Internet marketers have received a warning from Google’s Matt Cutts that mobile sites will soon attract demotion factors for slow loading times. There has been forewarning since 2010 of the increasing importance of loading speed in relation to search engine ranking.
Speaking at SMX Advanced, Cutts told marketers that our increasingly fast-paced world requires real-time responses and that this has a direct bearing on content distribution. Those brands and web masters seeking higher rankings in the serps should be looking at achieving the fastest loading times for the best possible user experience.
Google is helping out by introducing Speed Suggestions in its analytics content reports. Marketers can now measure the site’s performance and identify where their sites may be lacking. The feature also includes actionable suggestions and solutions for improvement.
Marketers can make use of the new feature with the Overview tab, which shows how fast their web content is displayed. Digging down deeper there is data showing Page Timings and User Timings that show how images, videos and buttons perform. Finally, the Speed suggestions tab provides valuable methods of increasing speed metrics and reducing page loading speeds.
As the Google analytics team explained when announcing the new tool on their blog, users favour fast sites and businesses benefit from the better customer satisfaction, increased engagement and lower bounce rates. The team’s benchmarks show that the web has grown faster by around 30% from last year.
Marketers may feel discouraged and feel that Google is forever making the goal of rising to the top of the search engine rankings more difficult. Yet another obstacle placed in the pathway to success. However, the truth is that users are demanding fast results and the search engine is simply responding.
Picking up the pace is certainly the message for marketers. How page loading times impact user’s satisfaction, site usability and conversion rates needs to be a central issue.
Marketers, it’s time to crank it up a little and move out of the slow lane. It’s now time to implement Google’s best practices for a speedy site. With the new ranking factor of loading speed soon to be introduced it’s a smart move to pay close attention to Google’s mantra: faster sites mean happier users.