People are in a big hurry these days. They expect to get much more information than they used to in a fraction of the time. This is why you should worry about your website’s page speed. How fast is your website? Fast enough? And how much does it really matter?

What is page speed?

web page loadingPage Speed is the amount of time that it takes for a webpage to load. A page’s loading speed is determined by several different factors, including a site’s server, page file size, and image compression. High page speed helps keep a website bounce rate low and is less likely to discourage visitors from leaving the site out of frustration of not getting the info they need fast enough. Usually, when people think of page speed, they think it’s how long it takes for a web page to fully load. However, some website visitors don’t even wait that long; if they see that it takes too long for a page to even start to load, they leave and go somewhere else. Sometimes a page’s text content will load fairly quickly, but images lag behind; these too are considered indications of slow page speed. All equate to a poor user experience if it takes too long, which can result in lost traffic to your website.

How long should it take for a website to load?

We get asked this a lot…. ALOT. Obviously, it depends on what kind of content you have on the page, how substantial the content is (text, images, videos, etc.), and much more. Different pages can have different loading speeds depending on their page elements, such as images and code. Ideally, you’ll want your website to load within three seconds, or two seconds if it’s an ecommerce site. The two-to-three second mark is the turning point where bounce rates skyrocket – in fact, 40% of consumers will wait no more than three seconds before abandoning a site.

Does page speed impact SEO too?

page speed impacts SEOThe short answer is yes! More specifically, Page speed is a direct ranking factor, a fact known even better since Google’s Algorithm Speed Update. However, speed can also affect rankings indirectly, by increasing the bounce rate and more. Addressing loading times improves your rankings, your user experience, and your conversion rate too. All of these are a part of a solid SEO foundation for your website.  Fast loading pages make it easier for visitors to navigate your website. On the other hand, if your website loads too slowly, potential visitors might abandon it in the first few seconds, which will affect your conversion rate.

What specifically impacts page speed?

We mentioned above how the type of content on a page can impact speed. Here is a bit more detail regarding that as well as other factors. If you have images on a web page, the size of the image may impact how quickly the image loads. For videos, there’s a marked difference between videos housed on a website vs. a feed from YouTube. Content isn’t the only item impacting page speed. Other factors include your server’s performance, the user’s internet provider, the browser being used to access your site, and the type of connection used. Obviously, you can’t control several of these factors, but it’s important to improve the factors you can for better SEO.

How can you check your page speed?

You can check your website speed using a free speed test on Google’s PageSpeed Insights, which can also let you know what could be negatively affecting your site speed SEO.

What should you do if you need to further improve speed?

website analysis for page speedNot all issues with a website can be easily addressed. If you find that you’ve done all you could regarding image size, videos, your server, etc. it may be time to reach out to a small business marketer for help. They can help guide you with additional tools they have at their disposal to further troubleshoot your website and improve performance.

Page speed is definitely an issue you should pay attention to on your small business website. Understanding what it is, how it impacts SEO, and how to improve it will help your small business attract and keep more traffic to your website.

Patty Hughes
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