Do you know how long it takes for any one page on your site to load? If not, then you could be one of many suffering from low SEO rankings because of slow page load times.
Today we’re taking a closer look at how page load speed plays an important role in SEO and what you can do about it.
What is Page Load Speed?
In the search engine world, page load speed refers to the amount of time it takes to download and display your website’s page content. This time is typically measured in seconds.
Gone are the days when it took several minutes to queue up a full website page. Users today demand more.
In terms of search engine analytics, site load time refers to your web performance and is a key metric that determines user engagement. In other words, your page load speed links back to your bottom line. The longer it takes to load pages on your website, the more money you lose as customers leave.
The next question you might ask is, what factors contribute to my site’s speed? A few include:
- The Hosting Server
- Bandwidth Being Sent
- Web Page Design
- Location of the User
- The Device Used
- Browser Type
Sure, some of these factors are beyond your control (specifically the device, browser and location) but the rest are within your control.
Your web page design, hosting server, and the information you send over are all the responsibility of the website owner.
As a company that offers website optimisation services in Manchester, we constantly run into small business owners who are unaware of the powerful affect page load time has on their bottom line. Let’s dig a bit deeper to see the total correlation between the two.
Why and How Does Page Speed Affect SEO?
All the way back in 2010, Google announced that website speed would be a factor in ranking in search results.
Why did they do this?
Because slow load times lead to poor user experiences. Poor user experiences lead to unhappy users, and Google doesn’t allow that.
Google has very specific metrics that contribute to page ranking factors, and your page speed plays a pivotal role. This is particularly true of your website’s infrastructure.
While somewhat complicated, time-to-first-byte (TTFB) relates to your website’s data. Research shows those with lower TTFB have higher search engine rankings.
The basic gist of why this is so, is that TTFB is easier for Google’s crawlers to pick up on and measure. This also relates directly back to your user experience, which is once again, what Google is most concerned with.
So the million pound question is, what is the desired page load time according to users and Google?
What is the Desired Page Load Time?
Recent surveys conducted by Akamai and Gomez.com show that roughly 50 percent of all web searchers expect pages to load within 3 seconds. After that, they click the ‘back’ button.
Studies also show that a 1-second delay in page response can create a 7 percent reduction in conversions. For a company making hundreds of thousands each day, a 7 percent loss in conversions can cost millions over the course of a year.
Another important statistic shows that nearly 80 percent of web shoppers who have trouble accessing a website’s pages say they wouldn’t return.
As a search engine marketing company in the UK, we also help folks pay close attention to what users want, because what they want is essentially what Google wants.
A recommended page load time for any website, whether you’re in eCommerce or blogging, is 3 seconds or less. If you can capture this page load time you’re chances of increasing conversions triple.
Now that you know what your load times should be, here’s how to figure out where you stand…
Tools for Testing Page Load Speed
Page Speed Online: This is Google’s own web-based tool that’s available on Google Labs or can be used as a Chrome extension.
Google Analytics Plugin via Yoast: Yoast is widely known for their killer resources and excellent tools, and this plugin can show you where you stand on page load times.
Google Webmaster Tools: Check your site load times on a month-by-month basis via this tool.
Decreasing Your Page Load Time
Now that you know how important it is, you might want to know how you can decrease your site load time. Unfortunately, most of the options are technical, and unless you fully understand the backend of your website, you aren’t likely to know how to do this.
As an SEO agency in the UK, we take the time to thoroughly analyze your site for things like page load times. We’ll use industry-leading tools to get to the bottom of your slow load time and make the necessary adjustments.
Increase your conversions, improve your user experience, and get a site that works by honing in on the details like page loading times. You’ll be glad you did.