Why Website Speed Matters in SEO

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website speed for SEO

Site speed is now an official ranking factor! Meaning the longer your site takes to load, the lower down the rankings you will go.

And perhaps more importantly, your visitors won’t hang around to wait for a slow-loading page.

Here are some facts and figures:

  • A website taking longer than 2 seconds to load will cause 40% of users to abandon it
  • A one-second delay could result in 7% fewer conversions 
  • 79% of people said that they wouldn’t be returning to a poor performing site
  • You have only 5 seconds to engage a visitor before they leave
  • An Ecommerce site that takes longer than 2 seconds to load will drop in rankings
  • A 4 second delay saw an 11.02% drop in page views.

Ok, so I think you get the point.

“Speed is very important for a website. It’s so important that Google has made it an actual ranking factor.”

Cognitive SEO

How Much Money Am I Losing?

As we have seen, a slow loading site affects your rankings, page views and conversion rate.

Which all directly affect your revenue!

Once this became an official ranking factor, Google developed a tool so you can see exactly how much you can increase your income, by increasing your site speed.

I tested my blog and found that a one-second increase would make me $28,464 per year!!!

Definitely an amount of money to go after!

But how do you improve your site speed? Let’s take a look.

6 Ways To Improve Website Speed For SEO

Improving your site speed is actually relatively easy to do and doesn’t need to cost you megabucks.

These are the first 6x steps I would recommend you take, and they are completely FREE.

Step 01: Test Your Website Speed

The first stage to improving your website speed is to understand where you currently stand.

You need to test a couple of pages including:

  • Your homepage
  • A ‘heavy’ page 
  • And 1 other

Decide which pages you are going to use and then use these three tools to test them.

Record your findings in a spreadsheet.

Now you have a benchmark to improve against.

Step 02: Installing A Caching Plugin

First, let’s understand how caching works.

When visiting a website, to load a page the server needs to gather all the information/data in order to generate that page. This happens each time you visit a page and the server is often downloading the same images multiple times.

By enabling caching, once a web page has been visited one, all the images/data will be cached and won’t need to be downloaded from the server every time you visit that page.

Resulting in much faster loading times!

There is a free plugin that you can install which will take care of this for you: W3 Total Cache

It is easy to get set up and very customizable!

Step 03: Optimising Your Images

Images are one of the main contributors to a slow loading website. So it stands to reason that optimizing them will make a big difference to your load times.

  1. ShortPixel
  2. WP Smush

Using these tools will get rid of any unnecessary bulk attached to your images.

Step 04: Set Up LazyLoad

Lazy loading your images and videos mean that rather than loading when someone first visits your page, the graphics and videos will only load once they are scrolled to in the post.

This means the page will load much quicker in the first instance. If set up properly.

The plugin Lazy Loader is really effective.

Step 05: Set Up Cloudflare

Cloudflare is a content delivery network (CDN). A CDN is a distributed network of servers that provides several advantages for a web site:

  • Cached content: By caching web site content, Cloudflare helps improve page load speeds, reduce bandwidth usage, and reduce CPU usage on the server.
  • High availability: With a redundant network of servers worldwide, if a server experiences an issue, Cloudflare’s CDN simply “fails over” to use another server.
  • Increased security: Cloudflare helps improve security by blocking threats before they even reach a site. Cloudflare’s CDN can also provide some protection against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

How Content Delivery Network Works

“We are caching 80% of our traffic on Cloudflare, and saw page load times for both desktop and mobile clients decrease on average by 50% – which was amazing!”

David O’Brien – Digital and eCommerce Manager, YPO

Cloudflare has plenty of performance-enhancing benefits and if you need help in setting it up you can view this tutorial.

Step 06: Test Your Site Again

After completing all these steps, the final thing to do is to retest your pages and see how much faster your website is.

When I followed these steps, I made significant improvements.

When Is It Time To Invest In Your Site Speed?

If the above steps haven’t done the trick then it may be time to invest in some of the more serious tools, plugins and hosting services.

I have spent a lot of time trying out, testing and experimenting with the available paid and free, services and plugins on the market and have developed the winning combination.

You can head over to my blog now to learn what I have powering things behind the scenes.

The Last Resort

Changing your web hosting may become necessary if you have taken every other action in a bid to improve your loading speeds.

After much testing of WP hosting service providers.

I can confidently recommend WPX Hosting

My testing confirmed that they are the fastest WordPress hosting!
Plus.

  • They are very affordable compared to other slower WP hosts
  • They offer free migration
  • Have fantastic support
  • They offer great features like a staging site, one-click backups, free SSL and a CDN service!

If you didn’t realize before, you should now understand just how important your load speed is to your visitors AND your bank balance.

You can follow the 6 steps mentioned in this article to fix any quick wins and if you are serious about improving your speed further you can invest in some premium tools and services.


Other Valuable Resources

Matthew Woodward

Matthew Woodward's passion for all things internet began when he was 14 years old and built his first online gaming review website. Since then he has become an expert in the internet marketing and SEO industry, helping thousands of people with their online businesses through his award-winning blog.

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