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Site Speed and How it Affects SEO

Organic visibility is everything nowadays.

Visibility is essential to the success of any business online, and although there are a lot of ways that you can pay to make your business visible online, your long-term success depends on your organic visibility.

Organic visibility, which is earned through SEO (search engine optimization), means ranking on page one for relevant search terms without having to pay an arm and a leg for ads. When you have organic visibility, every click is a free lead.

These days, when someone searches online for a business or a product, the chances of them looking past the first few listings are small, and the chance of them looking past the first page is practically nonexistent. This means that if you’re not on page one of the SERP (search engine results pages), your business may as well not exist online at all.

There are so many things that can impact the SEO of your website and your organic rankings online, from the relevancy of your keywords to the frequency at which you publish new content. But there’s one thing that’s often overlooked — site speed!

The Many Ways Site Speed Impacts SEO

#1. Google uses site speed as a ranking factor.

How do we know that site speed plays a role in how Google ranks businesses? They’ve told us (and the rest of the world) time and time again that faster websites rank better than slower ones!

Google has been using site speed as a metric in search rankings for desktop searches for almost a decade, and in 2018, it released “The Speed Update,” which also made site speed a factor in mobile searches as well.

#2. Faster sites have better crawl budgets.

Your crawl budget is the number of pages on your website that will be crawled by Google on any given day. Although your crawl budget will vary slightly from day to day, it should be relatively stable overall, and there are a number of things that can affect it, including how healthy your site is, how many links there are to your site, and the size of your site, just to name a few.

Unfortunately, Google doesn’t crawl every page of a site right away. To the disappointment of many SEO experts, a new landing page could take weeks to get indexed, which can undermine their efforts.

There is good news, however. Your crawl budget is not out of your control, and there are lots of things you can do to improve it, including reducing the number of errors on your website, earning more links, and improving site speed.

The bottom line is that, if a site has a fast server, the Googlebot will be able to crawl it more often and to crawl more pages when it does.

#3. Slower sites have higher bounce rates.

These days, instant gratification is the name of the game, and that has made a lot of people a lot less patient. People have simply gotten used to websites loading in seconds, and if yours takes a bit longer, chances are, a lot of people won’t stick around.

The fact of the matter is that there’s a lot of competition online, so if your website takes too long to load, people won’t hesitate to look elsewhere, which could cost you customers and hurt your organic rankings.

Your bounce rate is the rate at which visitors come to your website and then immediately click away. If your website is too slow, you’ll find that fewer and fewer people will be willing to wait around for it, and that will hurt your bounce rate.

Google’s goal is to provide its users with the best search results for their queries. So, if a website has a high bounce rate, to Google, it means that it isn’t satisfying the search query or answering the question, and that can affect its ranking in the SERP.

#4. A better site speed makes for a better user experience.

The speed at which your site loads has a direct impact on the kind of experience you provide for your users.

Not only are people impatient and unlikely to wait around for a slow site to load, but when your website loads quickly, it also allows them to get the information they need right away, and it will make it easy for them to navigate between pages. This can lead to an increase in conversions, as well as an increase in the total number of pages visited by each user.

The better the experience, the more likely your users will be to come back to your website again and again, which gives you more opportunities to make a sale.

At the end of the day, Google is all about providing its users with the best possible experience. And, if you can prove to Google that your website does that, you’ll see an improvement in your organic rankings.

How do you determine site speed?

Site speed affects SEO in so many ways, and although, it’s not the only metric Google looks at, it’s certainly an important one to keep in mind when building your own website with the Websites 360® website builder. But, before you start taking steps to make your site faster, you need to know where you’re at.

One of the best ways to determine if your website is fast enough or not is by using PageSpeed Insights from Google. Using this tool, Google will analyze your content and generate suggestions for you on how to make it faster.

Understanding the effects of site speed on SEO is important, but it’s also important to know what affects site speed. Stay tuned for my next blog to find out!