Web page load speed is the rate at which a web page becomes available for a viewer, from the time they make the query until the page loads. A variety of factors affect page loading speed, some more manageable for website owners than others. These include:
- A Wi-Fi router that is slow or dropping packets – This problem is on the router side rather than the web page.
- DNS lookups – When a computer user types in a domain name, like webopedia.com, the underlying Domain Name System servers have to query the corresponding IP addresses associated with each domain. That query process takes time.
- Images – Google or other search engines have to process images as well as HTML, and if images are of high resolution or too large, the page’s load speed can slow.
- Ads, particularly pop-ups – Any ad on a web page requires an HTTP request. Web pages already have multiple outbound HTTP requests, but ads add a significant amount. Pop-up ads in particular can affect search engine optimization (SEO) because Google doesn’t like pop-ups.
- HTML – Clean HTML that doesn’t have extraneous, unnecessary code is easier for Google or other search engines to read. The less code a search engine has to wade through, the web page is likely to load faster. But if the HTML is messy and cluttered, the page could take more time to load.
Consequences of slow page load speed include:
- Less attention from Google – If Google decides that a web page is too slow to load, it will crawl the page less frequently. A page that isn’t crawled enough is not good for search engines, and it could drop in rankings on search engine results page (SERP) because Google doesn’t index it as often.
- Higher bounce rate – Potential customers are more likely to leave a web page if it hasn’t loaded yet. This increases bounce rate, which is the rate at which people navigating to a web page leave it.