Why is website load speed so important to your business and your SEO? Does a fraction of a second matter … well yes it does. I’m going to explain why it matters but consider this statistic as the short answer - half of us do not like to wait 2 seconds for a website to pop up. If you take longer, then bye-bye prospect. So yes, it affects the user experience, your rankings in search engines and eventually your conversions and sales. I’ve seen it happen with one site where we were doing the search engine optimization in Brisbane and it was getting great rankings and then a plugin affected the website page speed and the ranking plummeted.
First impressions are always important and your visitors make an instant judgement about your business. Psychology shows that we consider fast sites to be reliable and professional, we believe the company is more efficient and it inspires trust and confidence. On the other side, if we have a slow website we start to think it isn’t secure or safe and maybe not trustworthy. It is the first impression, you only get one chance and it is really hard to change the impression. And the stats show, after an initial bad experience 79% of people won’t come back.
Nearly half of the population expect your website to load in less than 2 seconds and 40% will abandon your site if it is longer than 3 seconds.
If we are out and about and using our mobile phones, we are even less patient to get our answers. Of course, there are some exceptions, we seem to be more lenient with Google or Facebook but also if you know the site and it is high in images, visitors are more tolerant and will wait. But for a small business they will be less tolerant.
Consider the main reason why people are visiting your site and give them what they are looking for and give it to them fast. So, it isn’t just speed of your technical website but speed to the information they need. Give your users a good experience. If they get frustrated or confused, then they won’t come back.
Now that we know 40% of people will abandon your site if it is longer than 3 seconds then consider it - you could be losing 40% of your potential customers.
Amazon did a test that showed that a one second speed slow down on their website meant they would lose $1.6 BILLION every year. How much money could you be losing?
We already know that Google is focused on speed as they have stated - “We’re striving to make the whole web fast”.
Although we don’t know all the factors and their interplay in the Google search algorithms, however we do know that they take website load speed into account. If your website is an average speed it won’t create much of a change, but if your site is really slow you will have a bad effect in your rankings.
The other information that Google have put out that relates to website speed is that if a server is slower than 2 seconds Google will reduce the amount of crawlers to that site. In effect you have a “crawl budget” where Google picks up your new pages and changes and indexes them for other people to find them. If your speed is slow then you will have your budget used up before it even makes it to your new pages. Which means it will be less likely for searches to show up your latest updates or posts.
Bounce rate is if people leave your site without moving around your pages. As I mentioned earlier people will leave your site (bounce off it) if it is too slow and hence will increase your bounce rate. Google utilises bounce rate to determine if your site answers the search query that was put to them. If you have visitors going to your site from a search query and then leaving, Google thinks you are less likely to be an answer for that query and will move you down in the rankings. You end up with an increased bounce rate because of your speed, even though you might be the perfect answer for the search query. With the end results of Google moving you down the search query results page. Which is the opposite effect to what you need.
Try to aim to get your page as fast as you possibly can, the first aim is to get under 5 seconds that makes you faster than 25% of the websites out there. But because of the reasons I have mentioned above, I would try to get your site under 2 seconds and that will be faster than about ¾ of the websites out there.
If you’re wondering how your speed measures up, head over to Google’s PageSpeed Insights, which also gives you some suggestions on what to do to help improve the speed. And if you need any help then contact us as we can assist with your website speed and search engine optimization. Click here to see some of our packages.