Improve SEO and sales by decreasing page latency

  • May 6, 2016

Google and other search engines use a wide array of factors to determine the order of search of results, which are typically centered on the websites content (titles, headers, the text, the URL, use of keywords, etc.) Google also takes into consideration a websites loading time when it ranks results, leaving the standards of “site speed” ambiguous yet also extremely important to a websites outreach and success.

One of the biggest influences in a pages load time is the size of the page measured in bytes. Since images are the top offender when it comes to total page size, there’s a definite correlation between images and and page-load times. Interestingly enough, typical web pages can credit 65% of their overall page size to images. Web developers traditionally spend time trimming their page size in ways such as minimizing JavaScript and CSS file sizes to decrease page load times. There’s a challenge of having a baseline reference so page-loading improvements can be measured, which isn’t due to a lack of effort on the developers part but a lack of helpful tools.

With the various ways of analyzing a page’s load time, where should one begin in optimizing their website to increase their outreach through higher search rankings? Research shows that the metric “time to first byte” (TTFB), which is a measurement of how long a users browser receives the first byte from the webserver in response to a request, is the factor surrounding page loading times that Google pays closest attention to. So, just how much does TTFB impact search results? After evaluating over 100,000 pages from 2,000 different search queries, research from MOZ has shown that a difference of only .1 second in loading time can be a determining factor in your website being pushed back to the dreaded second page of search results.

Other than having Google kick your site to the curb, higher page latency has been shown to impact business in other important ways:

  • Studies from show that every .1 second your page takes to load you lose 1% in sales.
  • The likelihood of cart abandonment and low user retention have been shown to increase with longer page-loading times.
  • 40% of users will abandon your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds for a page to load.

So, what does this all mean?

Clearly, the speed at which a page loads affects a sites ability to retain users and convert that traffic into sales. Despite what many think, it’s the back-end infrastructure of a website that can impact the delivery of the first byte at an optimized level. Since TTFB is the metric that appears to be related to higher search rankings, the network latency measured by TTFB is the your focal point for improvement. In addition to being an all-in-one image management system, our team at SwiftPic boasts the added benefit of providing you with a content distribution network (CDN) to take advantage of. When your sites images are delivered to your users through our CDN, network latency is significantly reduced due to the advantage of spreading your page content geographically. With SwiftPic, that pesky TTFB metric that Google crawlers are watching for becomes one less headache for you.

Start measuring your site alongside your competitors with a tool like WebPageTest to see where you can improve your page latency.

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