A little over a year ago or so I began reporting the website page loading speed rates for my clients and comparing them to the website speed rates of their competitors. I have to say that the majority of the time the competitors’ rates are lower. Which leads me to believe that the impact of load time is not as significant as other factors that Google takes into consideration.
But then again, would the amount of traffic coming to those other websites be even MORE if their load time was improved? I tell you there are times I feel like a scientist, just when I find an answer to one question, another pops up. SEO truly is a combination of art and science.
Anyway, back to my topic on website page loading speed.
I’m reading an article this morning from WebProNews.com about page load time and they do report that “…page speed algorithim impacts rankings for less than 1% of search queries.” So, it is a very small factor in all the hundreds of factors that Google takes into consideration but the name of the game is to cover as many factors as possible.
The article then goes on to give 3 examples of how addressing page speed affected websites.
- Keri Morgret from SEOmoz reported that a site with load time issues saw “quite the drop in organic referrals from Google” when the page speed algorithm was pushed live.
- Work Coach Cafe reported a 40% growth in traffic after addressing site performance issues.
- Smartfurniture.com reported that rankings for 7 of its top 10 keywords improved after site speed was increased.
So, although this particular algorithim doesn’t impact rankings often, when it does, there is definitely a significant effect. Look at it this way, if your website and the competitors’ website both ranked 90/100 in all other seo factors, the tipping factor may be that your website loads faster than your competitors.
How Much Time Should We Spend On Page Speed Issues?
The truth is that with every website there are certain factors that we can control and others that we cannot. Websites in WordPress cannot be manipulated as easily as custom websites (or at all), websites with databases are confined to the restrictions of that database, design issues, flow issues, graphic issues. These are just a few of the restrictions that SEO webmasters come across when trying to optimize a website. So, there’s no doubt that page speed is something that we have some control over, even if it’s just to reduce the size of the graphics.
Page Speed And Your Users
When I first started working on page speed it was for the website users. I read report after report that if the page doesn’t load up within 2 seconds, the user moves on to the next site. So, what’s the point of all my hard work to get the website in the top rankings only to lose the user when the actually click through to the site? So, I began working on page speed issues. This article lists some interesting research on how page load times impact user experiences…
- A Google study found that “slowing down the search results page by 100 to 400 milliseconds has a measurable impact on the number of searches per user.”
- Shopzilla achieved a 25% increase in pageviews and a 7-12% revenue increase by speeding up its site.
- AOL presented data showing that page load speeds can impact pageviews per visit by up to 50%.
- A 1 second delay can decrease conversions by 7%.
- 75% of users said that they would not return to a website that took longer than 4 seconds to load.
- Nearly half of users expect webpages to load in 2 seconds or less.
At the end of the day all any of us can do is to try to get our websites to meet as many of the requirements as possible in order to achieve top ranking. Whether it’s domain authority or keyword relevance or page speed, you want to reach for the top numbers in as many different ranking requirements as possible. But take a moment to read this great article, it just may give you some insight into why your SEO webmaster is working until 2 am every day!
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