How much does Site Speed Affect Ranking

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  • SEO
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I have been working on Heather AnnZ Salon - One of the Best Hair Salons in Fargo ND for a while now for my wife. I have gotten a boat load of advise already but am in need of some more.

How much does site speed affect ranking?

The reason that I ask is at one point she was ranking #1 for keyword "hair salons in fargo nd" not sure if it just happened over time or if it was with the o so scary last big google update but her ranking was decreased. I did some on page optimization changes some titles, modified some content, added some additional blog posts/pages to increase total keywords, etc. Each time I made a change her site would jump up in the rankings to position 1 or 2 for a few days sometimes the better part of a week.

So in the midst of all of this I added quite a few images a youtube video etc.etc. Ran a test over at pingdom tools and wow did my page load time get our of hand. It wasn't outrageous in comparison to some competing site but it was up in the 8 second range.

I had previously had been using a w3 total cache with amazon cdn to improve speed which I had to disable to deploy an adaptive mobile layer(not sure if that was a great idea or not). Since I cannot use this plugin and the adaptive layer together I disabled the adaptive layer to rely on my site responsive design. Remove some images/slides and re-enabled the w3 plugin and cdn.

I am now seeing results back in the 1 second/sub 1 second page load range. Is this going to make a big difference seo wise or am I wasting my time?

Also anyone that has a few extra and wants to hit up google with the above keyword and give suggestion on what I need to do on my site to get back to the top it would be much appreciated. The ones that are really making me angry are angies list, yelp, and yp. Those poped up after the recent update and have been a pain ever since. I do have an adowrds ad running on free ad credit from google now.

I think my site design is sound and only really see one site as actual competition which is currently a one spot above mine.

Thanks In Advance
#increase #ranking #site #speed
  • Profile picture of the author vk3
    Yo man,

    While Google's been harping on site speed lately, in my opinion, there are bigger leverage points to take advantage... on page optimization, link building, etc - it sounds like you're doing pretty well on both of those fronts, and I do think it's a good idea to have a speedy site, so good work so far.

    Your wife looks like she has a really nice studio, very cool - the site is definitely decent enough... I'm not a big fan of the logo as it's pretty difficult to read, kind of distracting.

    Overall, I love keeping things simple, so there's a lot going on for me on the homepage (I'd imagine a visitor would think the same thing)... I'm also not super keen on the big animated slider/teaser area; I'd much rather see who I'd be going to see, a couple of quick bullet points and a way to get in contact... rather than some faded out looking models and "marketing" speak.

    I'm not sure what your budget is, but if I were you, I'd make sure to keep the anchor text diverse and hit it with some higher page rank links... that should be enough to push the site up and hopefully sustain it at #1.

    I know this might sound a little critical, but I wanted to give you some points to improve upon... kudos on taking action and rocking so far, keep it up!
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    • Profile picture of the author gzibell
      Originally Posted by vk3 View Post

      Overall, I love keeping things simple, so there's a lot going on for me on the homepage (I'd imagine a visitor would think the same thing)... I'm also not super keen on the big animated slider/teaser area; I'd much rather see who I'd be going to see, a couple of quick bullet points and a way to get in contact... rather than some faded out looking models and "marketing" speak.
      I agree with you pretty much entirely on this. When I was building this site I had some info from a competitors online performance. So I looked at their site and other local competitors and attempted to make my site similar. The conversion rates are better than I could have hoped when she is getting traffic. Up in position 1 or 2 it is great but fall back from there and the traffic drops to almost nothing.
      Originally Posted by vk3 View Post

      I'm not sure what your budget is, but if I were you, I'd make sure to keep the anchor text diverse and hit it with some higher page rank links... that should be enough to push the site up and hopefully sustain it at #1.
      On the budget part, so far my budget has been my time and energy. I have been trying to find other local business to build links from but so far have been unsuccessful. I have avoided buying seo services or links after reading so many horror stories. I would love to find some great sources fro high pr links in the same niche but want to avoid anything questionable. I know everyone says guest blog posts are the way to go, tried that a bit but was unsuccessful. It would seem that building links the old fashioned way is a bit of a pain.

      And suggestions on this front?
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      • Profile picture of the author packerfan
        Who cares. Do you like to wait 5 seconds for a page to load, or 1? Ranking #1 and losing 20% of your visitors because your pages load slow sucks (I used to be in that spot before installing a WP caching plugin).

        I ranked 1 for multiple keywords with slow loading pages. But when those times rose significantly my on page average, pages visited, bounce rate, etc. all sucked.

        I'm in the "focus on the user" camp on this one.
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        • Profile picture of the author heavysm
          I'm constantly tweaking popular pages on my sites to ensure they load quickly simply for the visitors experience. It annoys the hell out of me when a page is either slow or just won't pop up (I actually get this a lot with the WF - not sure if it's them or me) so I make darn sure my own pages get the proper performance tweaks.

          I almost have to say to screw the SEO aspect for one moment. Your sites should load reasonably fast anyway since you have a much bigger problem if you're losing visitors simply because they can't get onto your page (or they click out before it loads - it happens a lot).
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  • Profile picture of the author online only
    Definitely try to get your site speed to the maximum. Cut off the useless plugins, use W3 Super Cache etc.

    Even when you don't care about SEO, care about your visitors.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Waller
    I don't think a slow loading site on its own will affect rankings too much but if you find that other metrics such as bounce rate, pages per visit, time on site suffer too then it is possible that your rankings will be slightly lower than optimal.

    But as others have said, your user experience should come first anyway - ranking top but converting very few visitors due to a slow loading site is not as good for your business as ranking 3rd but converting at a higher rate.
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  • Profile picture of the author MarkKapoor
    you are shared a very nice post it is really very helpful. You are right that site speed really matter according to SEO Point of view.
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  • Profile picture of the author LarryHaywood
    From everything I have been reading on loading times, Google is using site load time as a "minor" factor in their algorithm. That being said, you want it to load as fast as possible even if that means finding a better host.
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