How Does Loading Speed Impact Your SEO Page Rank?

How Does Loading Speed Impact Your SEO Page Rank?

It doesn’t take long to learn that Google has a ton of factors that determine your position in search results. One of the factors that determine your SEO page rank is your website speed.

If your pages aren’t loading within three seconds, you risk losing 40 percent of your traffic. This means every 100,000 visits you get, you’re losing 40K – who can afford to lose this type of business (or wants to)?

Surely, you don’t. And that’s why it’s essential to understand the impact website speed and SEO have on your inbound traffic.

Let’s take a closer look.

How Website Speed Affects Your SEO Page Rank

As we already mentioned, the speed of your site load speed correlates to your bounce rate. The slower your page load speed, the higher your bounce rate.

Since Google is all about pleasing internet users, your SEO page rank will suffer. A high bounce rate tells search engines that the keywords you’re ranking for aren’t relevant to the users typing them in.

In turn, your site page gets demoted in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Also, keep in mind that first impressions are everything. If the first time a visitor comes to a slow loading site, chances are they won’t return. This makes it imperative that you maintain a fast site load speed from the get-go.

Each second counts – you’re losing 40 percent of your traffic within the first three seconds. Every second thereafter, you’re going to lose even more potential visitors.

Mobile vs. Desktop: Is There a Difference?

If you’re paying attention to how technology is evolving, then you can see the shift from desktop to mobile. Of course, this doesn’t mean there aren’t still users that surf the web using laptops and PC computers.

But with the shift to mobile, we’re seeing a decreased amount of patience and attention spans in Internet users. It’s found that the attention span of today’s consumers dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds (from 2000 to 2015).

This means that if your site is taking eight seconds or longer to load, you could end up losing all of your traffic.

However, what we want to note here is that many mobile devices load slower than desktops. But this doesn’t mean they’re willing to wait around.

Your competitors are already updating their site design to be mobile-friendly. Their website loads up just as quickly on a mobile device as it does for desktops.

Google also rewards sites that are mobile-friendly by ranking them higher. So definitely consider this if you’re trying to raise your SEO page rank.

How Do You Check Your Page Load Speed?

No, you don’t need a digital marketing guru or expensive tools to figure out how fast your pages are loading up.

In fact, there are several free tools you can use right now. For instance, you can try Pingdom, Gtmetrix, KeyCDN, and Google PageSpeed Insights.

These are simple to use and will give you an accurate load speed. There are also extensions you can add to your browser that will give you tips for improving the page load performance.

Quick Tips for Faster Page Load Speeds

Now we’re going to dive deeper into what it takes to have a fast loading website. However, there are various methods you can use to reduce the amount of time your pages load.

Let’s review some of them.

Save CSS and Script Files Externally

Many brands store their CSS and script files on their site and this bogs it down. There’s no need for your stylesheets to load up each time someone clicks on a web page. You can avoid this problem by saving them into external files.

This way, the CSS and scripts only load one time for your website to operate properly. At the same time, your site will load faster, which will appease Google and your visitors.

Use Compression Tools

Most brands are looking to build websites that are visually appealing. This means using lots of large high-definition photos. While the end result may look amazing, it doesn’t account for much because your visitors can’t get into your site due to slow loading speeds.

These large files can take up a lot of space and reduce the performance of your site. But rather than removing the photos from your site, you can simply use GZIP compression tools.

This will lower the file size by up to 70 percent without making your graphics and images low-quality.

Enable Cache Settings

Here’s a great method to counter slow loading sites. If you enable your cache settings, it will trigger cached versions of your site anytime your pages are loading too slowly.

The key is to update your caches on a regular basis so that the cached versions look like the up-to-date versions of your site. It’s a good idea to use CDN to serve your images and pages (like KeyCDN and MAXCDN).

Activate AMP on Your Site

By doing this, it’s not going to impact your ranking directly. However, you can use it to help give your web pages a speed boost.

It’s an easy tool to use and works great for making your site more responsive for mobile devices. You can learn more about implementing AMP here.

Begin Using HTTP2

Technology isn’t the only thing evolving – so is the Internet. The infrastructure we use today is outdated. There are new technologies on the verge of taking us to the next level, such as HTTP2.

This is going to help speed up sites so it’s a good idea to jump on the bandwagon to get a head start.

Consider Switching to PHP7

Here’s another change you should consider making for your website. WordPress is the first to use PHP7, which is a higher-performing and safer option to PHP5.2 and PHP5.3.

Yoast recently created Project WHIP to provide better hosting that makes sites faster and more secure.

Why You Should Boost Your Website Speed Now

If you’re still mulling over the importance of updating your website with faster loading pages, then this should help get your motors turning.

Next, we’re going to take a closer look at the benefits of having fast page loading speeds.

Enhanced User Experience

In case you didn’t know, consumers today are looking for great experiences. If you can offer a pleasant online experience for your website visitors, then you’ll make a great first and lasting impression.

If your site is easy to use, it’s likely your services or products are as well. And that brings us to the next point.

Increase Leads and Conversions

How can you convert visitors that are bouncing away from your website? You can’t. This is why it’s necessary to have a fast loading site so that users don’t turn away.

A slow website is like having a store with locked doors. If people can’t get in, then they’ll just go to a competitor. This goes for both B2B and B2C companies.

Improve Your SEO Page Rank

As you already know, Google cares about the end user. And if the end user isn’t satisfied with your site, then neither is Google.

Make your site load speed one less ranking factor to worry about by using these tips.

Enhance Your Brand Reputation

Your brand reputation depends on your ability to be visible and liked by your audience. The key to this is being searchable on search engines.

If your site is loading too slowly, then your visitors and Google will penalize you. This will damage your reputation because your site is no longer on the first page and your visitors find your slow site speed distasteful.

It’s All about a Good Website Design and Host

At the end of the day, a fast loading website is all about the design it has and the company that’s hosting it. This is why it’s recommended that you work with a professional web developer. The developer will ensure your site has a responsive design that’s accessible to both mobile and desktop users.

And this will also help with your SEO.

The second part of the equation is your hosting. You need a quality host that will ensure maximum uptime for your site and page load speeds.

Tie it all together and you have a higher chance of building a high-performing website.

Get Expert SEO Services

If you’re ready to optimize your site for users and search engines, it’s time to work together with an expert. The professionals at Bourbon Marketing are here to assist you with your website development, search engine optimization, and marketing.

Visit our website or contact us today to get a free quote for developing a strategy that yields results for your SEO page rank!

5 Quick Tips to Help Your Website Load Faster

5 Quick Tips to Help Your Website Load Faster

Website visitors are likely to leave a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load.

It is imperative to give your visitors an optimum experience when they navigate to your website.

Slow-loading websites can be detrimental to search engine rankings, organic traffic, and conversion rates. They are especially harmful to mobile users, who depend on fast-loading sites when they are accessing information on-the-go.

A user-driven website is more likely to turn leads into conversions, particularly when it loads quickly.

It can be difficult identifying solutions for sluggish sites. In this post, we discuss five tips you can implement today to get your website to load faster.

Read on for enlightenment!

1. Consult Your Web Host

The first place to begin when addressing a slow loading website is your web host itself. Web hosting platforms play a huge role in informing website loading times.

In most cases, you won’t have to change website hosts in order to ensure a fast loading site. However, you may have to choose hosting options to suit your site’s needs.

A lot of business owners invest in an affordable, minimal-cost hosting solution. This is ideal for startups seeking ways to reduce initial costs or businesses with limited marketing budgets.

However, sometimes the “cheapest” option isn’t ideal, particularly when it comes to hosting.

Take a moment to evaluate your hosting needs, and determine if the type of hosting you have is ensuring a fast-loading site.

Shared Hosting

One of the most affordable hosting options for website owners is shared hosting. Your site, along with countless others, is hosted on a single server. All sites on the same server share a number of resources.

However, shared hosting can reduce loading speeds. Think about a number of apartment tenants who are all using the same kitchen.

Even if the kitchen is industrial-grade with lots of supplies, if it is always in high demand, it may experience congestion and delayed cooking times.

As such, websites that are hosted by a shared server may experience lag, particularly if other sites on the server are data-heavy.

In this sense, you may wish to upgrade to VPS hosting or a dedicated server.

VPS and Dedicated Server Hosting

VPS hosting is one step above shared hosting, in that it still involves the use of a single server but portions out individual resources to individual sites. For this reason, VPS-hosted sites are likely to load faster.

The premium web hosting solution is dedicated hosting. It offers websites a purely individual server and set of resources. Nothing is shared.

Certainly, businesses may face financial constraints when navigating hosting options. However, given the fact that loading time can directly influence conversions, upgrading server options may be key.

Consult your web host to ensure that it is meeting your speed needs and review upgrade possibilities.

2. Modify File Sizes and Types

After you’ve reviewed your web hosting needs, addressing site files is the next step.

Websites may load slowly simply because their files are too large or in the wrong format. In fact, image-heavy websites may have over 100KB of data to upload every time a visitor drops by.

That’s a hefty amount of data! However, we wouldn’t advise getting rid of these images, particularly if you are an e-commerce site that depends on product images.

If you are a photographer developing a website, sacrificing images for the sake of a fast loading site is also not feasible.

Luckily, there are several things you can do to ensure fast-loading content.

Reduce File Size

Begin by physically reducing image size. Before uploading images to a site, reduce their sizes according to how you want them to actually appear on the screen.

Simply squishing a large image into a site’s parameters isn’t equivalent. This actually retains the image’s total pixels, which can tax loading times.

Choose Compression

Reduction in file size may be sufficient, but we also recommend compressing files further to ensure they load quickly. If you are unsure if compression is right for you, you can always run a compression audit.

An audit gives you a sense of how compressed your site currently is and what compression is likely to do to it.

If your site is a WordPress site, you can download a plugin designed to compress photos automatically before they are uploaded. Check out the plugin Smush, for example.

If you don’t use a WordPress site, a variety of free online tools can compress files for you. CompressNow or Kraken.io, for example, offer image optimization and compression services.

Optimize File Type

Finally, ensure that all of your images are uploaded in the right file type. For the most part, JPEG images will load quickly and enable high image quality.

PNG images, however, often deliver the crispest image quality and also aren’t likely to lose data.

Website owners may also wish to investigate total-site compression through a software application like GZip.

GZip works at code-level to ensure that all of your content is uploading in the smallest size possible.

3. Set Up Browser Caching and Limit Redirects

The first time a visitor drops by your website, her device has to download a bunch of files in order for her to access your site. This may take several seconds.

However, to prevent visitors from having to download all of this content every time they navigate to your site, you can enable browser caching.

Caching enables devices to remember the files that they downloaded when visiting a site so that each subsequent visit is less work-intensive. This can ensure an optimized website experience for return visitors and fast loading content.

To be fair, it’s critical to offer first-time visitors a high-speed experience. That’s why you should enable browser caching after implementing the other tips in this post.

WordPress-run sites have the luxury of a WP plugin when it comes to browser caching. Check out W3 Total Cache, for example.

Non-WordPress sites may require some code manipulation to ensure browser caching.

Lastly, reduce the number of redirects that your website offers visitors to improve loading speed. Redirects occur when you get rid of any online content. They send visitors to a different page to receive the content they need.

However, too many of these can hinder site loading speeds. In fact, we recommend that your website has absolutely no redirects.

Of course, this may not be possible, particularly if you constantly update and reorganize your content. At the very least, eliminate redirects that are unnecessary to improve loading time.

4. Monitor Site Performance

A variety of factors influence your site’s loading speeds. These extend beyond web hosting types and site content.

What’s more, as your online content shifts and adapts to a growing customer base, your site speeds are likely to change.

The best way to ensure that your website loads at its optimum speed is to constantly monitor your site performance. Begin by getting a sense of how fast your content is loading right now.

You can do this easily by using Google Analytics if you have linked your website to an Analytics account. If you use WordPress, JetPack should be of assistance in this department.

You may also wish to invest in professional site monitoring services. This can help anticipate issues before they become dilemmas, and identify ongoing solutions to slow-loading content.

5. Invest in Professional Web Design Services

Your site’s design itself can influence its ability to load content quickly.

For example, responsively-designed sites prioritize mobile users, shifting content to adapt to screen size. These sites arguably offer faster loading times to mobile audiences.

Dynamic websites, however, incorporate constantly changing content. As such, these can load more slowly.

It is possible to achieve a dynamic, responsively-designed site that loads quickly for all users.

As such, you may wish to invest in professional web design services. Experts will have the knowledge and tools required to craft a user-driven site. They can also help you derive a design that is most likely to load quickly, no matter your hosting type.

Tips to Help Your Website Load Faster

User-driven websites keep user experience at the fore, ensuring that every visitor finds the information that they require in an interactive way. The most competitive websites, in particular, load content quickly so that users aren’t kept waiting.

If your website is slow-loading, this could be harming your online reputation and increasing your bounce rate.

You can take several steps, however, to enable your website to load faster. Begin by identifying your web hosting needs. This may involve upgrading from a shared server to a VPS or dedicated host.

Optimize your website’s images so that they are more likely to load quickly. Do this by reducing image size and compressing them.

Enable browser caching and always monitor site performance to keep tabs on your site’s loading speeds. When in doubt, consider investing in web design services to help your website load faster.

At Bourbon Interactive, we are committed to giving our clients the digital marketing solutions they need to get ahead, including web design.

Reach out today to let us know how we can be of assistance!