AND IF IT'S NOT, SHOULD YOU CARE?
Page load time and whether site speed is a ranking factor or not has been a big topic among SEOs, especially in 2017. Some will tell you that website speed is a ranking factor, while some SEO companies will tell you it's really not an important ranking signal.
And because of all this talk about page load time and ranking, some website owners, including some SEO enthusiasts are not sure what to do. One thing we always believed here at BuzFind is that page speed is part of your overal success in your search engine optimization campaign.
Before I start talking about page load time and whether it is a ranking factor or not, I want to let you know that if you have a slow website, our website speed optimization service can improve your page load time and make your website fast again.
NOT SURE WHAT TO DO ABOUT PAGE SPEED
So should you believe the SEO expert, or a site optimization company when they tell you that page speed is not an important factor, or ignore their recommendation and find another SEO provider or professional?
Our 'Page load time - Is it a ranking factor?' post will tell you who you should believe, and offer our recommendation.
But before I continue to talk about site speed and whether it is a ranking factor or not, I want to ask you the following;
What should be your main focus in 2017 and beyond? Search engines, or your users?
You answer should be users first, then search engines because when you put your users first, search engines, including Google will reward you and bump your ranking position up.
FOCUSING ON SEARCH ENGINES, NOT YOUR USERS
Many website owners have been focusing more on hiring an SEO company to work on their search engine marketing campaign and help them get top ranking, and less on their customers.
We all want to achieve top ranking on search engines and get on top of our competition, and this is not a bad thing to do when you have an online presence but what we seem to do, or have been doing it for years is putting your most important asset in the back burner.
You can have the BEST SEO Optimized website, and be on top of your competition, but without your users, or customers if you are selling a service or product online, that top ranking position will not do you any good, nor make you a successful businessman, or businesswoman if you don't think of your customers as much as you are thinking about search engines.
WHY YOU SHOULD/MUST IMPROVE YOUR PAGE LOAD TIME?
Your visitors, or customers, including Google want a fast website and if you don't listen to what they want, you will loose them to your competition.
Just in case you don't believe that site speed is one of many of Google's ranking factors, then I recommend you watch this video.
Google has already made the move to 'mobile first' indexing, so if you don't follow suit and make your mobile page load time fast, you site/page might be somewhere deep in Google's search result page.
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU DON'T MAKE YOUR PAGE LOAD FAST?
One thing to always remember is, you have a competition (if not more) and that competition will do anything to outrank you. They will use every trick of the SEO trade to get on top of you, and one of that SEO tricks is, you guest it, 'fast page load'.
To your competition, every second counts and that is how they are on top of you on search engine result pages (SERPs), instead of the other way around.
IT'S NOT ALWAYS ABOUT THE 'RANKING FACTORS'
Let's forget about search engines and page load time as a ranking factor for a moment, and think about your users' experience instead.
So what contributes to high page abandonment?
High abandonment rate could be due to one, or a combination of the following;
- Slow page load, especially on a mobile device
- Site either freezing up, crashing, or errors
- Poor formatting (too crowded) that makes the page difficult to read
- The function of the website was not as expected on a mobile device
- Site was not available, or receive the default 404 error page.
MOBILE VS. DESKTOP SPEED
Mobile users expect the same fast page load than they get from browsing your site using a desktop (wired or wireless).
Of course some mobile users (a small percentage) expect the load time be slower on their phone than it is on a desktop, while others expect it to be equal of a desktop speed, but not to the point where they have to wait 5 seconds or more for the page to load.
Your mobile users might wait a little bit for your page to load but not if it goes beyond 6 seconds or more. But remember, every 100ms shaved on the page load can boost your customers retention rate and increased conversion by at least 1%.
If you think that 1% is not worth the effort of speeding up your page load, than to be honest with you, you are in the wrong business. Because...
HOW LONG SHOULD IT TAKE FOR THE PAGE TO LOAD?
To be honest, the question should not be about how long your page should take to load but about how can I make it faster? If you can make it load within 1 second (this is my ideal page load time that is not easy to achieve), you are going to make your visitors happy, the search engines happier, and the web extremely happy.
By the 6th seconds or more, your visitors has started to think the page is taking to load and might be considering on clicking on the browser's back button.
HOW CAN I SPEED UP MY WEBSITE?
It is not as dificult to speed up your website as you might think. Just follow our recommendation to a fast website
- Choose a good hosting with optimal hardware and software setup and never look at the cheap price offers
- Minimize HTTP Requests - The more features, module, plugins your CMS website has, the more HTTP requests your visitors' browser has to make. So only use what you need and make them worth their inclusion
- Enable browser caching - By enabling browser caching, your visitor's browser will not need to fetch and reload the same page he/he previously visited where all the required information to load the page has already been stored on the browser's cache
- Optimize Images - Your web page needs a picture here and there but make sure you optimize and size every image you your site's use for speed before you upload them
There are move ways of optimizing your page load to list them all here.
WHAT IS A GOOD TIME TO FIRST BYTE?
TTFB, or Time To First Byte is a way of gauging the responsiveness of your web server or network resources. TTFB measures the time it takes from user making the HTTP request, to the time it takes for the browser receiving the first byte of information from the server.
I cannot tell you what is a good time to first byte but the slower, the faster. I myself like it to be 300ms or less
TIME IS MONEY!
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