Website Speed, how fast should it be? How can you improve your website speed? And, how will this help to get your page to #1 on Google?
It’s been known now for some time that Google takes your website speed as a factor for its Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). In particular, where your site ranks within them. That announcement was made in late 2010 and it has been a major factor ever since. And yet despite this, some webmasters and SEO strategists do not see it as been an integral part of the SEO agenda. And, it’s still given a much lower priority than it requires and deserves.
At Digital Media 99, we don’t just think of SEO as being ‘Search Engine Optimisation’. We believe it’s much more than that. We believe that ‘Search Experience Optimisation’ should be a main part of the strategy too. That means we don’t just think of bots, but also users. Offering the best possible user experience is what should be done. Ordinarily, when putting an SEO strategy together. Because, that’s what search engines are interested in, value and reward.
With this in mind, read below and find some great tips and reasons why Website speed should be part of your SEO strategy.
1. First impressions count
It used to be that the first 15 seconds was what counted when it came to First Impressions. Now, you would be very lucky if you get that long. Google says that the average time it takes for a mobile landing page to load is 22 seconds. However, the average visitor to a website will only take 3 seconds to decide if they want to stay to wait for your page to load. That’s a massive disparity in time, and in this day and age people are just naturally impatient. They don’t want to be hanging around waiting for your page to load. They have come to your site for answers or a product they need or want. And when they want something, they want it now, welcome to the new world we live in. So while page speed is important for your SEO, it is just as important for your conversion rates and general customer happiness. When sorting your site speed out, the threshold should be 2 sec or less. Certainly, If it isn’t there within 3 seconds, your potential customers will click off and go to your competitors.
2. Website Speed is crucial for mobile users
Getting your mobile site optimized for site speed is crucial, not just for Google’s Mobile index. Certainly, for your customers and users. Crucially, mobile devices typically do not benefit from such a fast connection as desktops do, due to latency and memory power. Therefore, for this reason alone, you really need to increase the speed of the mobile version of your site. Any mobile web-designer will tell you that, the perception of website speed is key.
Your customers want to click on your Ad, link or SERP listing and see something, almost instantly, certainly within that 2 second threshold we talked about. However, this means, the time that elapses until the requested page is usable (Time to Interactive Document) needs to be within that threshold. One way to make sure this is decreased is by getting the text and key elements needed for a page to be readable loaded first. In particular, The user can begin to get something out of your site before the page has finished fully loading.
Consequently, Doing this will get your mobile site within a 2 sec threshold for the user. Stopping them clicking off and go elsewhere, such as your competitors. Therefore, it is important to optimise your mobile website speed separately to that of your desktop site.
3. How Website Speed Affects Traffic & Rankings
As we have already established, a slow loading page will suffer from low user engagement. Anything from increased bounce rates, low average time on page and of course a lack of conversions. And as Google (reportedly) takes into account user behavior data as a search ranking factor, this could adversely affect your sites rankings. As an example, this would then impact upon your web traffic to the site. Should you no longer be within the top 3 of the SERPs. And, even worse, not on page 1 at all.
4. Slow Pages Kill Conversions
Conversely, Several case studies have demonstrated that fast loading sites can significantly increase conversions and boost sales. It was found that conversion rates drop when page loading time increases from 1-2 to 3-4 seconds. Akamai’s survey found that 47% of online users were expecting pages on retail sites to load in 2 seconds or less. And the percentage of tablet users expecting a website to load in 2 seconds or less has reached 70%. Site Performance on Mobile Devices matter even more. According to a report published by Google. They saw almost a third of total paid clicks coming from mobile devices in 2017. If that doesn’t convince you, these big businesses prove it;
· Amazon increases revenue by 1% for every 100 milliseconds of improvement.
· Mozilla shaved 2.2 seconds off its landing pages and increased download conversions by 15.4% – or 60 million more Firefox downloads per year.
· Shopzilla increased its landing page loading time from 6 seconds to 1.2 seconds and experienced a 12% increase in revenue and a 25% increase in page views.
· Yahoo increases traffic by 9% for every 400 milliseconds of improvement.
5. Humans are turning into goldfish
Human attention spans are getting shorter. The human attention span in 2018 is now at an all-time low at just 8 seconds. Infamously shorter than the memory span of a goldfish (8 seconds versus 9 seconds). According to Alertbox, this means that, 0.1-second loading time seems instantaneous to us goldfish type humans. As a result, a 1-second loading time doesn’t interrupt our thought process. So we are all good here. However, 10 seconds barely keeps our attention. Therefore, if your website and mobile sites are loading in over 9 secs. Then Human Goldfish are leaving your site to go to your competitors. Its estimated that on a mobile site at the average of 22 seconds. Therefore, you would have lost approx 53% of your visitors.
So how can you sort this out?
Incidentally, first test out your site on the many websites that have a tool for this. GTmetrix.com, Hubspot has a website grader, which gives some great insights. And of course, my recommendation would be to use google’s testmysite for your mobile site speed test.
Finally, there are various plug-ins for whichever platform you are on. That can help with your Website Speed issues. However, get your friendly neighbourhood SEO Expert or Webmaster to sort this for you!