How Page Load Speeds Impact SEO for E-commerce Brands

how page load speeds impact seo for e-commerce brands

Faster page load times can significantly improve your SEO, customer satisfaction, and conversion rates

Let’s set the scene: You’re running late for work, but you spy the *insert your favorite national coffee chain* logo off the main road, and decide you have time to swing through the drive-thru for a morning pick-me-up.

The line doesn’t look too long at first, but five minutes later, it becomes apparent that the person in front of you has one of those complicated, miles-long orders that will take a hot minute to fulfill. 

On a good day, you might wait in line for a few minutes longer. But more likely, since you’re running low on time, you’ll put your car in reverse, make a safe (but hasty) exit, and speed off toward your destination, now five minutes later and uncaffeinated. 

When potential customers visit your e-commerce site for the first time, they’re interested in seeing what you have to offer, but they’re not fully bought in yet. And when faced with slow page load speeds, they’re not likely to stick around, leading to lower conversion rates and lower customer satisfaction.

We want to help you create more pleasant shopping experiences (and ultimately, drive more sales.) Let’s figure out how to fix your page load speeds and build a better user experience. 

Why do load speeds matter for e-commerce?

It’s important to have a beautiful site and quality products — but if your customer gets frustrated before they even get to a product landing page, you could lose them for good.

The data speaks for itself. Slow page load speeds can negatively impact your e-commerce business in three big ways: 

    1. Decreased customer satisfaction — A study by the Aberdeen Group found that 40 percent of shoppers abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. What’s more, a one-second delay decreases customer satisfaction by 16 percent. 
    2. Increased bounce rates — The longer a page takes to load, the more likely your customer will give up and click off of it. The BBC discovered that for every additional second their pages took to load, they lost 10% of total users. Research shows that when a customer has to wait longer than three seconds for a page to load, the bounce rate could increase from 9 to 38%. 
    3. Poor SEO — Lagging site speed could negatively impact your SEO ranking on Google, which prioritizes sites that load quickly. 

3 things faster site speed could help you do

Now we understand why bad page load speeds are bad news for your e-commerce business. On the flip side, let’s find out what good site speed could do for your business.

  1. Improve customer experience — Arguably the most important result of faster load speeds is a better customer experience. Faster load speeds mean more repeat customers coming back time and time again (and 79% of customers are less likely to be repeat customers if they experienced slow page load speeds the first time.) 
  2. Boost SEO — In case you needed a reminder, Google dominates in the world of SEO — it currently owns almost 93% of the world’s market share. Because page load speeds have such a big impact on user experience, Google prioritizes sites with fast load times on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). 
  3. Increased conversion rate — With lower bounce rates and stronger SEO, you’re already in a good position to maximize conversions. A recent study by mPulse found pages that loaded in 2.4 seconds had a 1.9% conversion rate, vs. 0.6% at 5.7+ seconds. The percentages are small, but they could immensely impact your e-commerce business’s revenue.

3 ways to improve site speed

Are your customers stuck in the metaphorical drive-thru line? Here are a few ways you can improve site speed to maximize conversions. 

1. Understand your current site speed and identify bottlenecks

If it’s been a while since you’ve even thought about your site speed, it can be helpful to first take some time to look at your site from a customer’s perspective. 

Shopify recommends performing a “site speed audit” where you take a look at your current stats (If you use Shopify for your site, they have a built-in speed report that you can view at the click of a button and compare to other similar businesses).

Here are a few key metrics to keep in mind when auditing your site speed:

Page Load Time The time it takes for a webpage to fully load. This includes the time it takes to load all images, scripts, and other elements on the page.
Time to First Byte (TTFB) The time it takes for the browser to receive the first byte of data from the web server. A lower TTFB indicates faster server response times.
First Contentful Paint (FCP) The time it takes for the first piece of content to be rendered on the screen. This metric is important for user perception of site speed.
Time to Interactive (TTI) The time it takes for the webpage to become fully interactive and responsive to user input. This includes the time it takes for JavaScript to load and execute.
Total Blocking Time (TBT) The total amount of time during which the main thread of the browser is blocked and unable to respond to user input. This metric is related to the responsiveness of the webpage.
Page Size The total size of the webpage, including all images, scripts, and other resources. A smaller page size generally leads to faster load times.
Number of Server Requests The total number of requests made to the server to load the webpage. Fewer requests typically result in faster load times.

2. Optimize images — It’s possible that there are a lot of technical, “under-the-hood” aspects of your site that are impacting load speeds. Or, it could be as simple as optimizing your images. Check out our recent post on Maximizing your Brand’s SEO through Image Optimization.

3. Keep things simple where possible (“wrangle your apps”) — Stacking third-party apps on top of one another on your site can seriously slow down your page load speeds. Consider whether you really need an app, or if building the app’s function (i.e. countdown timers, exit intent pop-ups, etc.) into the backend of your website would give you more control without the weight of an additional app on your page load speeds. 

4. Content delivery networks — Nogin uses a CDN (content delivery network) to do what we do. We have data centers as close to our customers as possible (caching content in 320 cities around the world), so our content is closer to end users, reducing latency and improving load time and round-trip time (RTT). 

Bring your site up to speed with Nogin

Nogin Edge Delivery™ is here to transform your website into a lightning-fast, seamless experience that captivates your audience from the first click.

Set up a zero-cost, zero-pressure call with one of our Nogin experts today to find out how we can help you elevate your online presence. 

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