Are You Fast Enough?

Site speed is critical for the overall performance of your website. Not only is it a ranking factor that is used by Google, it can also have a huge impact on user engagement as people are less likely to stay on a site that is slow to load. So the bottom line when you combine these two factors, is that a slow site affects your revenue.

Why Is Site Speed Important?

Ultimately a fast site is better for the end user, which is why it has an impact on user engagement and is therefore a ranking factor within Google.

How Site Speed Affects User Engagement?

A study has shown that a slow site can cause the same level of stress in people as watching a horror movie or sitting an exam, which is something I think we can all agree with!

Further studies have also shown that 47% of people expect a site to load in under two seconds, with 40% saying that they will leave a site that takes longer than three seconds to load. Those figures alone highlight just how important site speed is, as it shows that a huge portion of visitors to your site will leave if they are presented with a slow site.

How Site Speed Affects SEO?

Google’s ultimate goal is to provide a good experience to the end user, not only when utilising their search engine, but also on the sites that they direct them to. This means that it is a key ranking factor when it comes to SEO. So ensuring that your site loads as quickly as possible will also help you to achieve a higher rank for your keywords.

Why Is My Site Loading Slowly

Why Do Some Sites Load Slowly?

There are a huge number of factors that can contribute to a slow page speed, some of which are out of your control such as the internet speed of the user and the device that they are using. There are however a number that you can control and these are the ones that Google care about, they fall into the following categories: cache, bandwidth, and server processing and rendering.

How Fast Should Your Site Be?

It was once stated by Google that mobile sites should render and deliver the above the fold content on a page in under one second. But how fast does your site really need to be? Well the simple answer when it comes to SEO and site speed is that it needs to be faster than your competition, as long as your site loads faster than theirs it will be viewed more favourably by Google.

The best approach to this is to review the sites that are appearing on the first page of Google for your key terms and compare the speed of your site against them. If you find that your site is at a similar level to them then it will be considered normal, but if you are considerably slower then this could be one of the reasons that your site is not ranking as strongly.

How To Speed Up Your Website?

As mentioned there are a huge number of factors that can affect the speed of your site, but a few best practices that you can consider are as follows:

  • Compress the information between the web server and search engine browser
  • Minify JavaScript
  • Clean up and externalise your CSS code
  • Optimise your image file formats

But that is just the tip of the iceberg and there can often be a lot of work required to speed up sites that are especially slow. The best approach is to understand what is actually slowing your site speed down and then start with the biggest culprits first.

If you need help with your site speed then why not get in touch with us? We would be more than happy to discuss this with you and if required we can carry out an audit of your site to identify where the issues lie.

 

Written by Gareth Torrance

Hello there. I'm Gareth, the Search Engine Marketing Lead at Brave. With almost a decade of experience in PPC and SEO, I've seen everything from Pandas and Penguins to the horrible time that was Mobilegeddon. As a Google Ads Certified Google Specialist, I have lived through almost every major shift in the industry! And that makes me feel old.

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