People like it when your website can load fast. And so does Google. In fact, Google likes blistering fast sites so much that they have developed what they call a ‘mobile first’ index this year.
‘Site Speed,’ we are told by Google, is a ranking factor. But as with any factor Google confirms is a ranking signal, it’s usually a small, ‘nuanced’ one.
Now that Google is determined to focus on ranking sites based on their mobile experience, the time is upon businesses to really focus on delivering the fastest desktop and mobile-friendly experience you can achieve.
Because if you do not, your competition will, and Google will rank those pages above your own, in time.
If you have a responsive site or a dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup is equivalent across mobile and desktop, you shouldn’t have to change anything. – GOOGLE
How fast your website loads is critical but often a completely ignored element in any online business and that includes search marketing and search engine optimisation.
Very slow sites are a bad user experience — and Google is all about good UX these days.
How fast is fast enough?
While a 1-second load time would be nice, if you manage to get a load time under 3 seconds, you’re doing fine. If it’s under 7 seconds, it’s okay too (but you have to try to improve it). Over 10 seconds and you’re losing money in noticeable quantities.
So how fast should your site be? While Jakob Nielsen says people can handle up to 10 second load time, consider the following:
- 47% of people expect a web page to load in two seconds or less.
- 57% of visitors will abandon a page that takes 3 seconds or more to load.
- At peak traffic times, more than 75% of online consumers left for a competitor’s site rather than suffer delays.
- According to this scientific study tolerable waiting time for information retrieval is approximately 2 seconds. Adding feedback, like a progress bar, can push tolerable waiting time to 38 seconds (so if your site is slow, add progress bars or equivalent).
- A site that loads in 3 seconds experiences 22% fewer page views, a 50% higher bounce rate, and a 22% fewer conversions than a site that loads in 1 second. While a site that loads in 5 seconds experiences 35% fewer page views, a 105% higher bounce rate, and 38% fewer conversions.
- 8% of people cite slow loading pages as a key reason for abandoning their purchase.
Tools to analyse your site website speed
- Pingdom – Test the load time of that page, analyse it and find bottlenecks
- Google PageSpeed Insights — analyses the content of a web page, then generates suggestions to make that page faster.
- Yahoo! YSlow
A thing to remember here is that scores don’t matter — it’s how fast your site is what makes a difference. These scoring tools let you look at potential issues and advise on best practices, but they will not solve your site’s problems for you.
Impact on website conversions
Main point: faster sites get higher conversions.
Check out these studies:
- Conversion rate increases 74% when page load time decreases from 8 to 2 seconds (real user monitoring data from 33 major retailers)
- Aberdeen Group study showed that a one-second delay in page load time equals 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and 7% loss in conversions.
- One guy got an 8.47% conversion rate improvement by moving his landing page onto a faster host.
- Shopzilla sped up their site by 5 seconds and increased the conversion rate 7-12%.
- Shaving 2.2 seconds off Mozilla’s landing pages increased download conversions by 15.4%, which they estimate will result in 60 million more Firefox downloads per year.
- Amazon reported already in 2006 that they got 1% revenue increase for every 100ms of improvement.
Don’t forget the mobile users!
Mobile users usually have slower connections, but they expect sites to load just as fast. To be precise, 85% of mobile users expect pages to load as fast or faster than they load on the desktop.
Improving site speed is part of conversion optimisation. It’s often a low-hanging fruit that you can get done right away — improving user experience and revenue at the same time.