Site speed is key to ecommerce success. It directly influences your conversion rates, repeat business, and search engine rankings. And with upcoming changes to Google Search ranking in May 2021, site speed is even more important as a competitive edge.
Let’s take a look at why site speed is so important, how site speed will become a vital part of Google Search rankings, and how you can improve your site speed.
Why is site speed so important?
Fast websites have been linked to lower bounce rates and higher conversions. According to Google, a one-second site speed improvement can increase mobile conversions by up to 27%. And with 70% of shoppers buying on mobile, site speed clearly has a huge impact on your revenue potential.
A one-second site speed improvement can increase mobile conversions by up to 27%.
Loyalty (repeat business)
This probably sounds familiar: “It’s cheaper to get current customers to make a repeat purchase than it is to find new customers.” Site speed plays a big role in this. In fact, Skilled found that 79% of customers are less likely to repurchase from an online store if they were “dissatisfied” with the site’s speed (i.e., you’re more likely to get repeat customers if you have a fast site).
Google Search ranking
Ranking higher on search engines like Google helps your business get discovered by more potential customers. Google—the most popular search engine, owning 92.47% of the world’s market share, as of January 2021—uses site speed as a ranking factor for search results. Starting in May 2021, faster sites will rank even higher on Google, meaning they’ll be easier for new customers to discover.
Site speed updates to Google Search ranking
Google Search’s mission is to help users find the most relevant and quality sites on the web. It does this with a ranking system, designed to sort through the billions of pages on the web and connect users with what they’re looking for.
Faster sites will rank higher on Google Search starting in May 2021.
Google Search ranking will include new page experience signals starting in May 2021. These new signals combine Core Web Vitals with existing search signals to measure how users perceive a web page; they measure how fast users think your site is.
Core Web Vitals are user-centric metrics that help users perceive a page as fast:
- Loading is measured with Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). This metric lets users know when a site is useful by measuring how long it takes for a page’s main content to load.
- Interactivity is measured with First Input Delay (FID). This metric lets users know when a site is usable by measuring the time from when a user first interacts with a page, like clicking hyperlinked text or a button, to the time when the browser is actually able to respond to that interaction.
- Visual stability is measured with Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). This metric ensures users have the best experience possible by measuring how often users experience an unexpected layout shift.
So what does all this mean for your business? Improving your site speed will help you rank higher on Google Search and get discovered by more potential customers as a result.
How to improve your site speed
With a fast global network and lightweight image files, online stores built on Shopify are already fast by default. However, every time you add new features to your online store—like videos, rich media, live chats, or customer reviews, for example—it can slow your site speed, lowering your Google Search ranking.
We recommend performing a site speed audit before new Google Search ranking signals roll out in May 2021.
Because your Google Search ranking is key to acquiring new customers, we recommend performing a site speed audit before the new Google Search ranking signals roll out in May 2021.
You can improve your site speed by following these steps:
- Understand your current site speed. Visit the online store speed report in your admin to see how your site speed is currently performing.
- Make site speed improvements. Identify where you can make changes to your online store to improve site speed by following these instructions or these 11 tips to boost your site speed. You can also reach out to a Shopify expert to perform a site speed audit and suggest how you can improve.
- Repeat! Site speed should always be top of mind when making any changes to your online store. Keep tabs on your speed score and make improvements whenever necessary so you’re always optimized for conversion, loyalty, and Google Search rankings.