SEO 101: Site Speed Still Matters In 2014

Patient people may stand in line when there are no other choices for banking, dinner, or when their is a plane to catch. However, as time stretches on, even the most patient person becomes testy when simple things take too long to complete. Businesses understand this and many use Queuing Theory to determine when it’s time to hire more help or additional physical features, such as elevators. to a building.

On the web, Queuing Theory is used to see how well web servers are doing their jobs. Psychologically, there is little difference between waiting for a fresh, hot pizza and waiting for a website to load onto a computer screen. Restaurant patrons have been known to storm out if their order takes too long to deliver. Web surfers are no different except that surfing away from a website takes less time than storming out of a restaurant.

This click-away activity illustrates just how important website load speeds remain in 2014.

What Google Thinks Of Speed

Site SpeedThe Google algorithm is programed to reward websites that load faster. In fact, some analysts believe that speed is one of the most important things in the mix. Google’s main purpose is to deliver good websites that provide high value to their customers.

That’s why the importance of speed when it comes to Google isn’t a breaking headline. Google understands that clean code delivers websites fast. When Google announced their Speed Online Tool in 2011, web masters all over the world got the message about speed.

The big question that must be understood is why Google cares about website speed so much.

In the past, then Vice President of Google, Marissa Meyer, went directly to Google’s users to ask them if they wanted either 10 or 30 results in the returned pages. Users responded that they wanted the higher number of results and Google delivered what their customers wanted. Here is where it gets interesting.

It turns that what people say they want and what they actually want are two different things. Traffic on pages that delivered 30 results dropped by 20 percent. The big difference between the pages was simply a difference in speed of loading. The pages with 10 results loaded one-half of a second faster and people overwhelmingly began choosing this delivery method.

As an aside, it is important to remember that the rate at which websites load is only one of more than 200 different signals that the Google algorithm takes into consideration when delivering results. Moz has pointed out that the speed factor actually affects less than a single percent of web queries.

But page loading speed does matter in more ways than just the ranking factor of the Google algorithm. In Unbounce, John Ekman tells his readers that faster load times have more of a positive effects to improve page ranking. In addition to this, greater speeds gain website owners additional organic traffic. Load speed should not be ignored, especially when mobile devices are used. Mobile sites can actually be penalized when they load slowly.

Faster Site Speed Enhances The Visitor Experience

For most modern web users, this is simply common sense. Who hasn’t wandered away from a slowly loading websites. To make the point more solidly, consider these statistics:

  • More than half of online shoppers located within the US report that they won’t finish a purchase if the website is too slow. Radware has found that this is true for 51% of potential buyers.
  • The need for speed has increased over time. In a different study, Radware compared the conversion hits that websites with a loading speed of six seconds took. In 2010, a page at this speed took a -40 percent hit while a page in 2014 at the same rate was down by -50 percent.
  • Almost half of the web searchers, 47%, expect a website to load in less than two seconds.
  • When traffic is heavy and load times increase, a whopping 75% of web surfers will head to the competition.
  • Fast load times are good for business. Strange Loop reports that adding one second to a load time costs a website 7% of total sales.

The long and short of it is that websites must load in under two seconds to keep customers around long enough to make a purchase. More time than that and your competition will be raking in the profits.

Speed matters. The Google algorithm considers it and your customers will reward you when your site loads faster. Let us know if you have found a difference in revenues and traffic after improving your website’s load time.