How Site Speed Influences SEO in 2021 & How to Improve it?

Let us start by stating the obvious: Site speed indeed matters a lot for SEO. In fact, it has been so the case for quite a while now.

Even a newbie knows this (should know this), as almost every SEO professionals worth their salt and even Google themselves hammering down this crucial point via tons of articles, forums & representative talks.

But hey, have you ever asked HOW site Speed influences SEO, and to what degree?

As always, we asked the experts, and below have prepared a detailed report on the many ways a site speed metric can impact your SEO efforts.

Come on; let’s get into it;

How site speed influences SEO – what IS Site Speed & why it matters?

Put simply; Site speed is defined as the length of time it takes to display all the contents on a specific page once it’s accessed – the faster, the better. Every page element – be it HTML code, CSS JavaScript, images, videos & a lot more – can affect site speed. In fact, anything that’s even KB-sized can still make a big difference here.

Per kissMetrics, if a site takes longer than 3-2 seconds to load, then over a quarter of its users will tap away for other websites. This affects conversions and SEO too, as load speed is a big determinant for Google SERP rankings.

To explain further this finding, let’s go into detail about the many different ways how site speed influences SEO on a core level;

SEO 101 – the top 5 ways how site speed influences SEO explained!

It is not enough to just assume; we wanted to get empirical evidence on how site speed affect a site’s rankings – here are our findings;

1) Site speed is a major ranking factor (the obvious one)

With the recent Speed Update,” Google just officially made site speed a humongous ranking factor. Sure they said it only affects the slowest sites and not the snappier ones. But they are unquestionably looking at a consistent speed across the board, meaning that pretty soon; you’ll have to have a speedy site to get ranked at all!

Indeed waiting for a site to appear, not being responsive, or even just stuttering causes friction – Friction costs not only time but also money. Studies show that mobile users will kill a page if it doesn’t load in seconds.

This results in lesser conversions, which in turn causes poor user engagements, profits, and of course, a damaged SEO rating.

2) Loading times influence crawling

We saw how crappy page speeds negatively affect users, and obviously, the same also holds true for Google’s indexing crawlers.

It’s crucial they be able to smoothly & quickly roam your sites because, without them, the site won’t even get ranked at all. This can especially be far more problematic if your site has a complex structure in the first place. To ensure smooth crawling, spend time optimizing your site, like cleaning outdated contents, fixing broken redirects & links, etc.

Having good hosting with fast servers helps offer better user experiences and conversion ratings and affects crawl budgets and ratings. The faster the site speed, the more often Google Bots will come to visit you.

3) Better conversions and lower bounce rating

Essentially, SEO aims to make you the” best” in your niche – and naturally. This involves being faster than your competitors. Ideally, a website should load in 2 seconds or less. If not, people WILL click away, never to return.

By offering a faster site speed, you are not only giving a boost to your conversion ratings, but you are also building trust & user loyalty. After all, you yourself know how very frustrating waiting for a website to load can be. Yeah, it definitely is something that you don’t want your own visitors ever to be forced to experience.

64% of mobile users expect a page to load within 4 seconds, while 40% of users exit a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

Simply put, a slow website = far higher bounce rate

4) Site speed enhances the user experience

According to the guys at Ericsson Research, the stress of waiting for a site to load is almost comparable to that of watching a horror movie. So yeah, improving the site speed is bound to make people more than happy. And when they are happy, they’ll enjoy your site more, buy more and come back often.

The boosted engagement means that Google will find your website a brilliant source of results as you offer the” best” when it comes to site quality. Eventually, this will all add up to a superior ranking position.

At the end of the day, it boils down to this: improve your site speed if you want more happy customers and happier search engines.

Improving site speed for a better SEO – the real truth!

Though there are tons of great site speed analyzing tools like Pingdom, Lighthouse, and Google’s own PageSpeed insights out there, true speed optimization is not as simple as getting a good, high enough score on their metrics.

Remember, those tools emulate an ideal testing scenario that often might not exactly reflect a true-life situation; every user is different – from the web connections they use to the devices and browsers they have installed. To get the best results, you need to find who your users are, how they access your site, and what they do once they are there.

Once you get the data, strategize your website speed-boosting efforts better in accordance with them for maximum success.

How to analyze site speed? (With Google Page Speed Insights)

As mentioned, there are tons of tools available to help you analyze your site’s current speed and find ways to improve it further. Chief amongst them, we have “PageSpeed Insights” from the trusted house of Google.

Once installed, just enter your site URL and hit run. In a tiny while, the tool will return a page carrying results regarding the sites’ performance. There will be a score that factors all your site parts & how they fair at the top.

Below that, you will find detailed information about what actually affects your site speed and suggest how you can speed things up. For example, Google will tell you about basic strategies to reduce file size to reduce server calls & boost loading speed. Even better, you’ll get notified as to which changes are high, medium, or low priority.

This, my friend can tell you which steps you need to take first as they’ll have a lot more impact on site speed-boosting than the following ones.

How site speed influences SEO – the Conclusion

As we go onward, though, one thing is clear: optimizing your site speed is highly crucial for the future, as Google continues to reward mobile-friendly, quick loading, and responsive sites with better SEO & high SERP positions.

There are many ways you can improve your site speed. Start by choosing a web hosting that’s known for its speed & high uptime. Keep your site clean and structured, and make sure that all the Multimedia files are not too big, or better yet, compress them for faster loading. Always be on the lookout for improvement.  

Don’t forget, with Google or users. You won’t have a second chance of impressing them: Speed is where everything starts.

Abhishek Jain

Abhishek is an SEO Expert with extensive 7+ years of experience. He helps businesses to build their brand and get leads through the Internet without spending anything on Facebook and anything on Google.