If you’ve ever left a site because it took too long to load, you understand that site speed is essential. However, as a business owner, you might have overlooked this factor when commissioning or even designing your site. A slow site doesn’t just frustrate visitors. It impacts SEO, which can make it harder for searchers to find your website, to begin with.
Does Site Speed Impact SEO?
Site speed influences search engine optimization, better known as SEO. Search engines such as Google consider it when ranking websites in the results. So if your competitor’s website is lightning fast, it might appear higher on the results page than yours. This is especially important when so much space is already dedicated to paid listings rather than organic content!
The Indirect Impact of Page Speed
While site speed is a direct factor that search engines look for, a slow website can impact your SEO efforts in another way. Because visitors are impatient and leave sites that don’t load fast enough for their liking, your bounce rate will increase. Bounce rate refers to how often visitors view only a single page on your website without going to other pages. You can see the correlation between bounce rate and a slow site!
On top of that, dwell time drops. This is the time between a searcher clicking on your listing in the results page and going back to those search results.
Because search engines use both of these factors when ranking search results, you may be further penalized for having a slow site.
How to Increase Site Speed
The more content and functions you add to your site, the slower it becomes. While those features may seem useful to you and may even be what your visitors want, you should consider ways to provide them without decreasing your site speed.
Fortunately, there are several ways to increase site speed, many of which can be easily added through plugins.
- Cache content in the visitor’s browser so they don’t have to download it every time they visit your website.
- Force content to load only as users scroll by it.
- Using responsive themes so mobile users must download less.
- Hosting images on a content delivery network (CDN).
- Remove unnecessary features.
Spending a little time on your site helps ensure others spend more time visiting it. With these tips, you’ll improve both the user experience and your SEO ranking at the same time.