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How Page Speed Affects Search Engine Rankings

As a company, you’re surely putting plenty of effort into your marketing strategies. From covering various traditional methods like billboards, TV ads, and magazines to taking care of your social media and video marketing, there are many aspects to think about if you want to reach your target audience. One important factor you cannot afford to neglect is your website. It is often the first time consumers interact with your brand and if they are not welcomed by a pleasant experience, they are very likely to look elsewhere for the products and services they need. With that in mind, you should understand why the loading speed is important and how it can affect search engine results. Here are some useful tips.

What happens when your page load time is slow?

First of all, you should understand that there are several things that affect how search engine rankings work. Besides mobile friendliness, website security, links, and authority, search engines also take page speed into account when ranking websites. If you’re investing in search engine optimization, covering all bases is vital, which is why you shouldn’t overlook this aspect when working on your website. Listed below are some consequences of slow loading times.

Increased bounce rate

A high bounce rate is certainly something you don’t want to be faced with. As the bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that have left your website after viewing only one page, you can see why this can be a problem. On the other hand, you also don’t want a number that is too low as that can indicate that something on your site is broken. You want to aim for a number between 26 and 40%, while anything up to 70% is somewhat acceptable. If the algorithm notices a very high or low percentage, it will think something is wrong with your website, which will certainly affect your ranking.

Decreased page views

Another commonly tracked metric you want to pay attention to is page views. You can use them to see what your audience is interested in, user behavior trends, and how well your website is actually optimized. However, if your website is too slow to load, visitors will simply take their business elsewhere and you will not be getting this crucial data. While page views are not a ranking factor, they can tell a search engine if your site is popular and help you boost it.

Lowered conversion rate

If visitors don’t find your website on the first page, they are less likely to visit it. Being ranked low due to slow loading time can also lower your conversion rate. Moreover, even if they do manage to find your website in a sea of similar ones and manage to put a few products into the shopping cart, waiting for the checkout page to load can simply drive them away, especially as taking too long to deal with financial information can create the appearance of an unsecured website.

Reduced dwell time

Slow-loading pages can also reduce dwell time. Dwell time is the time a visitor spends looking at your website after they’ve found you in the search results before they go back to the results. It’s basically the time that it takes them to evaluate your website and decide if it’s worth staying on and clicking on other links. If your web presentation takes too long to open properly, this time and your chances to grab their attention for potential actions decrease drastically.

How to make your page load faster?

Taking into account the fact that people that try to visit your website once and have to wait for too long to see any content are most likely to never return again, it’s vital that you improve your load time. Here are some tips that can help you retain visitors and turn them into customers.

Choose the right web host

A big factor in how fast your pages load is your website host. The speed can be slower if you share a server with several other websites. As you don’t want to drive away potential customers, look into the best options that are at your disposal.

Properly optimize your website

There are several things you can do to optimize your website properly. For starters, turning to experts for SEO in Sydney is a great idea if your business is located in Australia, as they will know exactly how to approach the whole ordeal and get you to the first page of SERPs. Besides ensuring you cover all the most important keywords and phrases, they understand all other ranking factors, including page speed, that have an impact on where you appear on the search results.

Turn on browser caching

The speed at which your website loads can be negatively affected if there are several page elements that new visitors have to fetch. By activating browser caching, information is temporarily stored in visitors’ browsers, which can speed up the loading time and make it even faster for every subsequent visit. There are many free plugins you can try out.

Compress large images

If your website uses a huge number of large images, they could be affecting the loading speed. You want to use apps that can compress and decompress images which reduces the time necessary for CSS, HTML, and JavaScript file downloads.

Reduce the number of resources

Perhaps your website has too many CSS files, which causes countless HTTP requests and negatively affects the speed of your site. Reducing your CSS files and thus removing unnecessary spacing, characters, and comments in the content you post could do wonders for your website. If this is something you don’t know how to handle on your own, it’s a good idea to rely on professionals with plenty of experience in this field.

Lower HTTP requests

In case you were not aware, every part of the website that allows for it to function properly, such as CSS, HTML, fonts, and images, needs a separate HTTP request. When there are too many requests, your website could become very slow. Furthermore, if you’re using plugins, they can add more files that need to be processed. To handle this, you can consider combining CSS into a single file, using sprites for images, and reducing plugins.

With all the downsides of slow loading times, it’s easy to see why improving it is of the highest importance. Keep these pieces of advice in mind.