encompass blog

Your Website Speed Matters—Now More Than Ever

Your Website Speed Matters—Now More Than Ever

Written by enCOMPASS Agency

Every business owner wants their company website to be fast-loading. The reasons for this are many. At the most basic level, it’s just good customer service. If a potential customer is requesting information about your business, you want to provide them with it as quickly as possible, without making them wait and grow frustrated.

But there’s another reason why website speed is so important—and that’s Google. Google, too, is in the customer service business. It wants to provide its customers (search engine users) with the best product possible (good, high-quality search results)—and one of the ways it does that is to prioritize sites that load quickly, on all browsers and across all device types.

Google Rolls Out its Speed Update

To that end, it’s important to note that Google has officially rolled out its Speed Update—meaning the Speed Update is now an important ranking factor for all mobile searches.

What does this mean, exactly? Well, in the broadest possible terms, it means it’s never been more important for your website to have a fast loading time. Google’s mobile search algorithms may now actively penalize sites that load too slowly, which means that if your website lags, it may not show up on mobile search results quite as frequently.

Now, before we go any further, let’s clarify that Google’s Speed Update is designed to impact only the slowest of the slow. In fact, Google has stated that only a small percentage of search queries will be affected by this new rollout.

Even so, there’s never been a better time to ensure that your page loads quickly—complying with Google’s standards, and offering a positive experience to website visitors.

How Slow is Too Slow?

The Speed Update raises some practical questions—like, how slow is too slow? On this question, Google has unfortunately been a little vague. They haven’t offered any specific numbers or speed metrics for site developers to use.

With that said, a good general rule of thumb has always been that websites should load within two or three seconds. Once you get to the three to five second mark and your site still hasn’t loaded, that’s when users are likely to take their queries elsewhere.

You can test the speed of your website right now—and there are a few different ways to do so. One option, of course, is to just try it manually, loading your website on different bowsers and various devices, ensuring a consistently speedy loading time across the board.

For a more rigorous and scientific approach, there are a number of good diagnostic websites where you can run a speed test totally for free. At enCOMPASS, there are a couple that we use ourselves—Google’s own speed tool, and GTMetrix.

What if Your Site is Too Slow?

If you test your website speed and find that it’s not what you’d want it to be, it’s time to take a peek under the hood and see what’s causing your site to lag. There are a number of potential factors for you to look into—including:

  • Slow server performance—something that probably comes down to your Web host
  • Server location
  • Too much traffic, causing your server to crash (definitely a good problem to have!)
  • Images or video files that are too large, too numerous, or too complex in their file formatting
  • Large, dense coding
  • Too many file requests
  • Too many plugins
  • Poorly built website

The speed of your website hinges on all of these factors, and any one of them could cause your site performance to lapse.

Build Your Site for Performance—from the Ground Up

As we wrap this discussion, it’s important for us to note that, here at enCOMPASS, we’ve seen this coming for a long time. We’ve long known that speed was an important aspect of website success, and as such, we’ve always built websites with speed as a primary concern. If you’re one of our website clients, then, you can rest assured that you’re in a good place, with a site that will easily stand up to the Speed Update and its ensuing penalties.

If enCOMPASS didn’t build your site, well, that’s no reason to panic. We recommend starting with some of those speed tests we listed above. Just see how well your site performs—and if you don’t like your results, then give us a call. We’d love to talk with you about some possible website tweaks or redesigns that could ensure speed and performance for a long time to come.

It’s always been important to have a fast-loading website—but now, it’s arguably more important than ever before. With SEO rankings on the line, make sure you’re aware of how quickly your site loads, and that you take immediate action to address any lags. Reach out to enCOMPASS to learn more!