If you’ve studied search engine optimization, you must have read that the speed of a website can affect its rankings.

You are probably also aware of the fact that, search engines rank sites based on more than 200 factors.

What is not exactly clear is the weight of those factors compared to each other, and the importance of speed in this equation.

Therefore, you might wonder, which is the best direction, when it comes to optimizing your site for search engines.

Should you devote resources to making your site load faster, or your money is better spent elsewhere?

Won’t a great viral marketing campaign take you further, then a 2-second reduction in page load times?

Well, of course, there are no easy answers to these questions, but we strongly believe that speed is one of the most important ranking factors.

And we’re not alone with this opinion.

Backlinko and Link Assistant have also referred to site speed as one of the most significant ranking factors in their recent studies.

Every second counts

A faster website can have several advantages, and the greater ranking potential is only one of them.

If you reduce your website’s page load speed, you can provide a better experience for your visitors, and increase your conversion rates as well.

Several case studies have been published about these effects recently.

One of the largest Chinese e-commerce sites, AliExpress, for example, was able to increase the conversion rates of new customers with 27 percent, after they had reduced their page load time by 36 percent.

And the customers of Mobify, the Canadian mobile shopping platform, were able to lift in session based conversion with 1.55 percent for every 100 ms decrease in their checkout page load speed.

The users are willing to wait less and less for the contents of a website to appear in their browser. And they have much higher expectations about page load speed since mobile web browsing became popular.

Ericsson Mobility analyzed the relationship between heart rate levels and website speed in 2016. According to their findings, website loading delays lead to a 38% increase in heart rate, on average.

After Ericcson compared these results, to other activities that could affect heart rate, they discovered that

slow loading pages can increase heart rate even more, then watching a horror movie would.

In the light of Ericsson’s recent discovery, it would be hard to deny that website speed has a strong effect on the experience (and life expectancy) of the users.

Of course, the impression your website makes on your visitors also influences the majority of Google’s ranking factors.

After all, your visitors are far more likely to share your content on social media or link to your site, if they had a good experience...

How to overtake on the informational superhighway?

Unlike many other ranking factors, your website speed depends only on you.

While you have to rely on luck, and the goodwill of other people, if you’d like to increase the number of links pointing to your site, it is not the case, if you’d like to make your website faster.

Every element that influences page load speed is well known, and there are plenty of free apps that can help you to optimize your site’s performance.

One of those apps is Google Speed Insights, which gives you practical tips on boosting site speed. It’s very likely that you could improve your rankings, just by following the applications tips about your website.

Although the contents of a site ideally appear in the browsers in just a few seconds, this is the result of a complex process, that has several distinct steps.  

Download speed is highly affected by the source code and the structure of your site, and these are the areas, that Page Speed Insights can help you to improve.

The more you’re able to optimize your site’s performance based on those tips, the easier it will be for your servers to handle the requests from your visitors.

But these are not the only factors, that play an important role in your site’s speed.

Your servers location, settings, and load can also influence, how long your visitors, will have to wait for your contents.

Even a highly optimized site can become sluggish, if its server is making a backup copy of its posts instead of serving visitors, or doesn’t have a sufficient upload speed.

So if you’d like to make sure, that your visitors can reach your contents as quickly as possible, you should also ensure, that your server is constantly available, and its speed is satisfactory.

There are several applications that can help you to analyze your server’s performance. WebyMon, for example, can inform you about the uptime, and the response time of your servers, on a day-to-day basis.

And if you’re able to optimize these two components that we discussed; the source code, and your server’s performance, you won’t have to worry about your site speed anymore.

Which, according to our research and experience, will provide a competitive advantage for your company.