Why Site Speed Matters

As a user, it’s not hard to understand how site speed affects user experience. The ubiquity of fast Internet connections, Wi-Fi everywhere, 4G LTE and now 5G, has raised expectations. Site speed is more important than ever before as a result. Devices are faster and connections are faster. People simply do not have the patience to wait for slow sites to load anymore. Why should they? More and more digital marketers and developers are aware of the impact site speed has and they are building sites to perform. Users know if one site doesn’t load quickly, the next one probably will. Poor site speed could cost you the one shot you had to hold your next client’s attention.

It is impossible to overstate what a vital metric is to your digital marketing strategy and online presence. Site speed goes beyond just providing a better experience for visitors. It has a substantial, but all too often overlooked effect on SEO rankings, end user experience and conversion. Websites that don’t deliver competitive site speed have a lower number of pages per visit, higher bounce rates and few conversions. As more users visit sites on mobile, site speed and competitive Web Core Vitals become even more important. Furthermore, when it comes to conversion, the more complex your sales funnel is, the greater the impact poor site speed performance can have.

Site Speed Impacts SEO

Mobile devices present real challenges, especially to sites which are developed primarily with desktop users in mind. Google saw early on how important speed was to user experience and made it a central part of their Mobile First index beginning in 2018.Site speed is an integral part of Google’s Page Experience Ranking metrics which evaluate the quality of the end users experience. Simply put, a fast, responsive site results in a better user experience. Therefore, Google rewards faster pages with better ranking.

Not only is ranking directly affected, but the user who has a better experience will spend more time on that site. This means less bounce and better conversion rates. You may have beautiful design and first-rate content, but it only works to convert if people are there to see it. Remember, speed affects not only the users experience and thereby conversions, but your page ranking on Google’s SERP. Ranking affects your traffic and the quality of the experience affects your ability to keep people on your page and converting once they arrive. Speed is only one factor that affects SEO performance, but no one can afford to overlook it.

Just some of the reasons why Site Speed affects SEO performance:

  • 50% of site visitors expect a page to load in less than 2 seconds.
  • Your Site Speed is a ranking factor for Google. It affects your position in SERP.
  • Each second of delay in load time = 11% fewer page views and 7% fewer conversions. 
  • 53% of site visits on mobile are abandoned if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load.
  • Lower site speed increases bounce rates. Higher bounce rates mean less dwell time.
  • Fast sites are easier to crawl and fast sites have higher conversion rates.

How to Achieve Great Site Speed

The best way to build a site that delivers superior Site Speed performance is to build it from the ground up with efficiency in mind. That said, a great deal can be done to correct the mistakes of previous developers and improved the Site Speed of existing pages. Many performance issues develop over time as a site that was initially built with an emphasis on desktop users begins to accumulate cruft.

Sloppy site builds include poorly size and/or unoptimized images, inefficient or unnecessary design elements and plug-ins that serve little or no purpose. A look under the hood almost always reveals opportunities to improve the performance of the site without any loss of functionality. An attractive, content-rich site does not have to load at a snail’s pace. By following best practices and avoiding common mistakes and obsolete methods we can get an existing site into fighting shape.

Here are just a few points we focus on to achieve great Site Speed:

  • Choose the right hosting. A well-built site can be let down by sub-optimal hosting. Consistently fast and reliable hosting is a must to make the most of the site performance you worked so hard to achieve.
  • Testing and analysis. The options for improvement aren’t always immediately obvious. tools. Analysis sites like Google PageSpeed Tools and GTMetrix often reveal flaws in site design and opportunities to improve speed and performance.
  • Start at the beginning. Most attention to speed is focused on page loading. Don’t forget about the time it takes your page to start loading. TTFB or time to first byte is the time between requesting a page until the browser is served it’s first byte of data. Enable caching wherever practical on WordPress sites to reduce TTFB.
  • Optimize media. Higher resolution screens and faster networks have raised the standards for the image quality users expect. Judicious use of graphic editing tools, plug-ins and modern file types like WebP can reduce file sizes and load time without noticeably compromising quality.
  • Minimize, minify, combine and eliminate. Minimize the number of HTTP requests your page makes for elements. Minify by removing unneeded whitespace, code or formatting. Combine CSS and JavaScript files wherever possible and eliminate the unnecessary. Simplicity is your mantra.

How Agile Marketing Group Can Help

Agile Marketing Group builds mobile optimized sites with competitive Site Speed scores. We use Google’s Core Web Vitals and Page Experience Ranking as our guide. Beautiful design and compelling content are essential, but without consistent performance they will never attract the attention they deserve.

AMG’s talented web development team will leverage your existing assets and build your organization the website it needs to grow. Cost-effective web development and comprehensive data-driven digital marketing are our stock in trade. Contact Agile Marketing Group today for a free site evaluation and find out how a partnership with us can take your business to the next level.

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