In order to help users find answers faster on the web, last year Google included page speed as a major ranking factor in mobile searches. Now, recent data show that Google’s relentless effort to optimize the users’ experience is starting to pay off.
The change significantly altered the search results, favoring the optimized websites in rankings and rewarding the efforts of those who tried to focus on delivering the best user experience possible.
Although many publishers and website owners complained that Google’s algorithm penalizes the worst performing sites, it is not a matter of penalties as it is of reward for sites that improved their performance.
The results are palpable: for the slowest one-third of traffic, the user-centric performance metrics improve by 15% to 20% in 2018. As a comparison, no improvement was seen in 2017.
There were noticeable improvements across the whole web ecosystem. Google notes that on a per country basis, more than 95% of countries had improved speeds.
When a page is slow to load, users are more likely to abandon the navigation. Thanks to the increase navigation speed, there was a 20% reduction in abandonment rate for navigations initiated from Search, a metric that site owners can now also measure via the Network Error Logging API available in Chrome.
Lar year alone, developers ran over a billion PageSpeed Insights audits to identify performance optimization opportunities for over 200 million unique URLs.
Why is it important for marketers and website owners to improve their website’s performance?
On top of the obvious SEO ranking benefits, a faster website means a more customer-centric approach and a better user experience.
Speed is of the essence in today’s digital world, and slow website will undoubtedly lead to a high exit and bounce rate.
User retention is (or should be) on the top of the priorities list of every digital organization. Returning users are what drive the business forward, and it is far more likely to convince a new user to come back to your site if you provide a fast and pleasant experience.
We’ve seen how big companies, such as Adobe, Microsoft, and Google focus on creating the most delightful user experience possible, under all of its forms, speed included.
The customer is the heart of a modern business. Google, with the new algorithms, is trying to validate businesses from the customers’ perspective, in order to provide search results that display websites that are most likely to satisfy all of the users’ demands.
The more relevant a website is to the search engine, the higher chance it will occur in the top positions of the search results. And this means that whatever enterprise the business is seeking to accomplish, it will be much more likely to succeed.
For online retailers, higher traffic means a higher conversion rate. For publishers, higher traffic means more advertising revenue.
In other words, website speed equals brand relevancy (since it has a significant impact on search results), which, in turn, equals revenue increase.
How to determine and improve your website ranking
There a few ways to determine your website ranking and how Google views your digital enterprise.
Google made efforts to allow website owners to see the results from the search engine’s perspective, who now have at their disposal an arsenal of tools.
- PageSpeed Insights provides page analysis and optimization recommendations.
- Google Chrome User Experience Report provides the user experience metrics for how real-world Chrome users experience popular destinations on the web.
- Documentation on performance on Web Fundamentals.
- Lighthouse Chrome extension
PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse also offer recommendations and best practices for SEO. It is highly advised to follow those recommendations, which will drastically increase the performance of the site.