Back in 2010, Google announced that site speed would be one of the signals in their ranking algorithms. Many people outside of the SEO industry didn’t notice this change, and are still using low cost shared hosting plans and taking a hit because of it.
Without a doubt, there are more highly weighted search indicators such as site relevance, fresh content and social signals, however you should still take note of your site speed for a couple of reasons.
- User Experience – The ultimate goal with your site should be to make your end user’s experience better. Slow site load times result in increased bounce rates and low average visitor times on your pages, which can have SEO impacts as well.
- Increased Indexing – Googlebot allocates each website a specific crawl budget from a time perspective, depending on various factors such as authority and trust. Being able to move through your site more quickly means that it will be able to download, and in most cases, index more pages per crawl.
- Increase in Conversions – TagMan performed a study recently with one of their large clients which indicated that a one second delay in page load caused a 7% loss in customer conversions. With the lifetime value of a law firm’s clients, this is a huge lost opportunity.
Easy Steps to Improve Site Speed
Although improving site speed can often prove to be a very technical and involved task, there are a couple of steps you can take to improve your speed.
- Make sure you’re using a high performance CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress. If your current site is not in WordPress, there are a number of vendors (including LegalScapes) who can take your current site and translate it to WordPress.
- Use a high performance host. Most designers and small businesses use shared hosting, which is very cheap due to the fact that you’re on a server with thousands of other sites. Usually these sites will come with “free” e-mail accounts as well, which is a key indicator that you should be looking elsewhere for hosting.
Beyond these steps, most speed improvements will be incremental and will come from code optimization. If we can help with your site speed or hosting, shoot us a note for a free consultation.