What is the Importance of Site Speed for SEO?

If you’re not getting as much traffic as you’d like, don’t overlook the importance of site speed. People who come to your site want a fast and easy experience. That means if it takes longer than 3 seconds for your page to load, your users will instantly click away and go somewhere else.

Three seconds! That’s according to this Kissmetrics infographic. That’s not much time at all to capture a new lead. 

Your site speed greatly affects sales and conversion rates. If you want more conversions, you have to pay attention to the importance of site speed.

What is Site Speed?

Site speed and page speed are similar but a little bit different.

“Site speed” is the collective speed of several pages on a website. “Page speed” is the speed of how quickly one single page loads on a site. 

They’re similar and you should pay attention to both — either way, the faster the better.

If you want to rank high in Google search, you will need a quick-loading site. Google ranks fast sites better and higher than slow ones. 

Why You Need to Take the Importance of Site Speed Seriously

It Will Hurt Your Search Result Rankings 

One big factor in the importance of site speed is that it strongly affects your SEO. 

Google has already told us that one of the ranking factors they use is page speed. And in 2017, they announced that page speed will receive even more consideration, including how fast your website loads on a mobile device.  Your mobile users want and expect speed, too!

Google will always want to provide the best service possible for its users. So if someone is searching for a certain topic and two different pages have similar content that would both answer their question, Google will show them the page that loads the fastest first.

This makes perfect sense because nobody wants to wait for a slow website!

You’ll Lose Sales

If you’re in business and selling your products or services, you may already understand the importance of site speed and how it can affect your sales. 

You may have the best services or products on the planet, but if your site is loading too slow, you are most definitely losing sales. Not only does Google (and other search engines) penalize sites that load too slow — your ideal audience doesn’t like it either. 

If your site is too slow, people will either leave before it loads or after just one visit. And they might stop visiting your site permanently! This means they won’t buy anything either. 

Sales and traffic both get lost if your site loads slowly.

It Could Affect Your Google Ad Performance

Getting a good quality score is one of the factors that show how your Google Ads perform. Your landing page and how it performs affects your quality score. 

The loading speed of your landing page is included and, if it’s slow, your prospects will not be shown your landing page first (if ever). 

You may end up paying a higher cost in hopes of getting Google to show your slow-loading landing page. But because Google shows fast sites first, your ad may never even get delivered. 

What Causes Slow Site Speed?

There are quite a few different things that can affect your site speed: 

  • Ads
  • Cheap hosting
  • Unused Plugins
  • Unused images in the media library
  • Large images
  • Number of pages

How Do You Fix Your Site Speed?

Run a Speed Test

Now that you understand the importance of site speed, you’ll want to find out how your site is performing. The best tool to use for this is Google Page Speed Insight tool.

This tool is easy to use and very straight forward. It will grade your site on a scale from 1 to 100. The higher the number the better. High numbers mean your site is better optimized for speed. 

This tool looks at both the desktop and mobile versions of your site and it will offer suggestions for how to improve your speed.

With this tool, Google lets you know which changes are a high, medium, or low priority. You can then choose which steps to work on first. The high priority changes will have the biggest impact on your site overall. 

Do a Website Purge

Clean up your website. It’s really important to do this to help gain faster site speed. 

Go through your images and, if you have unused ones, then you should delete them. The same goes for plugins, pages, or posts that are not used anymore or are out-of-date and no longer relevant. 

You may have thought it doesn’t matter if you have old pages or posts lying around on your website. But the Google bot still has to wade through them all. Even if they’re not being used, the bots are still looking at them. Clean it all up and delete everything you can. 

Change Website Hosts or Upgrade Your Plan

Quite often, a lower price for a website host is more appealing. Especially if you’re just starting out as a business owner. 

You pay less for hosting because they are cramming zillions of sites on one server. Unfortunately, this will cost you in site speed AND security.

Start off with a good website host or change to a different host if your site is loading slow. 

I recommend Siteground

Optimize Your Images Before Uploading Them

Usually, an image that you upload to your site is a bigger file size than you need. Before you upload images to your site, optimize them first. 

You can compress your images easily by using a tool like TinyPNG. This tool will reduce the file size by more than 50%, leaving the quality intact. This simple step will pay off in the long run for your site speed.

Related: 6 Tips for SEO Image Optimization

Use a Caching Plugin

One tool that is very useful for increasing site speed is a caching plugin. WordPress has plugins that will cache the latest version of your pages, which is a great way to speed up your site. 

This plugin, WP Super Cache, will help supercharge your page load times. 

The importance of site speed affects your conversion rate, sales, traffic, and keeps your readers coming back for more. 

Remember, people will leave after 3 seconds if your site is too slow. If you can shave even just one or two seconds from your page load speed, you will retain more traffic and generate more sales!

The first thing to do is find out your current site speed and then start to improve it.

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