The Need for Speed

Back in April of 2009, Google decided to add “Page Speed” to its list of things to measure when determining search result rankings. Page speed is simply how long it takes for your website to load. But how important is page speed when it comes to SEO? It’s actually not very important it turns out. Page speed is just one of over 200 different variables that are calculated when Google considers page rankings and is given a low/moderate importance value.

So why is page speed so important? While page speed doesn’t have a significant impact on page rankings, it does have a significant impact on conversion rate. Here are some statistics for you:

  • Shopzilla increased page load time from 6 seconds to 1.2 seconds and increased revenue by 12% and page views by 25%.
  • Amazon increased revenue by 1% for every 100 milliseconds of improvement.
  • Yahoo! increased traffic by 9% for every 400 milliseconds of improvement.
  • By reducing website speed by 2.2 seconds Mozilla estimates that 60 million more Firefox downloads occur every year.
  • 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
  • 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
  • A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.

Sources: KISS metrics (very cool infographic)

I could continue to produce more statistics, but I think you get the point. People are impatient and don’t like having to wait for anything. If your website is taking longer than 3 seconds to load, almost half of the people viewing it are just going to leave. This has a massive effect on how people will use you site and how willing they are to use it again.

Getting up to Speed

In July of 2011, Google came out with a service called Page Speed Online which is an online service that automatically speeds up loading of your web pages. Here’s Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Web Site from Yahoo that has a lot of good and detailed information.

A few other tools to help your speed your website:

There are hundreds of tools out there to analyze page speed and these are just a few to get started. Even the smallest increase in speed can make a pretty significant difference.

Continue reading: Nice Sites Finish First

Blog Author: Mike Skwarcan, Former B teamer.

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