- Consumers expect ≈ and apps to react quickly. Every second of delay can cost $ 100,000 in lost sales to brands.
- There are tools that can help you better understand the overall speed of a page. A look at the relationship between page speed and SEO ranking shows that a higher performing website / page has a positive, albeit small, effect on the ranking.
- As marketers look for additional data points on why they should prioritize page speed, Jason Tabeling highlights the data and how it fits into an overall SEO strategy.
The saying goes: "Speed Kills". However, when it comes to digital speed, it really says "slow speed kills". According to a study by Google and Deloitte, if your page speed improves, your conversion rates can increase by 8% every 0.1 seconds. This data point creates a pretty powerful business case to improve the performance of your website. Think of this data point from your own experience while surfing the web, on mobile devices, and on the desktop. Have you ever found that a page was loading too slowly to move on to something else, or that that brand was losing sales? I know I have.
So we know that speed improves page performance, but how does it affect SEO rankings? I looked at a small data set to get a feel for the impact that page speed has on ranking. I used 10 retail and conversion based keywords and ran the specific websites through the Google Page Speed Test consider the correlation between speed and rank. This dataset provides a good directional study of the impact. Here's what I found;
Rank and page speed are only slightly correlated
If you create a scatter plot of each website's rank versus page speed, it shows the distribution. The data shows a relationship between speed and rank. The correlation of the data suggests that there is only a 0.08 correlation. A correlation of 1 would be perfectly correlated. So this score isn't very high, but there is a correlation. If you are looking for an edge and you know that the impact of speed on conversion rates is very significant. The way to predict the impact is to use the trendline and its slope. If you remember your algebra class, you can use this data to build the equation of a line and estimate how fast your page needs to be to get a certain rank. Using this equation, you can see that every 10 points of additional speed is roughly one-tenth of a point of rank improvement. So switching from a speed of 10 equals a rank of 5.3, but a page speed of 100 equals a rank of 4.4. This doesn't seem like a big deal, but keep in mind that speed improves conversion rates dramatically, and it also has a positive impact on rank.
What action should you take?
Here is an overview of a few steps you can take to optimize your speed.
1. Improve your page speed
Brands have many ways to increase their page speed. Perhaps the most surprising thing was how many websites had very slow rankings. Look at the data in the histogram below. 56% of the page speed values came back to <20. That's quite remarkable considering that this study includes some very well-known brands. There are so many ways to improve page speed and the Google tool, and many others offer incremental steps to improve. If this tool or any other tool doesn't get your website up and running, this is what you should do to get started. https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/feature/testmysite/
2. Remember that speed is important, but it is just one of many factors that affect SEO ranking
While this article is about speed, it should be clear that SEO has many more key elements that affect rank and overall results than speed. SEO is a holistic strategy that includes content and technical resources. You can't forget how well received your content by your audience, how fresh it is, and how well the search engine spiders can crawl and understand your website. So many companies are embroiled in the re-platforming of their ecommerce platform and never spent a minute thinking about their SEO strategy.