Less than one month into 2012 and Google are already showing their intent to continue to provide a better user experience for people searching online. The speed at which a web-page loads has recently been given more weight as a ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm.
For obvious reasons, visitors to a website are going to have a far better user experience if the page they are visiting loads quickly. Load speed has been seen as a major factor in bounce rate (the number of people giving up with your site and hitting the “back” button), as well as conversions. With the growth of mobile search in the past 12 months, ensuring your load speed is up to scratch is essential to maintaining high search rankings. Here’s a quick checklist to make sure a slow loading website doesn’t slow down your SEO:
- Web server speed – if you are with a reliable web host you should have no problems. Not all hosting companies are the same and you generally get what you pay for. How many people are visiting your site at one time? If you are expecting a lot of traffic to your site, you are going to need to be hosted on a server that can handle all the traffic.
- Site structure and Database usage – A static page will load much quicker than a page that is pulling in content form lots of different databases. If you do need to use databases, try to consolidate them as much as you can.
- Page size – How big is your web page? The code used, programming language, number of images per page, size of image and video files all contribute to the total size of your web page. The bigger it is, the longer it will take to load. Having a good SEO company behind you optimizing your code and content will help your landing pages load quicker.
Having a site that loads quickly will not only help with your SEO efforts but will also reduce bounce rates and potentially improve your conversion rate.
Image credit Mihael.Mafy on Flickr