Importance Of Page Speed

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** Text version including full references, credits and footnotes **

How Page Speed Helps Your Website

40% of users will abandon a web page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
In 2009, AOL showed that faster page speed can lead to 50% more page views.
A 1-second delay on page load can cause a 7% reduction in sales/conversions.
37% of users get distracted while waiting for a page to load.
‘Page speed’ has been an official ranking factor for your search rankings since 2010.

The average user has no patience for a website that takes too long to load, and understandably so! Slow loading speeds affect the success of your website in three major ways:


Page abandonment:The longer the page loading time, the more users will abandon it instantly.
User experience:For those who stay on, the slow speed heavily affects the user experience, resulting in fewer page views and less sales (conversions).
Google rankings:Google introduced page speed as an official ranking factor in 2010.


1. Page Abandonment

An official study by Google Inc. and Forrester Consulting states that the initial loading time of a website has a major impact on how many visitors instantly abandon the page (bounce rate). While Forrester Consulting showed that 40% of users will abandon a web page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load1, Google further qualified this by stating that an additional 0.5s in loading time actually resulted in 20% less traffic.2

A survey conducted by JupiterResearch further stresses the importance of quick loading times as more than 75% of people stated they would never return back to a website that took longer than 4 seconds to load (irrecoverably lost traffic). Similarly, 64% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with a site’s performance will go somewhere else to shop next time.1

According to StatCounter, more than 20% of all website traffic is coming from mobile devices in 2014, equivalent to a year-on-year increase of 53%12. When browsing the Web, mobile devices often have limited bandwidth and download speeds, which makes the importance of quick loading times all the more important.

Speed Rule No.1   The quicker your page, the fewer will actually abandon it / more will actually remain on it.


2. User Experience

Extensive studies by Amazon, Google, Yahoo and AOL have shown that consumers are easily frustrated by the performance of websites and that an increased page speed yields in significantly more activity per user (in terms of page views/sales). Consequently, lots of potential page views/sales are going down the drain on slower pages just because of a few seconds difference.

In 2009, Akamai Research showed that a 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.1 Amazon went one step further and impressively demonstrated that just 0.1-second (100ms) of extra load time caused a 1% drop in sales5, that’s equivalent to a staggering 10% decrease in sales for every second of extra load time. If you sell $500 per day, that’s an additional $18k per year.

Similarly, Marissa Mayer, former Google VP of Search and User experience, impressively showed that a 30% reduction of the page size of Google Maps also resulted in 30% more requests!2

As further supportive evidence, a study from 2009 showed that up to 37% of users get distracted while waiting for a page to load.1 This is the primary reason for lower conversion rates, and it greatly increased the risk of a belated user drop-out. More hard facts:

In 2009, AOL showed that faster page speed can lead to 50% more page views.6
In 2008, Yahoo showed that increasing speed by 0.4s increased traffic by 9%.7
A study from 2009 showed that for 52% of online shoppers, their loyalty to a site is heavily contingent upon quick page loading (especially for high-spending shoppers).1
In 2009, 57 percent of online shoppers insist on a rapid checkout process, up nearly 10 percent from three years ago.1

Speed Rule No.2   Page speed greatly improves user experience, yielding more page views / sales

3. Google Rankings

Shortly after Google pinpointed the effect of page speed on user experience8, ‘page speed’ was officially announced as a ranking factor for your Google search ranking positions in 2010.9,10

Ever since, having an optimized loading time has helped to give sites an advantage and to achieve better rankings. Furthermore, having an optimized page speed is vital when using Google AdWords to run sponsored ads: A faster loading time will improve the overall ‘landing page experience,’ which is an official factor to calculate the ‘Quality Score’ of your ads.11 Given that, a better ‘quality score’ will reduce your CPC and make your ad expenses more efficient: Either save money while still achieving the same reach, or increase your reach while still spending the same.

Speed Rule No.3   Page speed improves your Google search rankings and AdWords Quality Score


Footnotes
1 http://www.akamai.com/html/about/press/releases/2009/press_091409.html
2 http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9954972-7.html
3 http://www.akamai.com/html/about/press/releases/2006/press_110606.html
4 http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/11/prweb11296475.htm
5 http://www.strangeloopnetworks.com/resources/infographics/web-performance-and-ecommerce/amazon-100ms-faster-1-revenue-increase/
6 http://assets.en.oreilly.com/1/event/29/The%20Secret%20Weapons%20of%20the%20AOL%20Optimization%20Team%20Presentation.pdf
7 http://www.slideshare.net/stoyan/yslow-20-presentation?smtNoRedir=1
8 http://googleresearch.blogspot.co.uk/2009/06/speed-matters.html
9 http://searchengineland.com/google-now-counts-site-speed-as-ranking-factor-39708
10 http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.co.uk/2010/04/using-site-speed-in-web-search-ranking.html
11 http://adwords.blogspot.co.uk/2008/03/landing-page-load-time-will-soon-be.html
12 http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9244639/Mobile_browser_usage_share_hits_20_for_the_first_time