Search engine optimization is a very complex marketing tool that involves several factors for it to be successful. You have a very appealing website with well organized structure and amazing graphics, substantial content and quality links but these are not the only essential factors. There are several other elements that need to be considered and among them is page loading time.
Page load time is the length of time it takes a website to load or display a web page to a viewer. It is a very important factor when it comes to SEO especially after Google made an update on their search ranking algorithms back in 2010 where they included site speed as a benchmark for site rankings. The main purpose for such an update was to provide a better user experience and increase the overall quality of the web.
If you are currently running a website and have not yet considered this factor, you better start! Several studies have revealed that most web users are not patient when searching. Thus, when they come across a website that loads slowly, they leave the page and search for others sources. In fact, about 47% of users expect a page to load within two seconds. If it goes beyond that, you are looking at a 40% user abandonment rate and every second delay in loading time reduces the conversion rate by 7%! This certainly needs to be given special attention as it greatly affects your search engine optimization marketing strategy.
Here are some simple tips you can do to improve your loading time:
1. Simplify your website. Do not over stuff it with unnecessary plug-ins and scripts that take long to load. Keep only what is essential and useful for both your users and your business.
2. Optimize your codes. Make sure that you have well written HTML tags. It is important to perform streamlining of all your codes, scripts and database calls. You can use W3C HTML Validator to check validity of your codes and Pingdom and Google’s PageSpeed Tools to check the performance of dynamic pages based on database calls.
3. Reduce the size of your images and optimize it. You can lower the resolution to acceptable levels or crop out unnecessary parts of the image. Among the existing image formats, JPG is the best when it comes to loading time because JPG images are compressed to the smallest possible sizes. However you can also use GIF images for logos and graphics with few colors and PNG images for high quality transparent graphics.
4. Compress your files. You may use File Deflation or GZIP compression to reduce the size of data that must be sent from the server to the viewer, reducing the page loading time.
First and foremost, a website is created to provide a better user experience through the useful information provided. It is there not only to boost marketing strategy but to make the life of customers a lot easier. Thus, if your website takes a few more seconds to load than your competitors, you are not providing your visitors the best experience, increasing your chances of losing potential customers. Always keep in mind that when it comes to SEO marketing, every page loading second counts!