Lady on race track | Website Speed and SEO | Melissa Merriam Online Marketing Consultant

Why Optimize Web Site Speed to increase Site Rankings

Technology reflects people’s needs and choices that decrease degradation and advances performance.

No one likes to stand in long line ups or wait for food at restaurants when they have a busy day ahead — this applies to site engines too (where millions of sites are competing for limited attention spans).

Site functionality, speed impacts site visibility and rankings. And though it may not directly correlate but it is an important SEO tool.

For Google, Speed Matters

Back in 2010, Google announced that it would consider site speed as one of its criteria to evaluate and rank site engines during searches. The aim was to send out a clear message that slow loading web sites translate to negative user experiences – and obviously, this does not bode well for a search engine that prides itself in filtering the best results.

In 2011, Google announced a Speed Online Tool that can be used by online businesses to analyze online performance for web pages and make them faster.

Some of the factors that Google uses to rank web sites on searches include the date, authenticity and relevance of the web site (outdated links and errors are phased out) and keyword-rich content, and many other factors.

With the onus on site speed and optimal performance, mobile sites that are not responsive and have poor speed will be penalized.

It is estimated that the ideal page load time for web sites is three seconds or less, and even a four to five second delay can cause high-performance web sites to lose traction. For an online retailer, a one-second delay undercuts sales by 7%.

The Finer Picture

In a study* conducted by Moz and Zoompf, results show that there are no straightforward correlations between the speed at which a document impartially or fully loads and the search engine ranking. There is, however, a distinct connection between server response times, also known as time to first byte (TTFB) and search ranking. In other words, a higher TTFB means a lower site ranking.

In the end, cutting corners will not get you anywhere. The best strategy is to understand what will work best and follow best practices.

Web site optimization thrives on speed and reliability, and it is important to maintain these factors, while at the same time aim for a holistic and positive user experience and not compromise on the depth, complexity and the quality of the content that you want to get across to your users.

Implement the Proper Site Strategies

Increasing site speed depends on everything from finding the right host to achieving robust back-end functions for the web site, apart from optimizing databases and measuring TTFB with many tools, even contrasting it to the TTFB of your competitor.  Try using this tool:

  • When diagnosing and solving TTFB problems, try and find out the reason why TTFB is high.
  • Check the server response time, the connection time, the CMS configuration and specific server performance related problems to narrow your search.
  • Leverage Browser Caching- Allows your web pages to load faster. Not all pages are created equal some are larger than others. Web pages include HTML, CSS, javascript and images. This lowers the page load time for repeat visitors to your site and stores files from your website on their browsers.

  • Optimize image – if the images on your website are too large, this will affect page load time. Compress images for your site.
  • Minimize redirects- Wen you have one page redirect to another page this lowers the page speed load time. Here is an example of a redirect: “ ->

In the end, it is important to aim at an overall positive user experience and site speed is a direct, reflection of a better user experience.