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.
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.
“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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.