Is it true that a Fast site = Better SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the most complicated and ongoing process that webmasters must tackle regularly. Search Engines have grown past the golden age when stuffing your pages with keywords would bring them to the top of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Not anymore! Search engines use complex and intelligent algorithms to determine your site’s usefulness and popularity to rank it higher and higher.
SERPs are like an open market. Anyone can compete for the top rank. According to Google, there’s nothing more that you can do to force it to bring your content to the top, but people are forcing the artificial hands of Google and other search engines every day in their favor, and how are they doing this?
Well, they follow the best practices, things that make (common) sense. Like excellent content, value for their time spent on your site or page, the general appearance of your website, the ease of finding the information they seek, and most importantly, how fast your site presents them with everything they are looking for on the Internet.
Yes, speed is also a factor, in fact, a significant factor that will help retain visitors and possible buyers. While I will come to the point that if a fast site = higher SERP rankings or not, I want you to observe your browsing habits. Pay attention to the time you spend comfortably waiting for a page to load, and when you start feeling annoyed and when is it you decide to abandon the site, never to come back to it?
While you are thinking over the questions I just asked you, let me tell you that Google and other agencies researched visitor behavior already. According to proven analysis, a visitor will happily wait for 2 to 3 seconds for your site to load and will spend more time exploring your website, blog, or eCommerce store. However, if this time is incremented just once, i.e., 4 seconds, that same visitor will start feeling uneasy and will ditch your site altogether, never to come back if it starts taking more than 5 seconds to load. So, yes, a fast site is indeed necessary to retain visitors.
When people start spending time on your website, they are most likely to make a purchase, share, and recommend your website to others as well. Your website will start getting free marketing that you cannot purchase. This sharing and talking start a snowball rolling effect in the form of popularity. You start getting visitors, and as a result, these intelligent search engine starts noticing your website.
Search engines can determine your website’s popularity and combined with the high quality of content on your site, the time visitors spend there, and the time to load, they will move you from the bottom of SERPs to the top. This is the point where you will see a big boost in traffic, conversion, and sales on your website. If your pages are loading faster, you will definitely receive VIP treatment on the SERPs.
33% of the traffic comes from search pages, and this is the 80% that are really interested in the information you present, whether that’s a product, service, or information. However, this is where your competition will also start working hard to overtake you.
As I mentioned earlier, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a continuous process. By adhering to the best practices and using common sense, you can maintain your position at the top of search results for an indefinite period, unless your competitors discover better techniques and offer a superior service or product.
How to increase the speed of your website?
We have already answered this for you. Read our post on the importance of caching in WordPress. Even after you have done everything there is to speed up your site, and it is still slow, consider switching to a better hosting solution or higher tier.
I personally recommend Bluehost (affiliate link) based on their pricing, server resources, ease of use, and especially customer care access and response time.