More than ever before, page speed is crucial to the success of your website’s ability to rank on search engine results pages (SERPs). And although its significance in Google’s ‘ranking criteria’ is pretty obvious, a lot of business owners turn a blind eye to this part of their marketing strategy.
Beyond the impacts of Google, whether your site loads quickly or not also influence user behaviour, your conversion rate and a plethora of analytics you’d prefer to see stay in the green.
So let’s get into the nitty-gritty of why this all matters so much.
What is page speed?
It’s all about the quality of your content, right, not the speed it loads at. Wrong.
Page speed is essentially the amount of time it takes your server to load all of the content on your overall page. It also includes how long it takes your browser to receive a request from a web server as an initial batch of information.
Note! Page speed is measured completely separate from mobile devices. This is because the technology difference between them means user and server behaviour don’t perform the same way as they do on a desktop. When assessing the speed of your site, it’s crucial to include all of these in your analysis.
There’s a difference between page and site speed
Yep, they’re different. In a nutshell, site speed is an overall average of multiple ‘sample’ pages across your site. Page speed, however, demonstrates how long a person will have to wait to see an entire, individual page appear in front of them.
So why does it all matter so much?
Think of it this way: if you stood in a long queue at a cafe, waiting to order your almond milk latte, only for the cashier to take their time, how would you react?
We wouldn’t blame you if you left the option next door instead, even though you’d have to opt for soy instead. Ultimately, as consumers, we crave instant resolutions in the modern age. We don’t want to wait, and thanks to the rise of digital technology, we don’t have to. So why would you?
The same goes for your website. If it’s taking its sweet, sweet time to load up all of its goodies, then the user won’t stick around for it unless they don’t have a lot else to attend to (if that’s you, we’re a little green).
And then there’s keeping in Google’s good books. Let’s go back to the cafe experience and assume Google is a happy customer that’s looking to spread the good word about the speedy service they had when ordering their brew. They tell their friends; their friends tell their friends. Word gets around.
Google works in this exact way, for the exact same reason: to promote value-driven experiences and answers for others asking for suggestions. Therefore, they won’t recommend a cafe that doesn’t give the best, quickest service, just as it wouldn’t rank slow websites on its results pages.
What we’re saying is that all search engines are still a business on their most basic level. They needs to fulfill, and that’s to solve the problems of users that are querying inputs. Whether that’s the best local plumber in their area or where they can snatch the latest video games – Google wants to be the number one solution to user problems, and that all comes with satisfying through quality answers. A slow website is not one of those.
How fast is fast?
If you ask Kissmetrics, a page that takes more than three seconds to load will result in a quarter of users straying away altogether. For mobile, speed is a huge issue, with 73 per cent of users stating they always experience slow-loading websites.
Simply put, if you’re not serving up the goods in a matter of seconds, you’re losing out on tremendous opportunities. And guess who will reap the benefits? Your competitors.
On that note, we’re rounding off this article with an easy way you can check your site and page speed to see if it’s up-to-scratch. Head to Pingdom for a free online tool that lets you assess how fast your website’s engine’s revving, and regularly check back to make sure this isn’t fluctuating.
If you’re not confident in checking or would rather have an expert assess whether everything is in perfect working order, we’re ready and raring to go – just get in touch with the Significant team now.