How Increasing Your Site Speed Can Help You Win at SEO
By Marc Reifenrath on June 28, 2016 in Digital Marketing
Google has many, many factors that determine your ranking or placement in the search engine results pages. One particular area that is gaining attention, especially as we shift to a mobile-first world, is how fast your page loads. Mobile traffic has now eclipsed 50% of online traffic which truly shows this issue will not go away.
There are many elements to creating a fast and efficient site and pages. We’ll outline a few primary elements below.
First off, what is Page Speed?
Page speed is best defined as the time it takes to fully load a page. This includes all content and images.
Any way you look at it a faster loading page is a really good thing. Users won’t become frustrated by a slow loading page and bounce (want to know more about bounce rates?). With this you will naturally see a higher converting page as a result.
Google Ranking Signals
Google has clearly indicated that site speed, which would trickle down to page speed, is a ranking signal. This dates all the way back to 2010.
Low Hanging Fruit - SEO Best Practices
So what are some of the easy “low hanging fruit” items that are easy to control?
- Image sizes - be sure to optimize each file to be the exact size you want it to display on your site. I would also recommend running it through a compression tool like www.TinyPNG.com. This can reduce file size by more than 70%.
- Reduce redirects - with each redirect you use you are adding to the load time for the user. While we love redirects for many reasons you do want to be cautious in how you use them.
- Server response time - make sure your hosting solution is up to snuff. Cheap hosting isn’t always the best option. Shared hosting can put resources out of your control and slow your site’s response time.
- Eliminate broken links and bad files - broken links or images that are no longer found create wasteful requests.
Does Page Load Time Decrease Conversions?
The simple answer is yes! Close to half of all web users expect your site to load in two seconds or less. If the page takes more than three seconds to load there is a high chance the user will leave or “bounce.”
Here are a few stats:
- 73% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that was too slow to load.
- 38% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that wasn’t available.
- 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
- 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
- A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
While this is an important topic don’t become over alarmed. Take care of the easy items that you are in control of. SEO isn’t won with one tactic, you have to keep playing the “whack-a-mole” game to keep winning with your SEO efforts. Need help with SEO? We can help! We have a team of experts that are ready to geek out with you about SEO.