Site Speed for SEO: Why It Matters

3rd of May

It’s no surprise that websites with slow speeds or loading times lead to decreased customer satisfaction. It’s also been shown that site speed has a connection with conversions. In short, the better your site speed, the higher your conversions will be.

Google has announced a new ranking factor that they use when ranking pages: page speed. Yes, this means that site speed needs to be a priority for your site if you want to rank your website as quickly as possible.

 

The benefits that come from making this a priority are many. For instance, viewer experiences will be improved as will your conversion rates. In this guide, we want to focus more on how site speed affects search engine optimisation (SEO) and why this should matter to you!

 

Does Site Speed Impact SEO?

 

Page speed impacts your website ranking because of the effect it has on SEO. You may have optimised your site with rich SEO techniques and strategies, but did you know that site speed can hurt your page results ranking?

 

Not only does this have a direct effect on user experience (especially on mobile devices), but for every second that it takes for your page to load, you are losing money. Research shows that even large companies like eBay or Amazon lose out on thousands of dollars every day because of site speed.

 

On average, you can expect a large e-commerce site to load in about 7 seconds while the ideal loading time is 3 seconds or less. Think about how many customers you’re missing out on because your page took just a couple seconds too long to load.

 

You can actually use two handy tools that Google offers to see how your own site is performing. The first tool is their competitive analysis tool, which will compare your site to others. The second tool estimates how much money you’re losing every second.

 How site speed helps your seo

What Is Hurting Your Site Speed?

 

It may seem confusing or difficult to determine what it is that is lowering your page speed. It could be several things, but let us walk you through 5 common reasons your site speed may be suffering and how to address them:

 

1. The Host You Are Using

 

You will always get what you pay for. If you invest in a cheap hosting provider, chances are your page speed will suffer. To avoid this problem, you want to explore host options and select the one that fits your business size and will give you quick response and loading times.

 

2. The Images You’re Using Are Too Large

 

Images are great, but when they are too heavy to load, they aren’t living up to their purpose. Instead, they’re affecting page speed and bringing more harm than good. Consider using PNG for images since they don’t require the high details like JPEG and logos do for photos.

 

3. Think Twice About Videos

 

We aren’t saying that videos aren’t great to use, just be careful with external embedded media such as videos. While they are very valuable, they do take more power to load. A great way to add some load time is to host videos or media through your own server.

 

4. Test Your Site on All Browsers

 

Every browser will load your website in a different way, which is why it’s a good idea to test your site on all browsers. Unoptimised browsers, apps, or plugins can dramatically lower your page speed.

 

5. Tone It Down With The Advertisements

 

A couple of ads here and there are okay. However, too many advertisements can impact your site negatively. Not only will they slow download time, but your visitors don’t want to be bothered by an overload of ads.

 

6. Less Is More

 

It’s often the case that less is more. When it comes down to designing your site, you want to go with a theme that doesn’t contain too many effects. Too much commotion going on within your theme will only penalise your site speed.

 

The same goes for widgets such as comment areas or social media buttons. Keep all of this at a minimum to improve your page speed. It will all come down to deciding what is really important and what “extras” you can get rid of to improve load time.

 

How to Improve Site Speed

 

To improve SEO, you need to enhance your page speed. How? Try any of these practices:

 

  • Minimise HTTP Requests. You can decrease your load time if you limit the number of HTTP requests. The fewer there are, the faster your page will load. This includes reducing scripts, images, style sheets, and other items that require load time.
  • Combine CSS. It’s a good idea to combine all CSS into an external file. Then link it from the <head> section as opposed to loading it within the HTML of the page. Doing this will allow the external page to be cached increasing its load time. Do the same for JavaScript.
  • CSS Sprites. Use them whenever you can as they will combine the images used within the background into one image, consequently reducing the number of HTTP requests.
  • Optimise Images. Be certain that all your images are optimised for the web. If you use Photoshop, simply select “save for the web” instead of “save. Doing this formats the images in a more effective way, resulting in a smaller file size.
  • Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network). This will give users the ability to download information in parallel, which will help your website load much quicker.

 

There are other ways to improve site speed, but these are a great start! Don’t let Google penalise you for having slow loading times. Instead, stay ahead of the competition.

 

Conclusion

 

As you can see, there is a strong connection between site speed and SEO. Slow loading times can hurt your conversion rate and affects your search engine optimisation. The benefits of improving your site speed are plenty. If you haven’t made this a priority within your site, now may be the time!