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Can snail websites lose out in Google?

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    We’ve all had the experience of landing on a website with slow loading speeds. When browsing, every second counts in this fast paced age of instant information.

    For most web users, speed is one of the most important factors on whether they will stay on a page or not, other than content. The consequences of a slow loading site can be serious, with most users choosing to navigate away after 3 or 4 seconds. Site speed optimisers, strangeloop.net say that over half of all visitors will abandon a page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load, and a whopping 80% of these will not return, and just to add a little more pain – half of those people will tell others about their negative experience.

    If you have an e-commerce site, it’s all the more important to speed things up. Amazon claims that for every 100 milliseconds of load time improvement, their revenue increases by 1%.

    What can slow your website down?

    There are many factors involved in a website’s speed. A few that the impatient won’t stand for include:

    • Slow loading images. Especially if they compromise the structure of the site while loading. Make sure your images are reduced in size and the code specifies the height and width.
    • Database driven shopping carts. If your database hasn’t been organised to cope with growth, then it could be getting fat and slow. When a user requests information, too many processes or routines have to run to return a result.
    • Coding errors. Lots of errors or messy coding can force the browser to take more time figuring out what your page is meant to look like. Ditto with tables and nested tables for your site’s structure.
    • Accessibility. If your developer has coded the site without testing in different browsers, this could be a stumbling block. Firefox users won’t wait around for your page to load if a feature is only meant to work in Internet Explorer.

    page speed google 1

    What can you do about it?

    Hopefully your site won’t have too many issues slowing it down. You can test this by visiting Google’s page speed tool https://pagespeed.googlelabs.com to see what the most important issues are, and what you can fix easily. It might require a call to your developer or SEO professional, but if there are significant changes in speed to be made, then it will be well worth it to your customers.

    Google vs. Customers

    Google announced a while ago that site speed would likely be introduced to the algorithm as a ranking factor, however how much weight it has isn’t likely to be large. Armed with this knowledge, it is still a good idea to run a technical SEO audit your site for speed if the result will please the Googlebots and your customers at the same time.

    The biggest benefits from having a speedy website is that the customer experience will be more pleasant, and lead to return visits and sales, and a referral or two. Don’t forget that these days, your website is the ‘face’ of your company or business and customer service shouldn’t stop at the front door.

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