How a Slow Website Affects Your SEO

Page speed is probably the purest of SEO factors because addressing loading times improves your rankings, your user experience and your conversion rate too. In the modern world where every millisecond counts, the speed of your website plays a pivotal role in determining its success.

04 Mar 2024

By Rhys

Writen by Rhys

What is SEO

Firstly for anyone that isn’t aware of what SEO is. Search Engine Optimisation is the process of enhancing a website's visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). It involves optimising various elements of a website, such as content, keywords, and meta tags and page speed to make it more attractive to search engines like Google. The goal of SEO is to increase organic (non-paid) traffic to a website by improving its relevance and authority in the eyes of search engines. Effective SEO strategies can drive targeted traffic, boost online visibility, and ultimately, lead to higher conversions and business growth.

What is Page Speed

Page load speed is the time it takes for a page on your website to load. But it's a bit of a catch-all term that really covers the speed of your website in general. Page speed is actually calculated in a few different ways. Here's a breakdown of the different elements that make up a page speed measurement:

  • Time to first byte (TTFB) - This is the length of time to load the very first byte of information on your page. It's usually a good indication of how fast the server loading time is.

  • Time to Interactive (TTI) - Looks at the length of time it takes for a page to load the interactive elements. This is a good way to see if your website is being slowed down by JavaScript.

  • First contentful paint (FCP) - This fairly odd phrase actually refers to the time it takes for the first element of content to load on your website. That could be text, an image (even a background image) or svg.

  • Load time - The load time is the amount of time it takes to fully load a page and all its elements

Let's delve into the intricate relationship between website speed and SEO, exploring how a sluggish website can significantly impact your search engine rankings and overall online visibility.

First Impressions Matter

Imagine this scenario: a potential visitor clicks on a link to your website, eagerly anticipating valuable content or products, only to be greeted by a slow-loading page. Frustration sets in, and within seconds, they hit the back button, venturing off to a competitor's site. This bounce due to poor performance sends a negative signal to search engines, indicating that your website may not be relevant or trustworthy, ultimately leading to lower rankings. One of the most famous case studies on this subject was by Amazon who found that every 100milliseconds in added page load time cost them 1% in sales

Search Engine Algorithms Favour Speed

Search engines, particularly Google, have a user-first approach and continuously refine their algorithms to provide users with the best possible experience. Website speed is one of the key metrics considered by these algorithms when determining search rankings. Google, for instance, introduced site speed as a ranking factor, emphasizing the importance of delivering fast and seamless experiences to users. A slow website may struggle to compete against faster counterparts, losing out on valuable search visibility.

Mobile-Friendly Optimisation

With the widespread adoption of smartphones, mobile devices have become the primary means of accessing the Internet. Google back in 2015 confirmed that the number of Mobile searches overtook computer searches and from that point took on a mobile-first approach. Consequently, search engines prioritise mobile-friendly websites that load quickly on various devices and screen sizes. A slow website not only frustrates mobile users but also fails to meet the criteria set by search engines for mobile optimization, leading to lower rankings in mobile search results.

Impacts on Crawling and Indexing

Search engine crawlers, tasked with indexing and cataloguing web pages, have limited time and resources allocated for each website. A slow website impedes the crawling process, making it challenging for search engines to discover and index your content efficiently. As a result, important pages or updates may go unnoticed, hindering your SEO efforts and diminishing your online visibility.

Loss of Competitive Edge

In today's fiercely competitive digital landscape, every aspect of your online presence matters. A slow website puts you at a distinct disadvantage compared to competitors with faster-loading pages. Users are more likely to choose websites that offer superior speed and performance, leading to a loss of potential customers and revenue. Additionally, competitors with faster websites may outrank you in search results, further exacerbating the impact on your SEO.

Addressing the Need for Speed

Recognising the critical role of website speed in SEO, it's imperative to prioritise optimisation efforts aimed at improving performance. This includes optimising images, leveraging browser caching, minifying code, and utilising content delivery networks (CDNs) to reduce latency. Regular performance monitoring and testing are essential to identify areas for improvement and ensure that your website remains fast and responsive over time.

The speed of your website is a fundamental aspect of your SEO strategy. By prioritising website speed and optimisation, you can not only enhance your SEO efforts but also provide visitors with seamless, engaging experiences that keep them coming back for more.  An old expression in SEO is “content is king” but time is showing that speed truly is king, and it's time to ensure that your website reigns supreme.

If you are looking at your website and feel its page speed is letting you down or even if you're unsure how to check your page speed. Get in touch with the team at FUZE Agency today.

📲 01206 803 999 /⁠