Why Page Load Speed Matters

People want things fast.

Speed has proven to be not only a differentiator but a way to build a business.

Google gets this, and since 2010, speed has been a factor in its ranking algorithm.

That’s not news.

What has changed is that more people are using their mobiles devices to search, shop, and buy.

So earlier this year, Google announced that it will split its search results into two indexes: one for desktop and one for mobile.

And that’s why speed is once again a priority for marketers and SEOs. Eventually, Google wants to return to a single index — but this time … rankings will be based on mobile signals and content.

This supports another trend SEO experts are tracking: User behavior. In other words, how someone interacts with your site could impact rankings.

Click through rates from search results, time spent on page and return rate are all important – but bounce rate and conversions are where speed really matters.

So how fast is fast enough? 1… 2…

Two seconds. That’s all the time you have.

Doubleclick found that the average load time for mobile sites is 19 seconds with a 3g connection. That’s not nearly good enough when 53% of mobile sites are abandoned if a page takes 3 seconds or more to load.

And let’s talk about the bottom line. Mobify found that for every 100 millisecond decrease in load time, customers saw a 1.1% lift in conversions. That’s an annual increase in revenue of more than $370,000.

So while you might think your developer or agency has site speed covered, it’s worth diving into how to optimize for load time.

Everything on your site has weight – images, files, code, scripts, and plug-ins.

Images are the biggest culprit for slow load times – resize and compress them before you upload.

Leverage browser caching – this is a technique where data is temporarily stored on a visitor’s computer, resulting in faster load times for repeat visitors.

HTML and CSS files can tip the scales if there’s white space. This is the space between the lines of code. You can minify the files to reduce bloat.

And your site should load above the fold content first – before any sidebar or navigation elements.

Finally, check into AMP – a project from Google. This technology creates simple web pages that load nearly instantaneously.

Getting left behind is never fun. Focus on speed to see higher conversions and higher rankings.

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