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Just like how a slow internet connection frustrates people, a slow-loading website is also a pain in the neck for the users. Speed is extremely important for a website. In fact, speed is considered a crucial ranking factor by Google-that’s how important it is. In a broader sense, speed is a metric that significantly influences your overall digital marketing strategy and online presence. But specifically, it has a major impact on organic rankings on both desktop and mobile, the overall user experience, paid ads, and many more. Let’s take a look at how site speed affects various digital channels.
Understanding the impact of website page speed
Slow web pages mean a lower number of conversions, high bounce rates, and a low number of pages per visit. In other words, a slow website means that people will ultimately abandon your site because no one today has enough patience to wait for it to load. Speed is even more important for brands and companies with long conversion funnels on their websites.
Sure, a drop-off always occurs with a conversion funnel that’s packed with several steps and pages. However, on top of that, if your site is slow to load, that drop-off easily intensifies. Below are some digital channels that are impacted by website page speed.
- Search engine optimization
Site speed itself is already a significant ranking factor, but it’s even a larger one for mobile pages. With Google’s mobile-first index update, it’s high time for websites to optime their website for mobile site speed. One of the reasons why site speed is a ranking factor is because good speed is a sign of a quality user experience (UX). In contrast, slow site speed will lead to bad UX. Users normally stay on a website longer if it loads quicker, converts better, and bounces less. And because of those, Google sees it as a ranking factor.
A good page load time can range from 3 to 4 seconds or less. Although this may differ based on the type of website and industry you’re in, in general, if your web pages load within three to 3 to 4 seconds, then all is good. If your load time goes beyond that, you will likely see less optimal rankings and a poorer UX. According to several case studies, websites with a site speed of more than 4 seconds experienced a decrease in rankings, while those with a site speed of 4 seconds or less had an increase in rankings. This only shows the great impact of site speed on SEO.
- Paid ads
With paid search, it all boils down to your quality score. The quality score determines how relevant your website’s landing page is to a search term as observed by Google. This then considers your site’s UX based on that person going to your page because of that specific keyword. At the end of the day, slow site speed will be seen by Google as an indicator of a poor UX, which in turn, will cause your quality score to plummet.
Furthermore, the quality score determines your cost-per-click and average position on SERPs. As such, if your site has a low-quality score because of low site speed, then it’ll be difficult to show up in the top two organic positions. Also, depending on the competition level of your keywords, your site might not be included in the top spots. But with paid ads, if you have a low-quality score, your ads won’t be displayed at all. Therefore, the quality score truly has a tremendous influence on PPC.
- UX and conversion
Site speed is one of the primary reasons why users bounce off of websites. A bounce happens when someone is not visiting more than one page of your site and then just leaves. So if your site has a slow load time, users won’t stick around and will just bounce instead. Hence, the reason why slow websites normally have very high bounce rates while faster ones tend to have lower bounce rates. Also, it’s important to note that the bounce rate is an SEO ranking factor, which is why you must make effort to lowering your bounce rate.
As for conversions, website page speed also is a crucial factor. After all, if people are bouncing because of the slow load time, then they aren’t converting as well. This is especially the case for websites with long checkout processes. As mentioned before, with every page that has to load to make a conversion comes more chances for drop-off. Moreover, a fast-loading website tends to be also quick at converting. That’s because when people get to the information they want faster, it’ll be easier to lead them into the path of conversion. But if your site takes longer to load, it’ll just give them more time to back out on purchasing.