Are you one of those folks who believe it’s only quality content that matters when it comes to getting ranked on Google? Or you think the speed of your website doesn’t have that much of an effect on your conversion and sales? Be very careful! Website speed is going to be more important than ever before in 2019.
Website Speed Directly Impacts Your Google Search Rankings
So, how important is website speed for Google rankings? Well, as per Google, users want to be able to find answers to their questions as fast as possible.
Although website speed has been used in ranking for some time, that signal was focused on desktop searches. Since July 2018, page speed has been an official ranking factor for mobile searches.
So, if your web pages are loading too slow, you are unlikely to rank on the top (or 1st page) on Google search results, despite having quality content. After all, the website speed directly affects user experience, which is a huge factor for better rankings on Google. Read why site speed and site design can affect your Google rankings.
Good Content Alone is Not Going to be Good Enough in 2019
With websites, content is king. If you have the best content out there, you can get away with other things being suboptimal. Likewise, if your content is bad, no amount of optimization will get your website to the top.
However, you’ll hardly ever achieve complete domination with content alone. It’s difficult to find a website without competition. So, you should get any possible advantage over your competitors.
Content is the King. But, everyone is now coming up with good quality content.
This is where website speed comes in.
Website Speed Makes a Huge Difference in Conversions and Sales
Does website speed matter for succeeding in online business? Yes. Your website speed can really make or break your business.
You might be getting tons of visitors on to your site. But, if your page loading speed is pathetic, you are hardly going to make sales.
Your website speed is important for a number of reasons. Your website must load as fast as possible so your visitors don’t get impatient and leave before you’ve had a chance to show off who you are and what you can do for them.
Approximately, 50% of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds. 79% of web shoppers who have trouble with website performance (and website speed) say they won’t return to the site to buy again and around 44% of them would tell a friend if they had a poor experience shopping online.
Just a 1 second delay in webpage loading can result in a 7% decline in conversions, 11% fewer page views, and 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.– Neil Patel
Page speed is often confused with website speed aka”site speed,” which is actually the page speed for a sample of page views on a site. Page speed can be described in either “page load time” (the time it takes to fully display the content on a specific page) or “time to first byte” (how long it takes for your browser to receive the first byte of information from the web server).
Website Speed is Critical for SEO
Clearly, speed can provide an edge over your rivals. So, what advantages can you expect?
To start, there’s the SEO improvement. Nobody knows the exact parameters of Google’s search algorithm, but we know it takes speed into account. If your website is the fastest among the competition, Google will probably bump up its search ranking.
And this is not all. Even if your website has the number 1 ranking, load times can bring in or drive away visitors. If your load time is 5 seconds as opposed to 1, 90% more visitors bounce away after seeing only one page. Faster loading also means more visitors return to your site. Visitors also stay longer on faster websites and see more pages. So if you want more traffic, faster load times are the way to go.
As you see, speed can determine a website’s success. If you’re a website owner, we recommend that you look into optimizing your load times after learning everything there is about website speed in the infographic by Hosting Tribunal.
In a nutshell, even if website speed isn’t a significant contributor to Google rankings, it can make a huge impact on your conversion rate and sales. Read why website speed matters and how Amazon would lose USD $1.6 Billion if it slows down.
How to Test Your Website Speed
Here are my favourite 5 tools to check your website loading speed.
- Google Developers (Google’s PageSpeed Insights) – It is an online page speed test site which provides some great insights into what you need to do to improve your site’s performance. You will get a score from 0-100. If you rank above 90, then you’re in good shape. Google can also tell you why your page is loading slowly and can suggest ways of how to improve.
- Pingdom – Pingdom is another great tool to test a site’s speed. Pingdom also offers DNS health checks and a free alert service that notifies you when your website is up or down. However, please be advised that the free Pingdom service is considerably poorer in data, in comparison to other tests.
- GTMetrix – GTMetrix provides a great analysis of a website by giving grades on both Page Speed and YSlow. In addition to measuring speed, this tool also gives you info about why your page speed is slow.
- Google Analytics Plugin by Yoast – If you’re using WordPress and the Google Analytics plugin by Yoast.com, you’ll also be glad to know that it now incorporates the Site Speed feature too. Among other things, it can help you understand how quickly or slowly your page loads across different parts of the world and different browsers.
- WebPage – WebPageTest is another very detailed benchmarking tool. Again, you can choose a browser and location from which to test. The results can feel a bit overwhelming at first. There are several tabs to go through to get all the relevant info. WebPageTest really draws a very good picture of your entire domain. Just like GTMetrix.com, this tool has extensive documentation that covers all aspects of the provided analysis.
So, do you want to improve your website speed in 2019?
But, you don’t have too much technical expertise and/or budget to hire resources.
Stay tuned for the next post!
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Acknowledgment: I would like to thank Harsha Reddy (SEO Tribunal) and Nick Galov (Hosting Tribunal) for their valuable inputs for this article.