People have never liked to wait for things, but in the modern era, our disdain for even the shortest waiting periods has grown to unprecedented levels. This is particularly true of our activities on the internet, where pagespeed (the load time for each page on your website) optimization can divide the companies with successful online operations from those that are bound to fail.
As people wait for a web page to load, their levels of discontentment and frustration tend to rise rapidly. Nobody likes to sit idle, staring at a screen while a loading icon churns away for what seems like an eternity. As we will see below when we discuss “Loss in Traffic,” it really doesn’t take long for people to start getting that restless feeling when staring at an as-yet-unloaded screen.
Even worse, people instantly begin associating their highly negative reactions to poor pagespeed with the company that owns the website. Transferring their feelings, they naturally begin to wonder if the company and its goods and/or services will cause similar disappointment and annoyance.
Beyond its negative impact on visitor satisfaction and customer conversion, poor pagespeed can cause real damage to your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Although the criteria that search engines use to establish their ranked results remains largely a secret, Google has disclosed that pagespeed is a significant ranking factor.
Pagespeed also places a prominent role in the determination of other key search engine ranking metrics such as bounce rate and average time on page. For more information on these metrics, see “High Bounce Rate” below.
Although the average business manager can take a number of steps to improve the average pagespeed of the company website, those that are less technologically inclined may encounter difficulties almost immediately. Because many highly refined pagespeed optimization processes require an expert touch, businesses that want to ensure that they are doing all that they can to improve the load speed of their webpages will want to contract with a reputable digital marketing agency.
So what, exactly, can be done to increase your website’s pagespeed? Executive Digital cofounder and Forbes contributor Charles Kim has identified seven of the biggest issues that stand between you and a website that loads pages instantly:
• Images that are unoptimized
• Embedded media such as off-site video links
• Files that have been minified
• Web hosts that are inefficient
• Flash and other data-consuming background apps
• Overly complex themes and designs
• Overly heavy widget usage
Beyond encouraging visitors to stay on your website and click through to more pages, quick loading times can significantly benefit your SEO results. In the end, it’s all about facilitating and increasing website traffic.
Not unlike cars driving down the freeway, this kind of traffic involves the movement of human beings (and potential buying customers) as they navigate to and around your website. Effective SEO drives traffic to your website by helping it appear at or near the top of relevant Google searches. Effective website design not only aids in SEO results, but keeps visitors on your website (hopefully, until they make a purchase).
If SEO and/or website design problems are affecting the flow of traffic, there should be signs of these problems in your website’s analytical data. In terms of pagespeed, metrics such as bounce rate, loss in traffic, conversion rates, and Core Web Vitals are typically affected.
The pagespeed of your company website can dramatically impact your bounce rate and average time on page. Digital analytics professionals calculate bounce rate by dividing the number of single-page visitor sessions with a zero-second duration by the overall number of page visits on your website.
If you have a large number of zero-second page hits, it means that a large number of people choosing to leave before your page has loaded. Therefore, high bounce rates or extremely short average times on your various website pages are reliable indicators of poor pagespeed.
When a website visitor leaves a page before it has loaded, this results in a loss of traffic to that website. This not only prevents visitors from becoming paying customers but can negatively affect SEO as well. Experts have gauged the acceptable waiting time for a loading page to fall somewhere between 1 and 10 seconds. While a single-second delay feels relatively seamless to most internet users, a 10-second delay generally causes visitors to leave the site before the page can load.
While many businesses regard a sale as their most desirable consumer conversion, conversions can be anything from a request for further information to a pledge to volunteer time. In all cases, low conversion rates can arise as a direct result of poor pagespeed. Like a loss in traffic, a lack of conversions can also damage your SEO efforts.
Launched by Google in 2021, Core Web Vitals have become key factors in the search engine’s ranking process. There are three metrics in the Core Web Vitals set: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
A measure of how long a page takes to load from the user’s point of view, LCP serves as a direct indicator of pagespeed. While they may not assess page load time directly, the other two Core Web Vitals tend to go hand in hand with general pagespeed performance. FID measures how long it takes for a user to successfully interact with your page and CLS measures how visually stable a page remains as it loads.
A top digital marketing agency like Marketing Done Right will tackle pagespeed as part of a more comprehensive SEO optimization campaign.
If you have questions about pagespeed optimization or any other element of the digital marketing process, contact an expert at Cleavland, Ohio’s Marketing Done Right for a free consultation.