A Faster Site Leads to Higher Search Ranks, More Conversions

by Brian Toomey, JB Analytics CEO

When browsing the internet, we all want the websites we use to load immediately. We love websites that appear in a snap and respond as if they are reading our minds. On the flip side, we have no patience for laggy, bloated pages with long delays.

However, businesses updating their websites rarely prioritize improving the speed of their site by decreasing page load times. Companies will spend countless hours modernizing their websites, updating their online marketing, adding original content and increasing their social media involvement. But in the process, they forget all about the backbone purpose of the internet: instantaneous access to information.

On the internet, speed = money. In fact, a number of recent studies show that improving page load times measurably increases conversion rates for online visitors. Even more, Google ranks faster websites higher than slower sites in their search results.

Shorter Page Load Time = More Conversions

We know that users like faster pages, but does that drive revenue? Will your business make more money and acquire more leads by speeding up its website?

For Wal-mart, the answer to both of those questions was a big YES. Wal-mart is one of the largest online retailers in the world with millions of online customers every day. Their large user base allows them to quickly test new ideas, keeping those that work and discarding those that don’t.

During one recent test, Wal-mart experimented with improving page load times and measured how they affected conversion rate. Every 1 second of page load time improvement they experienced up to a 2% increase in conversions. For every 100 ms of improvement, they grew incremental revenue by up to 1%. For Wal-mart, these improvements led to millions of extra dollars in online revenue per year.

Google also came to the same conclusion about the value of site speed through a different path.

Google tested displaying 30 instead of 10 search results on each search results page for a segment of their users. A results page with 30 results only took half a second longer to load, yet those pages had 20% less user interaction than the pages with 10 results. That half second hugely influenced how many users stayed and how many users left.

In comparison, many business websites can have their page load times slashed by 2 seconds or more – just think about how many users are leaving your site but would stay if it loaded faster.

Increasing Search Engines Rank with Raw Speed

So, we’ve already seen that faster sites convince more users to stay around on your site for longer periods of time. But that’s not the only benefit of speed. Faster page load times also directly lead to higher search rankings on Google and other search engines.

SEOs and web designers have speculated for years that Google uses page speed as one of the inputs to their algorithm for ranking websites. Faster pages = happier users — and Google wants their users to be as happy as possible.

In 2015, Google confirmed that it was moving towards using page load times to determine mobile search rankings. Other search engines, following Google’s lead, have made similar changes to their ranking algorithms.

The trend is clear: to boost your business website up the search rankings ladder make your site blazing fast. Now you’re cooking with (internet) gas!

How We Measure Site Speed

pagespeed

Now that I’ve convinced you that site speed is critical for your business’s online presence, you probably are wondering how you can measure your page load times and track improvements over time.

At JB Analytics, we use open source tools to evaluate and improve page load times for our clients. One of them is Google’s PageSpeed Insights which scores each page out of 100 for both mobile and desktop loading times. We like starting with this one for our clients, because it simply works. When we implement Google’s advice for clients, they end up ranking better on Google (what a surprise!).

Using these and other tools, we’ve helped many of our clients increase their search rankings across their mission-critical keywords. Additionally, we have also worked on projects to optimize our clients’ website code and establish the right hosting and CDNs for businesses to ensure top site speeds.

There are dozens of opportunities to optimize your site at the code, image and server level — and we are happy to discuss how we can help leverage them all to improve your site.

Get Help With Speeding Up Your Site

We have years of experience working with all types of companies — from international engineering companies to online e-commerce sites. To learn how we can help you speed up your site, please get in touch with us.