Web Page Speed for People and Search Engines
Help more people see your properly displayed website faster.
Web page load speed has a major effect on how many visitors actually see and stay on your website. When someone clicks a link to your site they want immediate results. Waiting more than 3 or 4 seconds is too long for many people when their experience with other websites is virtually instant rewards for page links clicked.
Take it from two of the world’s largest online retailers. Amazon reported a 1% increase in revenue for every 100 millisecond improvement in page load speed. That calculates to about $890 million in additional annual revenue! Similarly, Walmart.com experienced a 2% increase in conversions for every 1 second of web speed improvement.
Slow Website Hazards
Other studies have shown decisively how problematic a slow loading website is for today’s consumers and web searchers. Akamai, a leader in web performance technology reports the following:
- 47% of people expect a web page to load in two seconds or less.
- 40% will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load.
- 52% of online shoppers say quick page loads are important for their loyalty to a site.
Speed should always be a key consideration for any work performed on your website. Page load speed not only impacts your online conversions when people find your site, but is also a big factor in how Google will index and rank your web pages so more people can find you.
Having a first rate website and being easily searchable on the web is one of the best ways you can keep your new business pipeline full. Your search visibility and online rankings can be raised in a number of different ways. Ideally, all of them should be practiced as they will help you build authoritative status in the search engines. What is often overlooked in website development is proper code and programming that reduces server response time and greases the skids for search engines.
Proper file compression, minimizing HTTP requests, optimizing images and other development best practices help pages load faster and display properly in all currently supported browsers. Having a website built by a first-rate developer is the ideal starting point for any website because from there we can focus on the critical aspects of on-page SEO including keyword research and content creation.
The Value of Web Page Speed
According to Brandt Dainow, a web analyst consultant at ThinkMetrics, “Speed seems to have been forgotten by the web design industry around the time broadband arose. Prior to that, in the 1990s, everyone was very aware that web pages took time to download and bore that in mind when designing websites. Speed was so central to design that major development tools like Dreamweaver kept a running total of download time in the status bar as you coded so that you could see the impact of your changes on the site’s speed. Designers didn’t like casting aside their lovely creations because they were too slow, but they accepted the commercial realities of the world they inhabited and learned to compromise between appearance and performance.
“… While designers might have forgotten about speed, users haven’t. There’s a direct connection between website speed and the site’s appeal. Sites that render in under five seconds are four times more likely to get a conversion than sites that take longer. This situation is even worse in the mobile market. In mobile, the critical time span is only two seconds, and you will get 10 times more mobile conversions if you meet this limit. Since search engines want to send people to sites that people like, search engines reserve the higher rankings for faster sites.”
When visitors land on your site, will it open immediately and provide a clean, intuitive user interface that functions as intended? Having a fast-loading website is like giving your visitors nothing but green lights on their cyber commute into your online city. All of the data paths are unclogged and standards based program applications work as they’re supposed to without “roadblocks” and “detours.” In short, you’re giving your visitors a great User-experience. You’re also telling search engines that you’re working with a professional development team.
Your two audiences: human beings and search engines.
It should be obvious to anyone why serving your human audience is important to your business. Most web designers tend to focus primarily on people-pleasing – the artistic elegance and visual aspects of a website, often at the expense of speed. Their first priority is to show the client a beautiful graphic design to get an approval.
Once the initial design is approved, developers who code the site will judge its functionality from how it appears on their own device as they test for appearance. Are they also concerned with how fast it will load, look and function on someone else’s device? And very importantly, are they programming the site or using the CMS according to best practices for the search engines? Good website practices are all about building relevant, useful pages that load quickly and look good on all devices.
An Easy Speed Test from Google
If you’re a website owner, there’s an easy way for you test your website’s speed by entering the URL into the search bar on this page:
The test will analyze the page you enter and provide a report of any problems along with recommendations for improvements.
Should you be experiencing problems with slow loading pages, website error messages and low traffic volume, it might be due to improper development practices. The success of your online marketing will rest largely on your developer’s technical understanding of what affects server response time and page load speed. Your website’s maintenance service provider should be able to ascertain the efficacy of your site’s programming and help you improve both user experiences and SEO results.
Do you have questions about the technical structure affecting the speed of your website? Feel free to contact us about a review of your ongoing website maintenance plan to keep your site performing its best.