You think your site’s fast, but does Google think it’s fast? Since late 2010, Google has considered site speed in its organic search-ranking algorithm. Site Speed for SEO matters, and affects indexation, traffic, rankings, conversions, engagement, and, ultimately, nearly every facet of online marketing.
If your site lags behind, you may find yourself farther down on the search engine rankings than you would like. What’s more, pages with a longer load time tend to have higher bounce rates and lower average time on page.
Your customers basically stop reading move along to your competitor’s site because they don’t want to wait.
And right there, I’m sorry to say, you just lost a quality lead.
Breaking it down further, here are a few reasons to pay attention to site speed:
1. Google thinks Site Speed for SEO is important.
If Google thinks it’s important, marketers should think it’s important. Google’s goal is “to make the whole web fast.”
Google created Page Speed Online, accessible via Google Labs, to help users analyze a website’s performance.If page speed is a factor in Google’s algorithm, it goes without saying that improved site speed will improve your ranking.
2. Customers think it’s important.
As mentioned, people don’t like to wait—in lines, for a dinner table, or for your page to load. One Amazon study showed a one percent decrease in sales for every 0.1s decrease in response time.
Other studies show that most customers expect pages to load in two seconds or less.If your site doesn’t hit the two-second mark, your visitors won’t stick around and likely won’t return. Modesto Siotos reports for Moz that fast-loading sites can increase conversions and sales. Walmart reported that sales drop as page loading time increases.
3. It affects mobile more.
Every second lost or gained on mobile (where consumers expect “delivered now” results) means either increased or decreased conversions. Mozilla saw a 15.4 increase in conversions when it shaved two seconds off its landing pages. Even a small increase in speed can yield big results in revenue.
Faster site speed means a better user experience especially when customers are on the go. Buyers will stay on your page longer and finish what they started if pages, especially images, load quickly and efficiently. This has a direct impact on conversion rate, lead generation, and revenue.
We Walk Our Talk
At Galileo Tech Media, we’re not just talking about site speed. Our ace programming team spent a ridiculous amount of time honing our site to make it Usain Bolt fast.
We pass the Google server response test—its benchmark is 200ms—with flying colors.
We devote the same level of attention to speed when we develop new sites, landing pages, and web/mobile apps for our clients.
We know a site that meets the 200ms benchmark will reap stellar SEO benefits, which affects all areas of marketing and advertising, from social media to web and mobile ads.
Before you head to the starting blocks and unleash your site’s inner Usain Bolt, however, you have to execute a site speed audit and then fix the problems. First you need to check your speedometer. Multiple tools will allow you to check your site’s load time.
Pingdom.com has a free tool that gives a breakdown on how long each asset on your site takes to load. It also identifies trouble spots. Here’s how we fared:
Pigdom gave us an A rating!
Google’s PageSpeed Insights, accessible via Google Labs, analyzes a website’s performance for desktop and mobile. It also gives suggestions on how to make your page faster. Think of it as your own personal coach.
WebPageTest.org tests from multiple locations around the globe using Firefox, Safari, and Chrome at “real consumer connection speeds.” Advanced testing includes multi-step transactions, video capture, content blocking, and more. Like Google’s tool, it offers suggestions for improvement.
5 Site Speed for SEO Tips
Now that you know your site speed rating, you have to execute the actions for improvement. Here are 5 tips to help you out:
1. Optimize Images
Make sure images aren’t any larger than they need to be. Save graphics as PNGs and photos as JPGs. Reduce larger web images to 80 to 100Kb; most smaller images will look fine at 20 to 30Kb.
3. Don’t forget browser cache
4. Use Real User Monitoring services
Real User Monitoring Services (RUM) offer site speed measurements based on actual visitors and page load times. Google Analytics is the most popular RUM service, yet Moz reports a few flaws. Other recommended services that are paid, but more accurate, include Torbit Insight, New Relic, and Log Normal.
With a premium account, Torbit provides conversion rate, user engagement, and bounce rate analysis—important data for marketers.
5. Try a content delivery network
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a paid service that hosts files on servers worldwide. When a user visits your site, the server closest to that person’s location delivers, giving faster load times and crash resistance. KeyCDN, CloudFlare, MaxCDN, and Amazon CloudFront are four options.
Faster pages lead to improved SEO, increased traffic, more time spent on page, and more conversions. Site speed may not be the first priority for a marketing manager, but a little bit of “speed work” can do wonders for your company’s online presence and revenue.
How does your website rate? Talk to us for customized suggestions on improving your site speed, or even a newly designed website.