To rank high on Google’s results, your site has to adapt to the preferences of it’s search algorithms. In particular, you should pay attention to your site’s loading speed since it is now among the signals that Google uses. While it doesn’t carry as much weight as the quality of your content, it does pave the way for users to stay on your website in the first place. Here is how site speed can impact your business:
- Indexation – If load times are short, Googlebot can index more of your pages for your crawl budget. This will result in more of your keywords gaining ranking potential.
- Site visibility – With more keywords, your content will be more visible to searchers.
- Bounce rate – Since your content appears more quickly, people are less likely to leave.
- Conversions – As users spend more time on your website, they’re more prone to buying something. (Case and point: Walmart’s statistics show that faster pages result in more conversions.)
To further illustrate the effect of improving site speed I’m tapping into a client story. We have a client in the home remodeling industry that came to us with a site speed score of only 43, according to Google’s Page Speed Insights. Because of this, its search ranking was very low and it had few regular visitors. Our goal was to optimize the site’s features so we took the following steps:
- Reduced the number of elements loading on the homepage – Under the latest algorithm, this directly impacts SEO effectiveness.
- Redid the homepage slideshow to have a maximum of 4 photos – Slideshows are very heavy and can cause older computers and browsers to freeze.
- Resized and reformatted images in the gallery – While high quality images are good, there are many ways to reduce their weight without sacrificing too much quality – read this blog post for more details.
- Replaced the Google map with a continuous image that users can click – Maps that have numerous pins and plugins on them take up a lot of bandwidth.
- Removed majority of footer badges and other unnecessary links – Every single component of a site adds to the load time so things that don’t add to the user experience should be removed.
Because of the changes we made, the site’s speed score improved to 74 and its ranking immediately increased. Is your site being bogged down by the same problem that our client used to experience? If you want us to review your site, go to our website and click the link on the upper right hand side of the page for a free visibility checkup. Our experts can then determine what needs to be done to improve your site’s performance, ranking, and conversion rate.