS measures visual stability. Unanticipated movement is disconcerting for users and leads to a poor experience. A good CLS score is less than 0.1.

Factors Affecting Page Speed

Many factors influence page speed, each contributing to the overall loading time of a web page. Here’s a breakdown of the key elements that affect page speed:

Hosting Service

  • Server performance: A slow server delays the response time, affecting the overall page speed. Choosing a reliable and high-performing hosting service is crucial.
  • Server location: The physical distance between the server and the user impacts loading time. Utilizing a Content Delivery Network (CDN) mitigates this issue.

Website Theme

  • Complexity: Heavily customized and complex themes with numerous features slow down a page. Opting for a lightweight and optimized theme enhances speed.
  • Responsive Design: A theme that adapts to different devices ensures the page loads quickly across various platforms.

File Sizes (Images, Videos)

  • Optimization: Large media files significantly slow down a page. Compressing images and videos without losing quality improves loading time.
  • Format selection: Choosing the right file format (e.g., WebP for images) reduces file size and enhances speed.

Code Quality

  • Minification: Minifying CSS, JavaScript, and HTML by removing unnecessary characters improves loading speed.
  • Render-blocking elements: Removing or deferring render-blocking JavaScript and CSS enhances loading time.

Plugins and Widgets

  • Overuse: Too many plugins and widgets create additional HTTP requests, slowing down the page. Regularly reviewing and removing unnecessary plugins will help.

Use of CDN

  • Global reach: A CDN distributes content across various locations, ensuring faster delivery to users worldwide. Implementing a CDN significantly boosts page speed.


  • Chain Redirects: Multiple redirects create additional HTTP requests, slowing down the page. Minimizing redirects and avoiding redirect chains can enhance speed.

Learn more: page speed SEO: 23 ways to speed up your website.

Conclusion and Next Steps

Curious to know how your site fares regarding page speed and overall SEO health? Loganix’s SEO audit services provide you with a comprehensive analysis of your website’s perceived performance. Our team of experts will evaluate your site’s loading speed, responsiveness, and SEO effectiveness, identifying areas for improvement and offering tailored solutions.

🚀 Don’t let slow page speed hold you back—discover how Loganix’s SEO audit services will accelerate your site’s online success today. 🚀

Hand off the toughest tasks in SEO, PPC, and content without compromising quality

Explore Services

Written by Brody Hall on February 20, 2024

Content Marketer and Writer at Loganix. Deeply passionate about creating and curating content that truly resonates with our audience. Always striving to deliver powerful insights that both empower and educate. Flying the Loganix flag high from Down Under on the Sunshine Coast, Australia.