Since 2010, Google has included page speed among the most important signals determining a website’s search ranking. Page speed is the wait-time for your site to load that visitors have to endure. On average, eCommerce websites take about 7 seconds to load; the optimal time is around 3 seconds or less.
In this competitive market, where engaging customers to make sales is the top priority, it is crystal clear that if your page speed is mediocre both your traffic and your conversions will suffer.
One survey revealed that 47% of consumers expect websites to load in two seconds or less, and that 40% will abandon a page that takes three or more seconds to load. The same survey revealed that 79% of customers would not return to a site with poor performance. Even a one-second delay in page load time can result in negative results:
The faster your page speed, the higher your website will be ranked in Google SERPs—which is important, since many customers will never go beyond the very first page of search results. All of the top-ranking sites on Google have the same things in common: well-optimized code designed for speed, great content, and mobile-friendly design.
Google offers a free tool, PageSpeed Insights, that will help you figure out if your website is slow, tell you how slow it is, and give you some ideas about how to make it faster. (If you run your website through PageSpeed Insights and you score 100%, you need not continue reading this article—go get a cup of coffee or take a nap, instead.)
The good news: the PageSpeed tool is easy. Simply open it up and enter your website URL into the bar, then click “Analyze.” The finished test will give you a score and a full report for your site and what might be slowing it down for your customers. The only bad news? A recent update to the PageSpeed insights may have upped the ante for businesses whose scores were previously high.
Google’s dramatic core update to the PageSpeed Insights algorithm in late 2018 sent the digital marketing world into an agitated frenzy (although the update does provide a wealth of new information). The new update, Version 5, uses Lighthouse, one of Google’s speed tools, as its analysis engine and also incorporates field data provided by the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX) into the tool. Lighthouse computes a website’s Performance Score based on the following metrics*.
*Explanations derived from developers.google.com
If one compares their before-and-after scores post-PageSpeed V5 update, it is clear that Google is putting more pressure on websites to focus on delivering faster user experiences while being truly mobile-first. Some of the top directives include:
Having a fast site is essential in 2019 and beyond—not just for ranking well with Google, but for keeping your bottom-line profits high. Your load times can not only influence how easily users can find you in the first place, but also whether they will stay and make a purchase.