Last Updated on September 10, 2020
Did you know that August is Website Speed Awareness Month? This post is for online marketing techies and those who just want to know a bit more about why website speed is so important to SEO.
Google Measuring Website Speed Since 2010
Here’s an interesting fact: Google conducted a series of user experience experiments. They tested how many results users actually wanted in a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). People reported they wanted 30 per page. So how come Google only has 10 coveted slots? Because Google tested load times. The difference between 30 results vs. 10 was a mere half second. However, this change dramatically affected traffic.
So if it takes your website a little bit longer to load, Google notices. Shaving off load time is only one factor, but it’s an important one for user experience.
More Speed Test Data
If you’re interested in Google’s speed test data, they dedicated an entire post on the experiment and its effect on searcher behavior. Here’s an excerpt that sums things up nicely:
Speed as perceived by the end-user is driven by multiple factors, including how fast results are returned and how long it takes a browser to display the content. Our experiments injected server-side delay to model one of these factors: extending the processing time before and during the time that the results are transmitted to the browser. In other words, we purposefully slowed the delivery of search results to our users to see how they might respond.
All other things being equal, more usage, as measured by number of searches, reflects more satisfied users. Our experiments demonstrate that slowing down the search results page by 100 to 400 milliseconds has a measurable impact on the number of searches per user of -0.2% to -0.6% (averaged over four or six weeks depending on the experiment). That’s 0.2% to 0.6% fewer searches for changes under half a second!
Not happy with your search rankings? Maybe it’s not keyword optimization but your website’s code. Sluggish sites, especially in a competitive market, may not be rewarded with page one search results.
How do measure your website speed? Any tricks to share that shave off download speeds?