Why Does Page Speed Matters – The Research

Page speed matters for two very important reasons:

  • A slow website results in less profit
  • Google smacks slow websites with ranking penalties

In this article, we take an in-depth look at page speed and how it impacts your business. First, we look at the big one, how slow load times can result in significantly less profit. Next, we take the plunge into search rankings and Google’s most recent gripe; slow loading websites.

Don’t take my word for it. There’s a mountain of research into page speed’s impact on business with many studies commissioned by some of the biggest names in the industry. We reference these studies throughout the article, so read on to become your company’s page speed guru.

A Slow Page Speed Reduces Your Profit

You want your business to be as profitable as possible? Of course you do! What if I told you that over half your mobile visitors will leave your website if a page takes longer than three seconds to load? That can’t be true you might say. Well according to Google, it is…

This is important considering over half the web’s traffic now comes from mobile users. However, customer impatience doesn’t end there. Another piece of research found that pages loading in less than two seconds had an average bounce rate of 9%, while pages with a load time of five seconds had a bounce rate of 38%.

A 38% bounce rate is a complete failure for any website and the worrying thing is most websites take longer than five seconds to load. The good news is that with a little work a lot of sites can achieve a load time of three seconds or less.

Below are the average load times in the UK and US by business category. Figures are taken from a recent study by the all-knowing Google.

Page Speed UK

Just in case you’re wondering, a bounce is Google’s way of saying the visitor left your website; they came, they waited, they bounced. Possibly never to return…

No, I’m not being dramatic. A study by Akamai found that 79 percent of online shoppers who experience a dissatisfying visit are less likely to buy from that same online business again, while 27 percent are less likely to buy from their physical store.

You can probably see a pattern emerging. Slow load times result in less profit for your business. But I don’t sell stuff online you might say, I provide a service and my website is just a brochure! Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter.

A Quick Calculation for Service Businesses

Let’s say 100 people visit your website in a week. Every single one of those visitors could be a potential client. Imagine each is worth an average of 1000 euros or dollars in revenue.

If your home page takes longer than six seconds to load, you’ve just lost 46% of these potential clients according to a recent study by Pingdom. Now, the remaining 54 navigate to your contact page. This page also takes six seconds to load, so you’re now left with 30 potential customers calling your office.

That’s a potential loss of 60,000 big ones each week as a result of slow load times. I understand that every person visiting your website might not become a customer. But surely you want to have the maximum amount of people pick up the phone or fill in your contact form so you can discuss you service.

There’s a reason you spent money on a sharp looking website. The same reason you have a marketing budget and build strategic partnerships. You want as many potential clients getting in touch as often as possible. Don’t let a slow load time be a revenue black hole.

What Can You Do About Slow Page Speeds?

The first thing to do is a page speed test. This will shed some light on the situation and let you know if you’re losing potential revenue.

There are different tools you can use to test the load time of a web page. Your results will differ slightly from tool to tool. This is due to a number of technical factors. To make things easier, it’s probably best to just use Google’s very own PageSpeed Insights tool.

Google’s PageSpeed tool will give you a result out of 100 for your site on mobile and desktop. The holy grail is between 90 and 100, although some considerable work may be required to achieve it. Another key metric to look for is the “time to first byte” (TTFB). It’s widely believed this is the metric used by Google’s algorithm when judging your website speed.

Here is our recent Google PageSpeed score of 94 for mobile, we scored 98 for desktop:

Page Speed Matters

If you’re not even close to 90 for mobile or desktop, you should probably think about allocating some budget to the situation. Google recently published a case study highlighting the importance for business owners to allocate a “speed budget” as part of their marketing plan.

Given the information outlined above, I’m sure you’ll agree this is reasonable advice.

How Does a Slow Page Speed Impact Your Google Search Rank?

I once attended an SEO conference where one of the speakers cracked a dark joke about search engine rankings. In jest, she stated that the best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of Google’s search results.

And it’s true, any listing beyond the first page of Google means little to no search traffic coming to your website. You average searcher will not look beyond the top three results on the first page.

Google’s algorithm decides who makes the top spots. This algorithm scans the internet looking for websites which meet certain criteria. Your rank depends on how many of Google’s criteria you meet.

Speed Matters

Google’s algorithm looks at 200 different criteria when deciding who makes the top stops. Page speed first became a ranking factor in 2010, and in 2018 for searches done on mobile.

The search giant is extremely selective for a reason. Google wants to make searchers happy by giving them the best possible results for their query. It thinks the best results are more than just matching the words you typed into a search box. It wants each search result to give the visitor an amazing experience.

Speed is one thing it considers key to an amazing experience. What’s relevant to this article is the weight Google places on page speed. According to a number of different sources, page speed is one of the top ten things impacting your search rank.

Search Engine Journal put page speed at number five after great content, mobile friendliness, HTTPS, and UX. Blue Corona put it at number three after HTTPS and mobile friendly design.

Page Speed Conclusion

The thing is, rank is a concern because it also impacts your bottom line. A higher position in Google search means more people clicking through to your business. So, if you’re at the top of the page, then they’re visiting your business instead of your competitor’s.

If you’re not ranking well at the moment for key industry terms, getting an edge over your better ranking competitors can be easy as improving the load time of your website. Use Google’s PageSpeed test to compare your load times to the pages ranked number one, two and, three.

If your competition takes more than three seconds to load, you can get an easy edge by improving your page speed.

The bottom line is fast loading pages serve to keep visitors happy and your website. They encourage more sales and help you get an edge over the competition. That explains why so many business owners are starting to pay more attention to page speed.

Get in Touch for a Free Website Audit

If you want to book a free speed audit with Load Labz, just use our short and snappy contact form. One of the team will get right back to you within one working day.