Is Website Speed a Ranking Factor?

Website speed is one of the most critical aspects of SEO performance. If your website is just too slow, you probably won’t be ranking well because people abandon it quickly (high bounce rate). With page speed being a ranking signal, you need to speed up your site by optimizing your images, merging and minifying JS and CSS, removing unnecessary plugins, enabling browser caching, etc. A website that loads below 4 seconds, ideally at two seconds, is the best user experience. On mobile devices, you have more room to optimize as pages require fewer elements, and there’s also the AMP feature, but people are less tolerant of delays. Page speed affects crawling times and indexing quantities. On a slow website, you’ll find fewer pages getting indexed, thus fewer rankings and traffic.

Website speed plays a role as it shapes user experience. Google would like to see the desktop and mobile versions of websites load at about 2 seconds and users do not drop off for any reason. If speed is a reason visitors abandon the site, then the site will lose its first-page rankings or will never reach the first page. Remember, the first page is only for the best. Website speed has been a ranking factor in Google since 2018.

So, a high bounce rate caused by lagging websites will have negative effects. Plus, Google may filter out the sites that lag in speed by not entering the first page. Not optimized images (size, compression), scripts that burden the page, different files that get pulled by the page, and are not merged into one, external fonts, old templates, many redirects, slow CDNs, coding formatting and comments, all these affect website speed. The issue is even more crucial on mobile devices. Remember, Google runs the mobile index as primary. If the mobile version is slow, good rankings are over. My take is user experience is more important than Google. If you lose visitors at the entrance, nothing can be done even if you’re on the first page. Google recommends offering an AMP version of your pages and using Google PageSpeed Insights as a tool to optimize your speed.


Core Web Vitals measure user experience on 6 areas
if you fix all of them you get a perfect score (90+),
visitors will convert more and your rankings will improve.