Slow loading website pages can be an SEO challenge.
In today’s fast-paced world, 40% of internet users will abandon any website that takes more than three seconds to load, according to Kissmetrics. Typically, such visitors will look for the information that they needed from your website elsewhere. Other than this being a surprising percentage, the effects that slow load time has on your SEO efforts should be an issue of concern.
Since 2010, Google started including site speed as a metric for ranking websites. The goal was to not only make the sites user-friendly but also reduce the extra bandwidth that inefficient websites tend to need. If you find that your site takes too long to load, then it might be ample time to look into WordPress speed optimization.
Here is why you should concentrate on increasing website speed and how to do it best:
Site speed and bounce rates
Bounce rate is the percentage of times that users who have barely interacted with a single page on your website leave it. A site with a high percentage is perceived by search engines as an inefficient website with the impaired user experience. Furthermore, a lot of people will leave your website in search for one that offers them the information they need faster. As such, the higher your bounce rates are, the lower the chances of ranking highly on SERPs.
Slow pages and indexation
Slow pages also affect how well Google can index the different pages on your website. If it takes Google a number of days to index your pages, the chances are that these pages will suffer rank wise. On the flip side, it takes Google bots less time to crawl through a fast website and rank the various pages on the website.
This is especially true since search engines can optimally use the crawl budget for a fast loading site to download and rank more pages. Large websites can enjoy better organic traffic from their site speed while news website can have most of their latest pieces at the top of SERPs. As for e-commerce websites that typically have a diversity of duplicate content and products, a faster indexation of the pages improves visibility.
Slow page speed and conversion rates
Site speed affects the bottom line in simple ways. First of all, if your site gets ranked low on SERPs, the chances of a visitor finding a page are quite low. In fact, 75% of internet users might not even click past the first result page of Google. With less web traffic comes reduced conversion rates.
On the point about site indexation, slow site pages take longer to be indexed. For e-commerce websites, such pages are somewhat invisible to the customer when searching through different search engines, lowering the chances of a conversion.
What contributes to slow loading sites?
Slow page load times can be influenced by a bevvy of factors. Once you identify the culprit for your website, it becomes easier to circumvent the issue. Here are five aspects that will slow down your website:
Your choice of web host
Your hosting company and the servers that they use for hosting your website has a pivotal role to play in improving the speed of your website. If they fail to allocate enough resources to service your database needs, then it will take long to load any information to reach your site’s visitors. When picking between hosting plans, therefore, opt for one that suits the needs of your website.
Additionally, you should opt for a dedicated server- instead of a shared one- in case you have a huge database. It is also wise to use cloud-based hosting services if your website has high traffic levels or experiences spikes in traffic during peak season. This will allow you enough flexibility to switch to a better solution in times of peak traffic.
Uptime should also be a key consideration when picking websites to work with. A site with an uptime of 99.5% and higher is ideal for ensuring that visitors always have access to your website. You can work with a WordPress speed optimization service provider to offer you insights on how to pick the best host.
Plugins and widgets
Plugins and widgets are user experience boosters for most websites. Sadly, they might be the culprit behind your slow loading website. As you add more plugins into your website, it might take more time to load every single page since your site will need to access more files.
Since you cannot do away with the plugins completely, choose quality plugins from reputable sources. Additionally, work with the latest versions as most of them have bugs eliminated from them.
The trick is eliminating all the unnecessary parts of the lines of code. While you can manually eliminate these speed killers, you should consider using specific WordPress speed optimization tools that help ‘minify’ these files.
The location of your server
It will take a person in Thailand longer to receive content from a server in the US than for someone in San Francisco. Although the difference in time for site load speed for both people is only but a few seconds, it can affect user satisfaction levels. The best option would be to bring the servers close to the typical user, which is a role best played by CDNs (content delivery networks).
At their core, they are networks of servers spread all over the globe to improve the delivery of information to the site visitor. This way, it will act as though the person is looking for information that is right within their location.
Images play a key role in speed optimization for SEO as well as improving the effectiveness of your website. For instance, images on a hotel website help to tell visitors more about the experience that they should expect once they visit the hotel physically. Sadly, images that are too big or too detailed will also affect the load speed of your site.
It might take longer for these images to load, which often leads to high bounce rates. The trick is to use quality images while trying to reduce their size. Ideally, you should compress your images before uploading them to your site.
Read this: Why Image optimization is important for SEO
Use Google Page Speed Insights for speed tests
If you aren’t sure about how well your website is performing speed wise, you should consider using the different sites that can help you determine why your site might be lagging for free. Google Page Speed Insights tends to offer both metrics for measuring performance as well as insights on how to improve the site.
Simply paste a link of one of your website’s pages and wait for them to analyze the performance of your website. Once you identify the issues, consider working with a WordPress speed optimization service provider to tweak your site accordingly.
Your site visitors need to access all the information they need from your website within the snap of a finger. The faster your site is, the more attractive it looks, not to mention that it will rank high. Consider the tips above to improve your site’s user experience.