How fast your site loads has an impact on your results. Period.
In fact, if your site doesn't load in just over the time it took you get to "period," you could lose visitors. That's right: Today's website visitors are looking for instant gratification. They don't have the patience to wait for your website, no matter how great it might be when it finally does load.
A mere two seconds.
Think about it in terms of a race: If you've ever watched swimming or sprint event, a two-second differential can actually seem like a long time. Swimmers in a 200-meter event are attempting to shave fractions of a second off their race times; two seconds can mean the difference between first place and 16th place.
Now, think about it in terms of your own Web browsing experiences. How often have you clicked on a search result and then backtracked because the site didn't load quickly? A lot? Yes, that's common.
For all the good SEO you might have, and for all the top rankings you may have achieved, if your visitor leaves before they've seen your valuable content or feature-rich website, what good are those rankings to you, anyway?
In 2019, site speed is the name of the SEO game.
If your website doesn't load in the time it took you to say that, you may have just lost the race, even if you have a top Google result. And, in the long run, your website's ranking could start to decrease based on your poorly performing website speed.
Just one second could end up costing you a lot:
- Walmart.com achieved a 2% increase in conversions when the speed of its website was reduced by one second.
- When the site speed for Amazon increased by 0.1 second, the result was a 1% decrease in sales.
Every millisecond matters in website performance. We can say Web visitors don't have patience any longer, but they've been trained not to by websites that perform well and fast.
Make Site Speed Your SEO Goal for 2019
What You Can Do
Improving site speed is relatively easy. Various things can be done to improve your overall website speed, including the following:
- Ensure you are hosted on a quality server.
- Reduce your server response time.
- Use server compression and/or browser caching.
- Prioritize your visible content.
- Optimize your images.
- Optimize your code and scripts.
- Consider a content delivery network.
Site Speed and Google
As Google moves toward mobile-first search results, how fast your site loads is one very important factor in ranking. Poor-performing websites may find their SEO results are drastically reduced in 2019.
Why does Google care about site speed? Well, it wants to deliver the best search results for any particular query. That's the key to remaining the number one search engine. Accordingly, it needs to continually improve the search results it delivers. If visitors bounce back to Google after clicking on a result, that means they did not find what they were looking for.
In addition, the faster a site loads, the more pages Google can crawl, which means more pages properly indexed in search results. When your site loads fast, Google likes that and the Web visitor likes that. It really is that simple.
In fact, site speed exudes confidence.
If a site doesn't load fast enough, visitors subconsciously begin to lose confidence in it. The website begins to lose its authority in the marketplace, and customers become impatient and grumpy.
A happy customer, on the other hand, is more likely to convert, and site speed is a huge part of keeping a customer happy.
The Benefits of a Fast Website
A fast website is key to conversions. Here's why. A fast website has...
- Better indexing, and that means it will perform better in search engine results.
- Better search results bring in more targeted traffic.
- Targeted traffic that finds what it's looking for results in loyal visitors.
- Loyal visitors increase conversion rates.
- Increased conversions results in more sales.
- More sales mean improved revenue for you.
- Your improved revenue means a higher return on investment.
Need to Increase Sales in 2019? Site Speed Is Key!
Across the Internet, all SEO experts and Web developers worth their experience are talking about site speed. It is a white hat SEO factor that cannot be ignored in 2019—and beyond.
A Web Evolution
As the Internet has evolved, so too has Web design. Remember the websites of the early days? They seemed innovative back then. But then came a variety of features that we never could have imagined. Suddenly, the more a website could do, the better it became. Shopping online? Now that was a great invention!
All of those innovations pushed Web developers to creating more features. Now, the goal is to have a feature-rich website without the time-consuming load bloat—a marriage between simplicity and complexity.
Again, you could have the best features, the best content, and the best images on the Internet, but if your visitor won't wait for your website to load... what's the point?
Something that goes hand-in-hand with website performance and site speed is engagement. It is the other white hat SEO factor that is key in 2019. And, it has a lot to do with site speed. That's because a website needs to be user friendly if it's going to engage visitors well. Once your site loads, you want to ensure a visitor "sticks" with your content. By improving the experience of users when they're visiting a website, you are further increasing your chances of success.
How Fast Is Your Website?
There are a variety of tools to check the speed of a website on first-load. Here are some of my recommendations:
In our own case, we ensure the websites we design and build load fast, but we also know that over time some features can slow down. So keep in mind that properly maintaining your website also helps with speeding it up.
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The next time you're browsing around online, think about how many websites you're jumping back from because they aren't loading fast enough for you. Though it's easy to ask a Web visitor to have more patience, it's a lot easier to address the speed issues in the first place.
Site speed and SEO go hand-in-hand. Ensuring yours is a speedy site that engages audiences should be a key part of your 2019 SEO strategy.
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