The beginner’s guide to site speed for SEO
Long loading times on your website are more than just a minor annoyance for your customers.
53% of mobile users won’t wait more than 3 seconds for a site to load and every second that shoppers have to wait after the 3 second loading mark costs them 7% in conversion.
And this problem can start before visitors even have a chance to reach conversion or your website. Site speed is one of the factors Google considers in their ranking algorithm. So if your site has slow loading times, fewer people will even reach your website. Potential customers coming from search could end up visiting one of your competitors instead and it may just be the competitor who decided to pay attention to site speed.
Never forget — the average mobile site takes 15 seconds to load. So, chances are, your site speed has probably already been negatively affecting your business in terms of SEO and conversion.
To help you clean this up, we’ve rounded up some factors to consider that can help you improve your site speed.
Diagnosing your site speed
First things first. If you aren’t sure of your current speed, Page Speed Insights by Google is a great way to test your site speed and see where you are currently. Once you do this, you can figure out where to make changes to get that load time even shorter.
In short, it’s a Google Chrome extension that will quickly give you your PageSpeed score. You’ll also be directed to some insights with further stats to help you understand the score.
How can you improve your site speed?
Minimize and simplify redirects
Redirects on your website are a great thing if you’ve ever had to de-index pages on your site. They help you guide your visitors where you need them to be, to find the information they want.
But if you have too many redirects, this can significantly impact your site speed. Look into your redirects and make the number of steps to the correct URL as short as you can, while still guiding your visitor where they need to be.
Resize your images
Are your images compressed for the web? Size and format can both affect site speed so make sure they are as small as they can be. If you have .png images you may be able to switch them to compressed .jpg images to help speed up your site.
Image sprites in CSS may also be able to help. If you have a lot of different image files on your site (and each need to load individually) it may be easier to use a sprite to send them all to your site as a single image. There are quite a few free tools to help you easily do this.
Look into using Content Delivery Networks, also known as CDNs
Content delivery networks (CDNs) make data load faster because they use a group of servers that are located in different geographical locations. Wherever a user is, their pages will load from the server that is physically closest to where they are. This helps your load times decrease significantly. If your load times are higher than you want them to be and the other fixes aren’t working for you, this might be worth exploring for your site.
Make sure your third party apps aren't slowing you down
There are a large number of eCommerce technologies that you can use on your site to make the experience easier, and more efficient for your customers. The problem is that these sites often need to fetch a lot of data, which can significantly decrease your site speed.
This isn’t dependent on your eCommerce platform, either. If a third party has a negative impact on site speed, it will do so regardless of which platform you’re on.
That’s why it’s important to look into which third parties you’re working with and check how they’re ranked on site speed performance. Yottaa, an optimization tool for eCommerce sites, puts together this report each year, which lets you look at the top players in eCommerce and see how working with them will affect your site.
It’s great to have handy when you’re looking for a new eCommerce solution and you want to check their speed performance.
Do reviews affect site speed?
Because customer reviews tend to be part of such a large scale database, they can be pretty bad offenders in terms of slowing down site speed. As you can see, most of the review platforms available have either an inconsistent negative performance impact (yellow) or a consistent negative impact on performance (red).
Fortunately, collecting and displaying reviews with Trustpilot has little to no negative impact on your site speed.
In fact, this year we were the only customer review platform ranked as having little or no performance impact (green) on your site speed in Yottaa’s roundup.
When you improve your site speed, your SEO is sure to thank you
Let’s flashback to that stat from the beginning for a second: Every second that site visitors have to wait after the 3 second loading mark can cost you 7% in conversions. This means that, chances are, your current load time is high enough that it’s causing you to lose out on would-be customers.
The bright side is that some of these changes are really easy to implement on your site.
Go ahead and look into your site speed today so you can start seeing the benefits of higher conversion rates on your site. And while you’re at it, if you’re looking to increase conversions on your site, displaying Trustpilot reviews is a great way to boost conversions without dinging your site speed.
So if you aren’t already collecting reviews with us, why not start today?
To learn more about everything you can do with reviews, get your free copy of The Complete Guide to Reviews below.