Page Speed: Every Second Counts

Google wants to know your website is worth peoples’ time. So, the more time people spend on your web pages the higher you will rank in Google’s SERPs. But how can people spend time on your website if your page speed takes more than 2 seconds?

 

Learn how you can rank 1st on Google SERPs if you are using a Drupal CMS for your website here.

 

The time spent on your website by users is referred to as engagement. On the other hand, the less time spent by users on your site is referred to as abandonment.

The reasons that people may abandon your website vary but one of the most overlooked and critical reasons is page speed.

 

Impact of Page Speed on SEO

 

Page Speed

Regardless of the platform or browser; users will always trust and return to a website that instantly loads. We are impatient. We don’t like websites that take a while to load and neither does Google.

Page speed has been introduced as ranking factor for websites since 2010 and has only continued to grow in importance to business-related metrics.

 

2 seconds is the threshold for e-commerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half second.” Maile Ohye, from Google

 

Google takes page speed seriously and has established it as a mobile website search engine ranking factor as well earlier this year.

There are a number of tools available online; however, we recommend using either Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool or Pingdom’s speed test tool to measure your website’s speed performance. Simply enter the desired webpage’s URL and hit go.

Click here to learn more about how you can increase your website speed.

 

Page Speed - Mobile First

Your website page speed is important and must not take more than 2 seconds, however; Google cares more about the loading speed of your mobile web pages.

Ever since mobile usage overtook desktop in 2014; Google has steadily shifted focus accordingly to mobile consumer behavior and satisfaction.

 

Mobile versus Desktop Use

 

To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first. Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site

In 2018; users and shoppers, in particular, expect a fast and smooth mobile experience.

According to Google-owned Doubleclick’s 2016 report, the average load time for mobile websites is 19 seconds on 3G connections.

 

sites that load in 5 seconds vs 19 seconds observed: 25% higher ad viewability (and) 70% longer average sessions (and) 35% lower bounce rates

 

The average US retail mobile site loaded in 6.9 seconds, however, Google’s research indicates that:

40% of consumers will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. And 79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with site performance say they’re less likely to purchase from the same site again.” Google, 2016

Regardless of your industry, searching engines are going nowhere and the behavior of your customers has adapted to the convenience provided by the likes of Google and Bing.

Google has recently released some research and insight towards the performance benchmarks expected from each industry’s mobile presence.

The report also indicated:

The average time it takes to fully load the average mobile landing page is 22 seconds. However, research also indicates 53% of people will leave a mobile page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

You can use Google’s mobile page speed tool to measure the speed of your current mobile site pages.

 

 

Best Practices to Improve Your Page Speed

Once you’ve measured your current site speed using the aforementioned tools, you can proceed to implement the following best practices that are sure to decrease the loading time:

 

  1. Enable and test gzip compression support on your web server.

Reduce file size by as much as 70% without degrading the quality of the images, video or the site at all. To see if your site is already GZIPPED, click here to run a simple test.

 

  1. Avoid Landing Page Redirects

Each time a page redirects to another page, your visitor faces additional time waiting for the HTTP request-response cycle to complete. As a result, you should minimize the use of redirects to improve site performance.

 

  1. Improve server response time

You should reduce your server response time under 200ms. To improve your server response time, look for performance bottlenecks like slow database queries, slow routing, or a lack of adequate memory and fix them. The optimal server response time is under 200ms.

 

  1. Leverage Browser Caching

Browsers cache a lot of information so that when a visitor comes back to your site, the browser doesn't have to reload the entire page every time. Have your scripts and CSS load in external files instead of cramping up each and every web page. This way, the browser only has to load the files one time, rather than every time someone visits each page of your site.

 

  1. Optimize Your Images

Images account for most of the downloadable bytes on almost any webpage. After you create or edit your image; utilize the “Save for Web” option to reduce image size without impacting the visual quality of the image.

 

  1. Fewer resources, more page speed

Minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML. optimizing your code (including removing spaces, commas, and other unnecessary characters), you can dramatically increase your page speed. Also remove code comments, formatting, and unused code. Google recommends:

 

For further best practices, tools, and resources about page speed optimization, we recommend you check out Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

 

 

Evolution of Search

Search is an essential part of a long customer journey and experience for e-commerce and according to research conducted by Gomez.com and Akamai.com on how landing time affects e-commerce sales and bottom line; every 1 second delay in page response time means a reduction of 7% in conversions.

Which means that if an e-commerce website makes $100,000 per day, a 1 second delay can potentially cost you $2.5 million per year.

Search is evolving. We moved from desktop search to mobile and now voice search enhanced by AI to further personalize the results we get. Experiences are becoming more personalized and each experience will vary; however, one thing will remain a constant demanded requirement for any website: Speed.

 

If you are a Drupal user or intend to launch a site in Drupal, check out our SEO checklist that will come in handy prior to launch.

 

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