3

Interestingly enough, in Wordpress, I have installed an update for a plugin which allows my website to be loaded 0.1s faster (structurally).

However, when I check the performance logs (before after), I can see that the plugin adds 6 more requests.

So I get this:

New --> 0.1s faster --> 6 extra file requests when loading

Old --> 0.1 slower --> 6 less file requests when loading

Now, I am trying to understand: which is better for SEO? Anyone who could explain?

2
  • Nobody who can help?
    – Johan
    Aug 30, 2022 at 9:42
  • 1
    There is another factor - the OS may/will cache these files, so the speed may even be faster for future loads. Sep 10, 2022 at 22:08

1 Answer 1

3

Probably neither case will have a measurable impact on your SEO.

If I had to pick one, based on this information, I would pick the new option. If multiple smaller files are requested in parallel, that can make the website load faster.

The problem with page speed in general

You mention something called "page load speed." This is an abstract concept. I understand you have a tool that measures this, but it is just a metric the tool made up. And other tools might come to other results based on their made-up metrics. Also, users do not care what some tool defines as "page load speed."

It does not mean the tools are wrong. But they try to express something complex in a single metric. And that rarely leads to good results.

Many years ago, you could actually measure "page load speed." It was obviously the time a website took to load fully. But with JavaScript, AJAX, etc. this is no longer true. As a user, once I can start using a website, I do not care if it takes two more minutes to load pixels and cookies in the background. Or image website that is using lazy loading. When is it loaded? Or an interactive website - how do you even define when it is loaded? When we do not know when a page is loaded, we cannot possibly measure it and say it takes 2.9 seconds vs 3.0 seconds.

Google's solution: Core Web Vitals

Because of the issues mentioned above, Google has introduced the Core Web Vitals (CWV). This are three page speed metrics that are well-aligned with how humans perceive the page load experience. Whenever you talk about page speed for SEO, only the three CWV metrics matter. They are:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) to approximate the time to visually load
  • First Input Delay (FID) to approximate the delay to interact (click buttons, etc.)
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) to approximate the time until a website has reached visual stability (no more images or text blocks jumping around)

What does it mean for you?

Measure the Core Web Vitals with both versions. Then make your decision.

1
  • Thanks, that is valuable. Thank you for the tip!
    – Johan
    Sep 12, 2022 at 7:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.