SEO Best Practice: Why Page Loading Speed Matters
Most website managers who care about things like page conversions have at least heard that page speed matters, but they may not be able to say why that’s so. What do you think?
We all can relate to a website that simply stalls before loading content, or in another typical scenario, experience content that loads painfully slow. Most of us agree that either experience is annoying. But beyond annoying web visitors, let’s find out what the real consequences are for a sluggish website.
Show Me the Money
Once you assign a dollar value to speed, it becomes crystal clear in terms of real costs why the enduring visitor perception and experience with page speed relates directly to customer service and brand value.
For example, KISSmetrics presented statistics from Akamai who studied the dollar cost of speed as it relates to page conversions. They found a 1-second delay in page response time results on average in a 7% increase in page abandonment. The kicker here is that page abandonment exponentially grows as seconds add up, so a 4-second delay results in about 28% page desertion, which means your sluggish website is hemorrhaging visitors and potential income at an alarming rate!
Maybe this doesn’t seem like a big deal if you measure things like downloads and other call-to-actions where speed is not considered a critical metric, but it is an important metric when applied to an e-commerce site making $100,000 per day.
Think about it; a 1-second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales per year. Additionally, page speed is an important online metric for both perceived customer service and brand quality.
SEO Best Practice: Check Your Website’s Speed
What does speed mean to website managers in 2018 and beyond? Don’t ignore it! Do everything in your power to increase the page speed of your website for both desktop and mobile sites. If your website is responsive, make sure it works well on every device imaginable. If you test your website and it’s found to be less than optimum, contact a competent web developer who knows how to optimize your website’s speed. It’s more affordable than most other SEO endeavors, and you have nothing to lose but customers—right?
Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to see your score and take notice of any advice they may give you in the results. Secondly, take a look at the size of your page, as many sites are bloated nowadays. Try to shave off as much as you can by optimizing images, compressing code and loading fewer external scripts and ads.
Maybe it’s time to drop the most egregious designer “cuties” that bloat your website and go with a more minimalist approach. What customers love most about your site is the content and how quickly they can see it!
Google Loves Speed, Too
Speed is most critical when web visitors are using mobile devices, but desktop websites are not off the hook. Google takes note of your website’s optimization for all devices, and poor results reduce search ranking automatically by its Page Rank algorithms. If your website speed is annoying enough to catch Google’s attention, then it’s a sure bet your user experience is in the toilet, too.
Of course, there are over 200 factors that make up Google page ranking; however, not all elements are weighted evenly or even come close to the importance of speed. Yes, your website should be responsive so it can work well on all types of devices. Yes, you should have a security certificate whether you are doing e-commerce or not. And yes, you need to optimize your website for speed. Once these things are in order, you can continue to add to the list, but these items are the most important after great content, which will always be number one.