Have you ever visited a site which takes forever to load? What do you do? You just simply leave the site and move to the next one. With innumerable options on Google search result pages, users generally opt for sites which load faster. But we cannot say that speed is the only factor by which the site gets ranked high by Google. Content, design, and responsive sites are still important factors for ranking in SERPs. But what we want to discuss now is why site speed really matters for SEO and what are the factors affecting the speed of the site.
Not only desktop users but also mobile users crave for site speed and opt for websites which load faster. All the internet users around the globe are getting impatient and their attention spans are getting short. So if your websites fall into the second category of sites where pages and content load slowly, you are most likely to lose customers every few minute.
Site speed matters to Google
Google keeps updating on factors which affect site rankings every few years which changes the dynamics of all the online businesses. So it made site speed an important aspect in rankings as it affects the user experience. If a site loads fast, there is a high chance that users will remain on your website and conversions go up. Unless the site is incredibly down or the does not open up, Google doesn’t penalize your website.
Relevance of site speed and visitors
A fast loading website usually fares much better at conversions than its counterparts. If your website pages load fast, it gives users to go all through the products and come to a decision fast instead of waiting for hours to see all the loaded pages. Loading at a faster rate also makes navigation easy and increases the number of visitors per page. A decrease in site speed can often lead to drastic fall in your conversions and e-commerce sites experience shop cart abandons more because of the delay. It directly impacts on the revenue of the business.
Factors affecting site speed
• Unauthorized browsers usually reduce the speed of the site. Installation of apps and various Plug-ins also decrease the efficiency. Having apps and media with Flash can drastically slow the loading time.
• Websites are usually run by hosting companies. So the choice of your hosting company can affect the performance. Hiring or selecting a cheap web host usually results in poor performance of the site.
• The design and theme selection of the website also factors in when it comes to speed of the site. Using a complicated and heavy theme with a lot of designs and special effects can reduce the performance.
• If your website is hosting a lot of ads, it not only annoys the visitors but also slows down your loading time of the site.
• The High Definition images and videos take up a lot of data and usually are a reason to lag of site loading. Image optimization is the number one problem which slows down a site. It is better to use compressed images if that HD quality is causing you a loss in conversions.
• The resources your website uses like software, analytical tools, plug-ins, and web hosting choices improve or decrease your server response time. Fix these issues to optimize your response time to the first byte.
• Using dense codes and too many widgets causes a delay in loading of the site. It is better to clean up the code to make your site perform faster.
• Make use of content delivery networks (CDN) to load the site faster based on the geographical location of the user.
• Reduce high bounce rates by concentrating more on the functionality and performance rather than the look of the website.
There are several tools available to see how your website is performing and what are the factors affecting its speed. Check how the site speed varies from browser to browser and on different devices before hosting. Removing or modifying the negative aspects will give the Google crawlers a breath of fresh air to get to your site fast. Even though the percentage of ranking factor regarding site speed is on the low, it still has a significant effect on user experience and is not to be the neglected factor for SERP rankings.
Websites which load faster are known to be more reliable than its competitors. The site loading time has become an important factor to determine how many users visit your site and how long they stay on your web page. Being a site owner you would have the opportunity to optimize the site better from time to time and carve a structured approach to make your site fare better in SEO.
Author’s Bio : I’m currently working as Content Manager with SEO Experts India. I have a great passion for digital marketing and I help small and medium-sized businesses improve their online presence and grow their revenue by formulating effective digital marketing strategies for them. Apart from Digital Marketing, I have a keen interest in Entrepreneurship, Online Reputation Management, Quality Link Building Tech Consultancy, etc.