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  • The Role of Website Speed in Rankings in 2019

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    In 2009, Google launched a campaign- Let's make the web faster. The aim of the initiative was to make ''browsing the web as fast as turning the pages of a magazine.” Since then, Google has reiterated the fact that speed matters, as internet users demand a better experience on the web.

     

    According to a study by Akamai and Gomez, half of internet users expect websites to load in 2 seconds. Another study found that three-quarters of web users would not return to a website with slow speed.  If your website can give users a fast and frictionless experience, the internet is your oyster.

     

    Decreased website load and performance can be caused by:

    •        Images: the wrong dimension, large and non-optimised images

    •        Third party scripts like apps, widget and plugins

    •        Slow web hosting service

    •        Pointless redirects: The number of hops

    •        Heavy files and theme of the site

     

    The Importance of Website Load Time

    Every extra minute spent on load time costs 11% traffic and 7% conversions. It affects users experience, ROI and SEO traffic.

     

    If your page load time is within...

    •        1-3 seconds, bounce rates increase by 32%

    •        1-5 seconds, bounce rates increase by 90%

    •        1-6 seconds, bounce rate increases by 106%

    •        1-10 seconds bounce rates increases by 123%

     

    Google notices your bounce rate, pages per session, time on site, and other site activities. If visitors are not enjoying their experience, your page rank is reduced.

     

    Speed page affects indexation. If Google bots cannot crawl a website, keywords will suffer. If a page loads fast, Google bots can crawl and index more pages before using up its entire dedicated crawl budget. More pages in Google’s index increases traffic. You have more long tail keywords with potentials to rank high. For large e-commerce business with thousands of products and millions of page duplicates, increasing indexation is vital.

     

    Tips to Improve Site Speed

     

    Enable Cache: Enabling cache is important. This allows your website to rely on cache version if it's loading slowly. Update your caches regularly.

    Use content distribution networks (CDNs): CDNs are collections of web servers. They are used to distribute contents across multiple geographical locations based on the visitor's region. There are numerous CDN options like MAXCDN or KeyCDN.

    Minify Code: Minifying codes make your website smaller and faster. It involves removing irrelevant characters - white, newline characters, space characters, comments- from source code and maintaining its functionality.

    There are other ways to increase site speed performance. For instance, you can specify a character set, save your CSS and scripts as external files and lots more.

     

    Optimize Your Mobile Experience

    Mobile search as exceeded desktop queries. Mobile and tablets accounts for 57% of internet traffic. 60% of quick online purchase is done on a mobile device.

     

    In 2017, Google introduced accelerated mobile pages (AMP) landing pages to AdWords. This tool increase the speed of your mobile landing page. It feeds your content through an existing network that reduces loading time on mobile devices. However, AMP is not suitable for all ages.

     

    Note, you cannot use the same web code for a desktop site and mobile version. You need to rejig and streamline the code. To increase page load performance, test both the desktop and mobile version of your site separately.

     

    The structure of your mobile site should be fairly different from your desktop. Information must be accessible and effective. The screen should not display multiple elements at once. Tap-targets should be adequately spaced, and texts should be readable.

     

    How to Check Page Speed

     

    Checking page load speed is simple. There are many free online tools. Some developed by Google.

     

    PageSpeed Insights

    Page speed is developed by Google Labs. It can be added as an extension or used as a web-based tool. It measures the speed of your page and suggests options to improve it. If your site is small, it won’t measure the exact speed. It will provide feedback according to how your site is configured

     

    Test My Site.

    Test my site by the overall speed of your site. It provides a specific fix and connects results with the ROI for your business and website.

     

    GTMetrix

    GTmetrix analyses the speed performance of your page using YSlow and Google Page Speed. You can use it as a plugin, on the GTMetrix website or add the GTMetrix Bookmarklet to your browser - Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer.

     

    The Mobile Speed Scorecard

    This tool is powered by Chrome User Experience Report. It goes beyond testing. It measures domain's load time and compares with about 10 competitors.

     

    Conclusion

    While Google’s John Mueller stated that website speed is a small factor web ranking, it is imperative. A slow website leads to loss of revenue. Remember, SEO is a holistic approach. Ensure you improve the overall quality of your website and its content.

    The Role of Website Speed in Rankings in 2019

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