• Rucha Bajpai

You won’t have a second chance for that first impression: Everything starts with speed

What is site speed?

When a customer sits down to eat at a restaurant, slow service from the waiter often results in poor Yelp reviews and fewer future customers. Similarly, slow site speed can result in poor search engine rankings, lower overall site traffic, and negative user experiences.Website speed, or website performance, refers to how quickly a browser is able to load fully functional webpages from a given site. Poorly performing sites that render slowly in a browser can drive users away. Conversely, sites that load quickly will typically receive more traffic and have better conven ratersios.

Why is site speed important?

There’s been a renewed focus on page speed from Google recently with mobile speed becoming a ranking factor, a Speed Report in Google Search Console, and Chrome announcing they may flag sites that are slow.

Why You Should Care About Page Speed?

Here are the reasons you should care:

Impacts User Experience:- You want visitors to have a fast and smooth experience. Any delay or lag on their actions is noticeable.

Impacts Analytics:- Generally speaking, a faster site will record more visitors because the analytics tag will load sooner. If a person leaves before the tag is fired, they won’t be recorded in the analytics system.

Page SEO:- The Speed Update only impacts the slowest sites according to the official announcement.There are lots of studies showing that if you increase page speed, you’ll see increases in things like organic traffic, click to visit ratio on ads, more visitors in general, and many other benefits. WPO Stats has many example studies on page speed improvements.However, I will caution that many of these studies may be a bit misleading. Unless you were extremely slow before, Google says that improving page speed should not impact your rankings.

So why might you see more visitors?

The answer is that the analytics tag probably fired sooner than before, and was able to record more people before they leave a page.

Why website performance metrics are imprtant?

  • Load time is how long it takes for an entire webpage to appear in the browser, which means every HTTP request has to be fulfilled. Almost every page on the Internet will require multiple HTTP requests, because multiple resources need to be loaded in addition to the basic HTML of the page.

  • Page size is the total file size of all the resources that need to be loaded for the page to function. Page size impacts how long it takes for a browser to load the page, and it can also have a big impact on mobile users, who may be paying for data as they load webpages.

  • Time To First Byte (TTFB) measures the amount of time between a browser's request for a webpage and when the very first byte of the response arrives. Overall load time is more important, but TTFB is still taken into account when assessing website performance, and it may impact SEO.

  • The number of round trips measures how many times a request/response needs to travel all the way to an originserver and back. The more round trips a webpage requires, the greater the latency.

  • Round Trip Time (RTT) is the amount of time it takes for requests to make a round trip, meaning the request reaches the origin server and the response travels back to the device that made the request.

You don’t even have to listen very carefully because SEO people are shouting it from the rooftops: site speed is everything. Not a day goes by without a new article, white paper, Google representative or SEO expert telling us that optimizing for speed is one of the most important things you can do right now. And they’re right, of course! Site speed influences SEO in many ways. Here’s a small overview of how site speed and SEO go together.

You won’t have a second chance for that first impression: Everything starts with speed

You have put in a lot of effort to make sure that your site works well, it has a great structure and includes fabulous targeted and relevant content. But that won’t be the first experience your potential visitor/client/consumer has with your site. They will have to load your site first before they can access that killer content. If it takes ages to load, there will be a significant drop-off and a lot fewer people will visit your site. A much faster competitor is just a single click away. Not investing in a fast site is almost like you don’t care for your customers. No reason for them to stay, right?

On mobile, site speed is even more of an issue. According to research by Google, the average mobile site takes over fifteen seconds to load while people expect them to load in less than three seconds before they consider leaving altogether. Every second counts, as conversions drop sharply with every second longer, your site takes to load. With that said, what are some reasons to improve the loading speed of your site?

  • Site speed is a ranking factor

  • Fast sites are easier to crawl

  • Fast loading sites have higher conversion rates

  • It reduces bounce rates

  • Site speed is a ranking factor

  • Fast sites are easier to crawl

  • Fast loading sites have higher conversion rates

  • It reduces bounce rates

  • It improves Site speed is a ranking factor

  • Fast sites are easier to crawl

  • Fast loading sites have higher conversion rates

  • It reduces bounce rates

  • It improves general user experience. (less stress!)

  • It all boils down to this: improve your site speed if you want happy customers and happy search engines! And who doesn’t want that, right

Google has said time and again that a fast site helps you to rank better. Even as recently as this month, Google launched the so-called ‘Speed Update’ making site speed a ranking factor for mobile searches. Google stressed it would only affect the slowest sites and that fast sites getting faster won’t get a boost, but they are surely looking at site speed across the board. Only the slowest sites get hit now, but what about the future?

Loading times influence crawling?

Modern sites are incredibly wieldy and untangling that mess can make a big difference already. Fix your site structure, clean up old and outdated posts and bring those redirects in order. Invest in a better hosting plan and turn those servers into finely tuned machines. The bigger your site is, the more impact of speed optimizations will have. These not just impact user experience and conversion rates but also affects crawl budget and crawl rate. If your servers are fast, Googlebot can come around more often and get more done.

Site speed improves user experience

Did you know that people experience real stress when experiencing mobile delays? And that this stress level is comparable to watching a horror movie? Surely not you say? That’s what the fine folks at Ericsson Research found a couple of years back. Improving your site speed across the board means making people happy. They’ll enjoy using your site, buy more and come back more often. This, of course, means that Google will see your site as a great search result because you are delivering the goods when it comes to site quality. Eventually, you might get a nice ranking boosquality. Eventually, you might get a nice ranking boost. It’s a win-win situation!

How your website speed influences visibility?

Now that Google takes speed into consideration when ranking sites, your load times can also influence how easily users can find you in the first place.

This is especially true now that it is rolling out its mobile-first index. As of December 2017, the search engine has started ranking all search results based on the mobile versions of pages.

Mobile searches outnumbered desktop searches for the first time in 2015, and its share of overall search only continues to grow.

This means that it’s in Google’s best interest to cater its search results to mobile users. They don’t want to direct their users to sites that won’t load or function well on their devices.

As a result, mobile user experience will now play a major role in search rankings — even in desktop search results.

This is the exact opposite of how the index used to work.

User experience has long been a factor in rankings, but prior to this shift, it only took desktop experience into consideration. So even if a site provided a poor mobile experience, it still had a shot at ranking on page one.

This is no longer the case.

Now, pages are indexed and ranked based on the experience they provide mobile users.

So if you want to maintain (or improve) your rankings and visibility, it’s essential to know how to reduce loading time of website. You must have a site that provides a quick, easy user experience — on any browser or screen size. So first ask yourself that-

Why is my website slow?

You’ve conducted a site speed test and found your load time is pretty slow. (If you don’t know how to do a site speed test, I will explain later on in this post).

There could be a number of reasons why your site load time is lagging. It could be anything from server load time to image size to the number of redirects you have.

That means there are a whole bunch of steps you can take to improve page speed. We’ll look at 20 of them. But before you start troubleshooting to improve website performance, you need to have something to aim for.

Let’s take a look at what’s considered a good load time, to give you something to shoot for.

What is a good page load time?

Before you start working on your site’s speed, it’s a good idea to set a goal for where you want it to be.That can be difficult if you aren’t sure what an acceptable page speed is.According to Google, best practice is three seconds. Unfortunately,most sites are nowhere near that.In an analysis of 900,000 mobile ad landing pages spanning 126 countries, Google found that 70% of the pages analyzed took nearly seven seconds for the visual content above the fold to display.Of all the industries they included, none had an average even close to their recommended best practice of three seconds.The average time it takes to fully load a mobile landing page is 22 seconds, but 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load.Plus, as page load time goes from one to ten seconds, the probability of a mobile user bouncing increases by 123%.

Optimizing your site is not just looking at pretty numbers

Optimizing your site for speed is not as simple as getting a good score in all those site speed test tools. Don’t blind yourself on scores and metrics. Most tests emulate an unrealistic environment, but guess what: the real world matters even more. Every user is different. Every visitor uses a different type of internet connection, device and browser. Find out who your users are, how they access your site and what they do while they’re there. Combine classic tools like Google’s recently updated PageSpeed Insights, Page WebTest.org and Light house with analytical tools to get a broad overview of speed issues on your site. Use the recommendations to get started on improving your site speed, but do take these with a grain of salt; these recommendations are often hard to implement and not really realistict. Eventually, you might get a nice ranking boost. It’s a win-win situation!