How does the speed of your website affect traffic and ultimately sales?

blurred lights on road

Even if your site is loading fairly quickly, can it still be improved? How does Google react to the speed of your website?

About 45% of web users expect a site to load in at least 2 seconds (or less), and if it hasn’t loaded in 4 seconds, they’re gone. This isn’t just a one-off experience as the stats state that 79% of web users who have trouble with your web site performance probably won’t return to your site again. On top of all that, 44% of them would tell a friend if they’ve had a poor experience.

This means that you’re not just losing traffic from direct visitors, but this is multiplying when spread around to friends and colleagues. This could also be spread on social media.

When using Googles Speed test tool, the optimum target is 80% load time on both mobile and desktop. There is usually a lot of work involved in getting your site up to 80%+ performance, especially sites with large images, video content and gifs make it difficult to get even close to the 80% target.

A slow loading website will often be viewed as a poor user experience and could possibly lead to a loss in conversion rate.

As from July 2018, Google will be enforcing its Mobile First Index gradually. Therefore, page speed will become an important ranking factor for all mobile searches. If you would like to check how your website is performing, go to Google Page Speed Insights and type in your web address.

Before you panic and rush off to your developer, it is important to note that this Google speed update will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users. Therefore it will only affect a small percentage of queries. Nevertheless, it is good practice to make sure that your site is not penalised as reversing a penalty from Google requires a lot of hard work.

Google is always trying to provide the best user experience for everyone – with page speed becoming a major factor.

It has been shown in previous research that as the page load speed descends from 1 second down to 10 seconds, the probability of a bounce increases 124%. People will leave your site to search elsewhere if the load speed of your site is more than 3 seconds. The optimal speed is 1-3 seconds showing a 32% bounce rate. The bounce rate increases to 90% at 5 seconds.

Preparation for July

For years Google has been urging developers and webmasters to be aware of page speed on desktop and mobile websites. In their recent announcement, Google continues to encourage developers to adhere to the constantly updating of their algorithms, specifically when it comes to mobile speed for websites.

Best practice going forward

  • Here are a few tips of some guidelines you should follow to ensure your visitors and potential customers aren’t leaving your site.
  • Ensure your loading speed is under 3 seconds
  • Make sure that each page includes easy to read, good quality content
  • The total size of each page should not exceed 500kb
  • If you optimise images with the correct compression then they’ll require less loading time

If you’re new to optimising your website for mobile, have a look at the Google Guide and learn how to make your website mobile-friendly. July 2018 isn’t far away, so don’t risk losing out on SERP rankings.

Should you need help with your site, contact us to find out how we can help.

Together, through creativity, understanding and experience, we will grow your business