“I feel the need, the need for speed.” Top Gun, 1986
Remember that famous quote from the 80s movie Top Gun? We’ve got nostalgia for the classic film here in the office, not because we love flying Jets, but because in our niche, speed is always of the essence, particularly when referring to webpage loading. Come to think of it, modern living demands speed to be at the heart of everything we do, doesn’t it? Despite technology being continually invented to make our day to day easier, our lives seem to be more fast-paced and hectic than ever! Nobody has time to wait more than a few seconds for a website to load up. However, having a fast-loading page isn’t just about preserving a user’s patience and freeing up their time. In this blog we focus on what is considered a good page load speed and why it’s important.
Page load time is a primary ranking factor
To clarify, page speed (sometimes described as “page load time”) is classed as the time it takes to fully display the content on a specific page. Google values good page speed. In fact, Google has indicated page speed is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank in its search results (including mobile page speed in mobile search results). In addition, a slow page speed means that search engines can crawl fewer pages using their allocated crawl budget, and this could negatively affect your indexation.
User experience is king
For all the reasons stated in our opening paragraph, when it comes to user experience, speed is important. As a site begins to load, there is a period of time where users wait for content to appear. Until this moment, there is no user experience to speak of. This generally isn’t a problem on fast connections where the experience is fleeting, but on slower connections users are forced to wait. This can build stress levels and frustrations particularly if users continue to endure problems as page resources trickle into view slowly as well.
Users will only tolerate low performing applications for so long before abandoning them. This tends to mean that pages with longer load time tend to have higher bounce rates and lower average time on page.
Page speed affects conversion rates
In web jargon, a user converts when they take the action that the webpage is designed to want them to take. A user does not necessarily need to buy something in order to convert, as a webpage can have a number of purposes. For example, user conversions can include filling out and submitting a contact form, answering survey questions, or even just clicking through to the next page on the website. It is well known that fast page speed will result in a better conversion rate – the quicker a webpage loads, the more likely a user is to perform the targeted action on that webpage. We regularly witness how a seemingly small increase in conversion can have a huge impact on how much revenue a client’s site generates.
Helps to retain users
A slow website could see you lose potential buyers to a competitor as they become frustrated, lose interest in your business and head straight back to the search results to find the next business in line. Therefore, high-performing sites will engage and retain users better than low-performing ones.
What should my page speed be?
Your website page speed needs to be as fast as you can make it (ideally, no more than a few seconds). However, it is important to remember that you shouldn’t have to compromise the customer experience to achieve the fastest possible page load.
“When it comes to page speed, there are many factors to your success: the browser device, web hosting provider, and content on the page, which is why you need to focus on your visitor’s needs. For example, if you strip down your site to improve mobile speeds but 90% of visitors come from desktop, you’re not serving your main visitors, but 10% of mobile ones. What aspect of your website did you take away that may have an influence on how your desktop visitors interact with it?”
If you are looking to improve and optimise your website to enhance its performance and make it easier for people to find your business online, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our SEO team would love to chat with you.