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Site speed. Forever on the ‘To Do’ list, rarely prioritised, especially by the over 30s. I am one so I can say that. It doesn’t matter how many times I bemoan site owners for not treating it as a priority, the sheer finickity nature of improving site speed means they often avoid addressing it for vast swathes of time.
In my last post, The Importance of Technical SEO in 2015, I wrote a little about site speed:
“We have such short attention spans these days, not to mention barely a nano-second of patience when searching online. If your site is too slow people will leave and go to your competitors, within seconds, regardless of where you rank.
Here’s a few speed related facts as relayed by SEJ:
Us older ones grew up with computers that came with cassette players which screeched at us like this for over 20 minutes before our 8-bit games loaded up, if they loaded up at all.
After that, the Internet became available to the masses, and it made this noise.
If your Mum picked up the phone while you were using it, you were cut off. No, really.
So we would wait. But things have changed, and the world ain’t like that anymore. As per the above, not only is site speed a ranking factor, however big or small, but as important/more importantly users hate waiting, and they will leave if they become impatient.
According to this rather good infographic from KISSmetrics you are likely to lose 25% of users within four seconds, and a one second delay can result in a seven percent reduction in conversions.
KISSmetrics also tell us that:
This means you’re not only losing current users but potential ones too.
Taking all of the above into consideration, it’s clear that users are more likely to covert on a quick loading page.
But aside from that, Google are flagging site speed as an important factor, and it is taken into consideration when they amble through your landing pages too. Page speed affects your quality score. Your quality score affects your ad position, and cost. Poor page speed can result in lower positioned, more expensive ads, and no one wants that.
“The AdWords system visits and evaluates landing pages on a regular basis. If you’ve made significant changes to improve your landing page experience, it could lead to higher Quality Scores over time. You might not see an impact within the first few days, but you may see results over the next several months.” – Google
There are a number of tools freely available to show you how you’re doing:
Check your site speed in Google Analytics:
GTMetrix analyses your site and gives a detailed breakdown of potential issues:
Alternatively you may prefer WebPageTest which is a bit more visual:
So there you have it. Site speed is important, not just to Google but to your users too. Ask yourself again, can you afford to leave site speed at the bottom of your To-Do list?
Feature Image taken from BigStock
James Van Der Beek Image taken from QuickMeme