Site speed and SEO: Get in the fast lane

Did you know that the faster your site, the higher you appear in Google’s search results?

It turns out site speed can make all the difference to your online success. Not only can it help drive higher quality traffic and leads to your site, but it can also help turn those leads into sales.

In this article, I’m going to dig into the underestimated benefits of speed for your search engine optimisation (SEO) and your entire digital marketing strategy.

Why and how SEO works – a basic refresher

Whenever we need to know, find or buy something, most of us turn to Google and most of us click on one of the first links we see.

It’s what makes search such a powerful marketing channel. You know that when your site appears at the top of search results, you’re attracting people actively looking to buy.

So, how can you make your site rank higher?

That Google is now one of the biggest companies on the planet is partly due to its algorithm’s ability to make those first few results genuinely useful and relevant.

To work out if your site warrants a top place, Google has to establish that your site is the most useful and relevant for what people are looking for.

It does this by crawling the web and indexing your site. It looks at who’s linking to you, to work out your authority in your area, and checks that you have the quality of content that people are really looking for.

One of the key ‘ranking signals’ that Google takes into account is your site speed, which can account for up to 12% of their algorithm.

(By the way, if you want to learn everything you need to know about how search engines work, you can’t go wrong with this beginner’s guide from Moz).

Why does Google think site speed is so important?

Site speed is simply a measurement of how fast the content of your site loads. It matters because the faster your site, the more pages Googlebot can crawl and the more of your site it can index. But more importantly, it matters to Google because site speed matters to its users.

According to Google, when people experience a slow site:

“They’re much less likely to find what they’re looking for or purchase from you in the future. For many sites, this equates to a huge missed opportunity, especially when more than half of all visits are abandoned if a mobile page takes over 3 seconds to load.”

What happens if you have a slow site?

The faster your site speed, the higher you’ll rank on Google, which has clear implications for your business because if you have a slow site then search engines are far less likely to send people your way.

So, when it comes to SEO, it’s no longer enough to generate tons of high-quality content and relevant links to your site, now you also need to make it load faster.

SEM Rush argue that:

“If the top ten landing pages all load under two seconds, yours may not crack the first page at four seconds, even with quality content.”

But, it goes beyond SEO. As study after study has shown, if consumers can’t interact with your site instantly, they’ll quickly click away and look elsewhere.

Even if they stick around, they’re less likely to buy from you and less likely to come back in the future.

How to speed up your site

There are dozens of factors that can slow down your site and multiple ways of tackling them.

As I cover in my article, ‘The surprising impact of a slow site’, the more assets your site has – including images, videos, files and scripts – the longer it will take to load.

This is why simple always means faster when it comes to website design. If you can reduce your file and image sizes, along with other weighty assets, you’ll successfully speed up your site.

is right now. And take a look at Google’s suite of speed tools for suggestions on how to improve things.


When it comes to marketing, there are hundreds of things you can focus on. What if we kept things simple and just concentrated on making our sites faster?

Improving access and useability for our users should be our main priority. If you can guarantee your site loads in under 3 seconds, you’ll gain an advantage in the search rankings, making it much easier for customers to find you.

And when they do find you, they’re far more likely to buy, browse for longer and come back to look and buy again.

The upshot is that there are no downsides to improving your site speed. Only opportunities and better service for all your potential customers.


Our Supercharge service helps improve site performance. Get in touch to see how yours can be improved.