Just How Important Is Page Speed To Your Visitors?
The answer to this one depends on what your site does. But first, let’s digress…
Think about your visitors for a moment. You might be asking them to spend money on your website at some stage. But the capital you’re asking them to spend first is their time.
Without knowing it, most web users will quantify the reward a page click might bring versus the time it takes to load that page. They’re figuring out how to spend their capital.
This notion of time as capital becomes more important if you’re asking them to do a lot of clicking. For instance, a jewellery store will want visitors to browse the store, look at many items and then, we hope, buy a lot of them.
An electrician on the other hand, may need only one click. Someone googles, “home electrical safety switches“, finds your page, books a job.
What you see from these two examples is the way people spend their time capital is vastly different. The jewellery store needs speed to keep people clicking. They need people to stay on the site and be happy with the experience of browsing. The electrician can be less concerned with speed because he/she is never going to get a lot of clicks anyway. The person who came for safety switches isn’t likely to be interested in emergency electrician services or air conditioning installation.
Page Speed Is Important For Stores
We’ve established above that page speed is important for stores. How important it really though?
Amazon have the biggest store in the known universe. They get more clicks and more data than anyone. And thankfully for us, they’ve aggregated some data on page speed. What they found was, for every 100ms extra load time, they lost 1% of sales.
Google did a similar experiment. They found that a half second delay decreases clicks and sales by 20%.
Page speed is vitally important to your shopping experience. It will also impact your sales.
Pages speed is also important to our electrician we imagines above. The main difference is the importance of page speed is magnified by the quantities of clicks you require to get a sale.
Just How Important Is Page Speed To SEO?
That’s an interesting question. We’re told, by Google themselves, that page speed is a metric they use to measure site rankings. We know, therefore, that they definitely use it as a factor for ranking websites. They even have a tool for measuring your site speed and optimization.
And therefore we should optimize for it.
But just how important is it, really?
The short answer is, it’s a factor. But not and important factor.
Google aren’t nearly as hung up on page speed as some SEO experts might have you believe. They seem to get hung up on the idea that page speed is important because Google told them so. Without sufficient real world experience they hang onto this belief and perpetuate it. Also, as a measurable metric, it’s something tangible and quantitative for the amateur search engine optimizer to get his/her teeth into. Get a green tick from Google and feel like you’re making a difference!
The truth is, page speed doesn’t matter that much to SEO. For instance, let’s watch Backlinko’s page speed exercise together:
Now, let’s get an opinion from Google:
If you’ve watched those you’ll know that page speed is important. But it’s just one factor among many.
Good SEO balances all the factors that make people come to your page, want to stay on your page, want to come back to your page, and make you want to buy into the product or service being offered. Page speed is an important usability factor (as discussed above) and it’s a somewhat important SEO factor. Don’t get hung up on it. But do make sure your pages aren’t bloated pigs. Remember that Google loves content and sometimes content takes time to load.
How Should You Measure Page Speed?
You know what? The easiest way is to open your website. Was it fast? Slow?
Now try it on someone else’ computer. You want to make sure it’s not loading from your browser’s cache. How did it feel? That’s how it’ll feel for your visitors. If it was slow, do something about it. If it wasn’t, then stop worrying.
Pingdom Website Speed Test
I like this one because it has a node in Australia. Assuming you’re hosting your website in Australia, then you want to measure you site speed in the same location. There are latencies when data travels across the world. This is the reason you want to host in Australia. If you’re testing an Australian website in the US you might find it adds and extra second to page loading times.
Using Pingdom is easy. Just pop your URL into the URL field, select the Sydney test point, and start the test.