When it comes to the web, speed matters.
“These days, even 400 milliseconds — literally the blink of an eye — is too long, as Google engineers have discovered. That barely perceptible delay causes people to search less,” Steve Lohr wrote for TheNew York Times. “People will visit a Web site less often if it is slower than a close competitor by more than 250 milliseconds (a millisecond is a thousandth of a second).”
Site speed is becoming more and more important with increased use and thus conversion is the most obvious benefit. Faster loading pages increase page views and decrease bounce rates which ultimately impact conversions and sales. Site speed also has an indirect impact on rankings because a website consisting of fast loading pages will save massively on crawl budget, resulting in more frequent and deeper crawling, resulting in enhanced indexation and improved SEO.
“The current state of SEO is more than just picking the right keywords and building great backlinks,” said Ryan Cote, project manager with Ballantine Digital, a SEO and social media management company. “Yes, quality content is super important now, but website usability is a factor too and this includes load time. The search engine’s job is to deliver good results for every search query. A website that takes forever to load is frustrating and makes for a poor user experience.”
A reliable web host will help keep your website up and running, which is crucial. If your website goes down for a few days because of hosting issues, Cote pointed out, it’s likely the search engine crawlers are going to notice, and this isn’t a good thing for your rankings. It might not hurt you the first time, but if it happens on a quarterly basis, for example, you’re running a big risk of getting downgraded by the search engines. A reliable web host will also make your website faster compared to a poor web host.
According to an article by Edi Dominic Ifediri on EdiTweaks, there are five ways to improve SEO on a website:
- Having a dedicated IP Address
- Having continuous hosting uptime
- Having better server speed
- Being served by a reputable web provider
- Having a provider that has the same location as the target audience
Off-loading media to a cloud storage solution with a Content Delivery Network can also speed up page load times.
A CDN is essentially a collection of web servers distributed across multiple locations to deliver content to users efficiently and quickly by caching the most served content locally. That gives the website the perception of speed, because the content is cached locally. The web server with the quickest response time is used to deliver the media content.
In the end, improving SEO speed will improve the way people find your company because it will bump your search engine rankings – a point that encouraged Coryon Redd, CEO of Batteries4Less to reconsider his web hosting options. “Getting a good Google ranking,” he said, “is a big deal for any company.”
A ranking, it seems, that could all come down to a millisecond.