How long do you wait for a website to load before losing interest? You might think you give it some time, but statistics show that most of us don’t wait for more than 2 seconds. Website visitors have gotten accustomed to a fast-paced user experience, and won’t accommodate anything less.

But beyond impatient internet users, why is website speed so important for SEO?

The Importance of Website Speed for SEO and Visitors

1.It determines first impression

Your first impression to new visitors is the quality of your user experience. If your website loads slowly, people immediately make unconscious assumptions that your business doesn’t maintain its website. If a visitor already thinks you’re unreliable, then they won’t trust you to take action.

2. It reduces conversion rates

It’s hard to keep your conversion rates up when your potential users leave before any page opens. This can cause a drastic reduction in your conversion numbers, whether for signups, sales, or downloads.

3. Long-term SEO effect

Important aspects of SEO are backlinks from authority websites, online reviews, and recommendations from users. If more than half of your potential users have been driven off by slow load speed, you’re halfway less likely to get any of these. The users who stick around (if they really need what you’re offering) will not be quick to recommend you. Nobody wants to be the one to send their followers and subscribers to a website with a frustrating user experience.

4. Google and other search rankings

Google has a self-professed love for speed. They have indicated that Google will send fewer crawlers to your website if it takes more than two seconds to load. This means that your website will rank lower (or not at all) even if it’s a relevant result to a query.

It takes a while for Google to identify a slow website, but the immediate results can be a plummet in traffic numbers.

How to Optimize Website Speed

With all the negative impacts of slow website speed in mind, here are a few ways to ensure that your website is always at its best performance.

1. Hardware

Sometimes shared hosting, which is very common, is all you need, but there are also cost effective ways to have much more powerful server infrastructure than having your website shared with thousands of others. We love Digital Ocean’s VPS service, as well as their content delivery network.

2. Reduce HTTP requests

HTTP requests are logged each time a browser requires any file from a web server. These requests account for up to 80% of your web page load time. This means that with each request made, your website slows down a bit more. A typical way to reduce these is to combine scripts into a single, compressed and minified file.

3. Browser Caching

With browser caching, files uploaded to your website can be downloaded to a hard drive. The files are transferred into a cache or another temporary storage space. When those assets are stored locally on your system, they free up cache space and pages can load faster.

4. Compress Images & Optimise Files

Remove all images that add no value to your website. Every extra kb matters. This includes icons, vectors, imported fonts, and others. Also, instead of importing images with texts, you can replicate them on your website with CSS.

There are many other ways to give an existing or new website a speed boost, including CDNs, Google AMP, Server/Database caching, load balancing and more. Here our intention is to give a brief overview rather than go in depth on some of the more complicated methods. For larger sites we’ve often left no stone un-turned in the quest for ultimate speed.

To keep your website at its best performance, conduct speed tests regularly on your website’s load time. Some of the best tools for this include GTMetrix, Google PageSpeed Insights, and Pingdom Tools.


Michael Latham

Michael Latham

Michael is the founder of EncodeMK and lives in Milton Keynes.