Let’s imagine a person, maybe even a potential client or customer of your business, sitting down at the computer to search for the product or service that your company provides. They click on one of the top links in the search results, and then the waiting begins. As the page struggles to load, that person’s patience wanes quickly. How long are they willing to stare at the all-white screen before returning to the search results and clicking on the next company on the page? They won’t be waiting more than a few seconds for the page to load before moving on.
With the right SEO strategy and with a bit of luck, that person will move on to your page. And when they do, you’ll want your page to load faster than your competitor’s so that you can convert that visitor to a sale.
Our patience level these days is probably the least it has ever been in the history of mankind. Well I can’t be sure what it was back in the stone age but you get my drift. When it comes to speed of service, people unfortunately do not have time to waste.
The Importance of User Experience
These are the realities of today’s online culture—User Experience is paramount, as it should be. When a website has a short loading time, the user will most likely not bounce to the next page and will instead continue browsing the site. The faster the page loads, the more engaged the user will be and the more enticed they will be to go deeper into the website and ultimately even convert.
Also, though many people may not be aware of this fact, page speed also has a significant impact on the quality score of a website. When a landing page has a fast loading speed, Google considers this a factor when evaluating the overall experience. If the page loads slowly, the user will bounce and therefore not convert, which will of course damage the quality score. A higher quality score will have an impact on driving down your cost per click, therefore the page speed can help lower your overall advertising costs with Google.
A helpful example is to think of this in terms of credit. Having a slow-loading website is similar to paying your bills late—if it takes you a longer than normal amount of time to pay your bills, your credit will be affected negatively. When your credit score drops, your interest rates increase and your overall experience is negatively affected.
Similarly, search engines will penalize a slow-loading site by ranking it further down in search results. It is part of the algorithm that Google uses to decide how to rank websites. When your website is better optimized, your rankings will climb and will help push a website above its competitor if the site loads faster.
How Google Measures Page Speed
When Google measures a site’s speed, they use a tool called Page Speed Score which is from 0-100 points. When a site performs better, the score is increased. A score of 85 or above is a passing grade in Google’s eyes. The score is taken from another tool called Page Speed Insights. This tool looks at page performance for desktop and mobile sites, and provides the user with key information for a variety of factors.
Furthermore, what is the point of having a great amount of content on a website, if the page speed is not up to par? It almost does not make sense to have a great conversion-focused website with unique content if the entire user experience is hindered by slow-loading pages. Therefore, Page Speed is extremely important and should be taken into account when a website is being optimized, not only by Google, but by the website design team.