Exploring the connection between fast loading websites and better SEO performance

The aesthetic appeal of websites is undoubtedly crucial because it creates the primary connection with viewers. However, the appeal does not go much beyond the initial engagement because the functionalities of the website become the dominant factor for doing well in SEO.  Among the different functions that sites have to perform, the most important is perhaps the website speed, which determines the fate of the website. Users have very little patience and are willing to give only 2 seconds or even lesser for opening a web page. This was the view of 47% respondents to a survey related to user experience. If websites take a longer time to load, it challenges the patience of viewers who would immediately quit the website without waiting and doom your SEO prospects.

 The survey further reveals that 52% respondents would prefer to remain loyal to fast loading websites and the majority of visitors would simply not give a second chance to slow loading websites and abandon it forever. You simply cannot neglect website speed if you want to attract visitors. Looking at website speed from another angle you would discover that Google also wants speedy websites and have included website speed as a factor for search rankings. Since marketers have to be in the good books of customers as well as search engines, they cannot afford to carry on with slow loading websites.

Besides affecting search rankings, the professionals at Smash Vision, an SEO company, observe that website speed is also a factor that contributes to user experience and conversions. In this article, we will explore the various ways site speed affects marketers and their SEO campaign and suggest ways of improving website speed.

Impact on user experience

What exactly do users expect from websites? It is interesting to note that scientific studies have revealed that users expect technology to behave in the same way as humans. Users set their expectations from websites accordingly as they treat technology as human entities and react to it just in the way they would react to human interactions. This is the reason why we feel uncomfortable in viewing choppy videos and feel frustrated when video conferences become a stuttering experience due to poor connectivity.

Similarly, when you are visiting a website, it appears as if you are interacting with some human and the feeling of satisfaction or disappointment is the same as it happens in real life. For a moment, you forget that you are interacting with bytes and bits that have no connection to emotions of any kind, as you would find in humans. However, as emotions govern your reactions emotions, naturally, you feel frustrated when you come across slow loading websites that belie your expectations. Deserting the website comes to the mind of visitors first when the site loads slowly and your loss could be your competitor’s gain.

Effect on search rankings

SEO is all about search rankings and websites play an important role in helping marketers earn good ranks by assuring high page opening speeds. Today, Google holds the patent for website speed as a factor in search rankings that came into force since 2014. However, since 2010, the time when Google had filed for the patent, Google had declared publicly that it would consider site speed as a factor for organic search rankings. That Google cares for site speed becomes evident from its various initiatives ranging from Google Hosted Libraries to Google DNS, Page Speed Tools Google Fiber, and AMP project. The latest web performance protocols and standards also bear testimony to Google’s liking for page speed.

Impact on conversions

When your website offers better user experience and becomes likable to search engines, it is natural that the traffic flow would increase. Experiencing more traffic would enhance the possibilities of conversion as you would enjoy more downloads, sign-ups and leads that lead to better sales and more revenue. All of these happen only when you have a fast loading website.

Optimizing websites for making it speedy is the only way to perform better in SEO, and it all begins by knowing your current website speed followed by some other measures.

What is the current load time?

You would find several online tools that help to measure the site speed. Tools like Google Page Speed Insights, Pingdom, and GT metrics not only measure the page opening times but also provide valuable insights about what you could do to improve the website speed.

Make improvements

Using a good hosting service that helps to accelerate the site speed is the first action that you must take.  By using optimized images, streamlining your HTML code, reducing the number of HTTP requests, minifying CSS and JavaScript and using a content delivery network (CDN), it is possible to increase page-loading speed.

Better identification of page speed impediments leads to better solutions in improving page speed.