Now and again, pleas to help small business owners or entrepreneurs with SEO can be found on Facebook groups, Reddit, forums, and the like. In a lot of these instances, the request for help is being made by a small-business website or niche blog. Often, people suggest small SEO patches – like adding alt-tags, fixing H-tag structure, and things like that. However, these answers completely ignore things that are essential for a new website: creating great content, targeting the correct keywords, or building authority among the others. Additionally, there’s one aspect of SEO that people often overlook – page load time.
Google has already confirmed that page load time is a ranking factor, though we don’t know how big of a factor it is. Furthermore, what is a good page load time? What results from doing an SEO page speed test will reliably improve your business? To answer these questions, we’ve concocted several hypothetical scenarios.
However, it should be noted that – when it comes to SEO – not everything works exactly the same in given sectors. Additionally, not every tactic gives the same results for different websites. That’s why we have included a wide variety of different scenarios.
Getting Bounce Rate Improvements and Additional Conversions
When it comes to the benefits of improving your page load time – or getting good results from an SEO speed test – getting an improved bounce rate ranks high on the list of benefits. It is important to note that it does not matter if a better bounce rate helps you more with your SEO or not – after all, you do not want visitors to be leaving your site as soon as they possibly can.
Page load speed is a crucial part of ecommerce. When people are developing an eCommerce mobile application, page load speed plays a huge part. That’s because users are using their mobile devices more frequently, which demands a more optimized experience.
If you improve the page load speed of your site, you are probably going to see a bounce rate improve significantly. Your bounce rate may even improve by a margin of about 30%.
Maybe you’ve recently rolled out a campaign that had a negative return on investment (ROI). Doing an SEO page speed test may reveal that your page load time is too high. If this is the case, improving the page load speed is sure to improve your ROI.
Sometimes, you can overhaul your page code to increase the page load speed. This may even result in your pages scoring close to ‘100 performance’ on Google Lighthouse audits. However, acing the audit does not necessarily mean you will see a tremendous improvement in your average ranking being increased.
However, you might notice a decrease in bounce rate, and a decrease in the average time spent on a page. So, page speed is not the end all be all when it comes to improving rankings. Real results often come from an improved user experience that a better page load time provides. In this sense, a drop in bounce rate is exactly the right result.
Conversely, optimizing your page’s load time may result in absolutely nothing. This contributes to the idea that page speed maybe is not as important as a lot of people think. If this is the case, it is important to redirect your time to focus on other aspects of your website.
If you think about it, this does make a certain amount of sense. There are already lots of slow sites that rank highly on Google and get millions (or hundreds of thousands) of visitors every single month. Forbes’ website is a great example of this. On Google Pagespeed Insights, Forbes.com ranks fairly low. Also, WordPress is popular but slow. If you have a site on WordPress, it is almost a guarantee that your page speed is poor.
Maybe you have tested a variety of different methods when it comes to improving your page load time – changing hosts, different plugins, CDNs and more. At the end of tuning up and retooling your site speed, you may find that improving your site speed by a few seconds had a marginal impact on your page rankings. Or, having a slower website does not impact your page rankings at all.
If this is the case and you have not seen decent results in your rankings because of site speed – and, unless you are able to improve your load times significantly – you are probably wasting your time and would be better suited devoting your time and energy to something else.
Improvements In Rankings and Traffic
Maybe you have come from a background where you’re struggling to rank your site, even in an industry that is relatively niche. You may even notice that your bounce rate is very high for your specific type of website. If this seems like the case, it may be worth putting the site through Google’s Page Speed Tool. If your site is slow, fixing this can lead to a big improvement in your sites ranking. However, page load speed alone isn’t the only thing to focus on when it comes to improving the bounce rate, but it is certainly a key element.
One interesting tactic you can consider employing is to transform your website into an AMP-only site. AMP-only sites run off of AMP (accelerated mobile pages) on desktop and mobile. If you do this, you may even see SERP rankings improve, and a higher, much faster user experience on desktop and mobile.
If you are in a very competitive industry, you should place a lot of emphasis on page load speed, because it is very important to give your users a good – if not fantastic – experience. After all, Google takes page load speeds very seriously for a reason – it is a very solid indicator of how webmasters prioritise user experience. When you make improvements to your page load speed, you will probably notice astounding improvements in SERP rankings and your bounce rate.
Let’s take a look at another hypothetical example. Maybe Google has recently updated. Maybe this update causes you to take a dive in the rankings for some of your keywords, leading to a drop in your rankings. If you perform a competitor analysis, you may find that your page speed score on specific keywords was a bit slow compared to the competition. If this is the case, you should set out to improve it.
When your page speed score improves, you may find that your FCP decreases. Additionally, you may see an improvement in your keywords ranking. Also, if your pages load faster, it will add more to the user experience. Obviously, we sound like a broken record, but the importance of user experience can’t be overstated. Who knows? This could even lead to a boost in your sales.
Yes, improving your page load time can benefit the user experience, but it may also lead to significant growth in your organic rankings, too. Google has started to focus more on UX, so improving your site’s UX will probably help your site rank higher.
Some sites see very dramatic results when they optimize their Lighthouse performance score – and maybe even shift to a native AMP homepage. If you do this, it may result in an increase in organic traffic within a week – with that number trending upward over the course of the next several months.
Ultimately, page speed is a very critical component of search engine optimization. Many sites have used it to improve their loading times.
Yes, results can vary, but they can usually be pretty significant, especially if you execute some big improvements.
Keep in mind that having lots of imagery can slow down your page load time. If you compress large images, reduce bloat, minimize code, and refine the server to improve time to first byte (TTFB), you will probably see a reduction in the time it takes your pages to load, leading to a more refined user experience and more satisfied site visitors.
If you would like to learn more about SEO, consider reading more of KitelyTech’s blog. Our post on eCommerce SEO tips to improve organic performance is a great place to start.
The KitelyTech blog offers great information on a variety of topics – things like app development, SEO, and great web design.
Also, if you are an entrepreneur or a small business owner looking to optimize your website, increase your SEO rankings, or something similar, consider contacting KitelyTech today. KitelyTech has spent many years helping small businesses build their customer base and web presence using the latest developments in the tech sector. We have a proven track record of working with small business owners and entrepreneurs to help them meet their business goals.