· Written by Drew Wilson

Everyone knows how frustrating it is to wait for pages to load on a website. Whether you are trying to purchase items from an online store, fill out an online form, or just load an image or video, page speed will determine how enjoyable your experience is online. As a business, site speed is extremely important because you may lose potential customers due to poor loading time—especially if they are trying to get in contact with you. While there is no direct connection between a specific loading time and the overall Google rank of a website, at the end of the day, fast-loading pages will perform better, meaning a potential increase of conversions.

While this list is not extensive, we've provided three crucial reasons why it is important to constantly check on your website speed.

(1) Google's Mobile First Indexing System Is The Norm Now

Back in July of 2018, Google released a Mobile-First indexing update. Prior to this update, Google’s crawling, indexing, and ranking systems used the desktop version of a website’s content. This caused issues for companies with a mobile website that acted differently than their desktop version.

Having a fast-loading website that is optimized for mobile is essential in today’s marketing and advertising climate, and it should become a priority due to the release of Google’s update described above. A user, visitor, or client will most likely have a mobile device to start their search inquiries, and they will typically stay on a site longer if each page is loading at a fast pace.

In addition, load time also has a correlation to a website’s SEO, as Moz states,

“Even with a totally responsive site, you’ll want to ensure that mobile page speed and load time are prioritized and that images and other dynamic elements are optimized correctly for the mobile experience.”

If your site is already responsive, make sure that it has the best optimized file sizes for everything you would find on the site. If you have a separate mobile site, make sure items such as content, metadata, and alt tags are equivalent to what is represented on the main desktop version. In terms of time,3 to 4 seconds is a strong goal to strive for when it comes to page speed. While it doesn’t have immediate effects on SEO, having fast load time will improve your ranking overtime, impacting other digital avenues like paid search.

(2) Website Speed Will Determine Your User Experience

There is no doubt that site speed is a necessary component of good UX. It is one of the many features that need attention to ensure your users and online visitors have a valuable experience. Slow site speed may increase the amount of bounces your site experiences, which is the number of people who only view the home page and then quickly leave your site. A higher bounce rate could be detrimental to your SEO, which in turn lowers your potential conversions. Conversely, a faster loading time means a lower bounce rate, which can increase the SEO value of your site.

For example, we handle many dealership websites across the U.S. Dealership sites have hundreds of cars in their inventory that must be accounted for and be searchable while browsing on any device (desktop, mobile, etc.). These clients are entrusting us to make sure their visitors can search for the right car quickly. Waiting for car specs, pictures, and other vital information will cause shoppers to stop using that site and move on, thus losing a potential lead due to poor site speed.

(3) You Can Use Google's Free Page-Speed Insights Tool

In November 2018, Google released a new Page Speed Insights tool update, which was the largest update provided for this tool since January of 2018. Search Engine Land states that the tool "now uses Lighthouse as its analysis engine and also incorporates field data provided by the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX)."

Lighthouse is a speed tool used for improving the quality of your web pages. Like the Page Speed Insights Tool, you can give Lighthouse a URL and it will run a series of tests to determine the overall success of the page. So, why is this tool important?

As stated before, improving the overall speed of your website will do more than just increase your SEO value and User Experience. If your pages are running faster, it can improve the conversion rates on your website. Think about functions like newsletter signups, form submissions, and of course, item purchases. If those web pages are slow, you may be losing customers because they are afraid that their information will be lost or not be transferred correctly.

The fact that Google is making strides to improve this testing ability should be a testament to how important website page speed is. This tool provides you with multiple data groups to help you improve the overall speed of your pages, so take advantage of it and ensure that your site is functioning at maximum capability.

Things To Remember:

Site speed should be a primary concern when thinking through the development and upkeep of your website. It could be the difference between new leads, references, and returning customers, or high bounce rates, frustrated users, and low SEO rank. Another important thing to keep in mind is the content on your page. Though site speed should be a priority, the relevance of content will bear more weight when it comes to overall rank.

If you need help with your website speed, Sokal has a team of in-house developers ready to give you the support you need without crazy contracts. Let us know what we can do for your business.