The Importance of Fast Page Speeds for Your SEO
At one point or another, we’ve all shot daggers at the small spinning wheel that taunts us while a web page loads. What feels like a lifetime is in fact only 5 seconds or more, but either way it’s frustrating.
However, apart from making even the most patient saint want to drop their device from a third story window, slow page speeds can have a negative impact on your SEO in more ways than one.
- User experience
Rightfully, one of the biggest implications of slow page speeds is the harmful effect it has on the user’s experience of a site. For any site, the speed in which a user can find the information or product they’re after will determine whether they stay on the site and whether they convert.
The navigation process on a website should be swift and effortless. If the user is noticeably having to wait every time a web page loads, the likelihood of them leaving your site and completing the conversion process with one of your competitors is high. To put this into perspective, 53% of mobile users will leave a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Indeed, user experience is particularly important for e-commerce websites such as our client Alsico. A lengthier session than most online experiences, e-commerce sites enable users to browse a vast range of products – opening on average between 2-10 pages per session. In response to this, the browsing process needs to be quick to guarantee a conversion from the user. On top of this, businesses like Alsico don’t have a physical store, the quality of the user’s experience is where they build customer loyalty and determine the level of customer retention.
- Bounce rate
In hindsight, you may have already guessed this one, but slow page speeds can increase your bounce rate percentage. Nevertheless, other than the most obvious downfall of this being that your users aren’t staying on the site, another downfall is that Google may perceive this is due to your website not holding the relevant information to answer the user’s search.
Read on to find out how this conclusion by Google could affect two separate areas of your marketing.
- Google ads not appearing?
Any Google Ads experts out there will understand the pain of acquiring the perfectly balanced Quality Score for each of your selected keywords. To do this, there is a list of criteria that needs to be met, one of these being relevant content on the designated landing page to answer the user’s question.
As stated above, Google often views a high bounce rate as a sign that the content on said website is not relevant and leaves users dissatisfied. Therefore, the relevancy criteria would not be met and could lead to a below average Quality Score making it difficult to compete with competitors for certain keywords and resulting in your ads not being shown at all.
- Dropped in the Google search results?
Alternatively, in conjunction with being well-optimised and referred to by other credible websites, user experience plays a key role when Google decides which websites should appear at the top of the first page. As we well know by now, page speed rates are a factor that can increase your bounce rate level, indicating that your user experience leaves little to be desired.
For example, our client – East Coast Insulations – have a rotating banner image on their homepage, static banner images on every other page, and various images that load elsewhere on the pages. As a result of this, their page speeds were detrimental to the user experience as there was an abundance of features that needed to be loaded in before the page was ready to display completely to the user. By carrying out a simple step such as compressing and resizing the images, we were able to reduce their loading times and bounce rate.
Not only will user experience determine where you appear in the organic search results, but also in the voice search results. Specifically, when a user searches verbally, the need for a quick verbal response from their voice assistant is urgent to not leave the user waiting in silence. With voice search expected to equate to 50% of searches by 2020, the importance to level your chances of appearing in them is high.
To round everything up, poor page speeds have more implications than just winding up your users and should be approached with similar attitude as site optimisation and link building: improve and excel.