Why Website Speed Matters: Conversions, Loyalty and Google Search Ranking

September 19, 2022
by Alyssa von Bornhoft

What is Website Speed and Why Does it Matter?

Website speed, also known as website performance, measures how fast a browser loads your e-commerce site’s content. You may not realize it, but speed is the first thing consumers notice about your e-commerce business. Think of it as the first impression you make on your audience. 

Below we’ll explore how your Shopify brand’s website speed affects your business in terms of:

  • Conversion
  • Loyalty
  • Google Search Ranking

According to a study conducted by Microsoft Corp., we generally lose concentration after only 8 seconds. Our ability to focus has decreased by a third from the 12 seconds it was in at the turn of the millennium – around the time we entered the mobile age. What this shows is that our brains are adapting to the speed at which information is being delivered to us. If your e-commerce website isn’t evolving to account for this weaker attention span, you’re guaranteed to fall behind in key areas. After all, as the saying goes – you snooze, you lose. 

Why Website Speed Matters: Conversions, Loyalty and Google Search Ranking

How Website Speed Affects Your Conversion Rate

Conversion rate for an e-commerce brand is the percentage of consumers that complete specific, or desired, actions on your site.

In the real world, it generally takes 7 seconds to make a first impression. Online, you have less than a third of that! In fact, 47% of consumers expect your e-commerce website to load in 2 seconds. And, as much as 53% of people will abandon your site entirely, or bounce, if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Talk about a need for speed!

What is a Bounce Rate?

Bounce rate is a measurement that determines what percentage of users visit a website and leave without viewing any other page on that site. It’s calculated by dividing the number of one page visits by the total visits to your site.

When website speed is slow, consumers are less likely to stick around. This has a direct, and significant, effect on your conversion rates. It has been proven, time and again, that the quicker a website’s speed, the better conversion rates will be. Why? Because it results in users being more likely to perform the targeted actions and not bounce to the competition.

Why Website Speed Matters: Conversions, Loyalty and Google Search Ranking

Speed equals revenue. The reality is that every second makes a world of a difference when it comes to website speed. In fact, a delay of just 1 second in a page’s response not only lowers your traffic, but it can result in a 7% decrease in sales. 

The good news? Increasing e-commerce website speed by just 0.1 seconds can improve conversion rates by 8.4%!

Why Website Speed Matters: Conversions, Loyalty and Google Search Ranking

Keeping in mind how speed affects conversion rates and therefore correcting any shortcomings will increase your overall earnings. And, it will also allow you to avoid losing out on any missed opportunities. 

What Effect Does Site Speed Have on Brand Loyalty

Conversion rates and consumer loyalty essentially go hand-in-hand and it should come as no surprise that customer loyalty is one of the key elements for your e-commerce business’ success. What better way to build loyalty than to provide visitors to your site with a good experience? Consumers who return to your site ultimately increase profits and consequently promote the overall growth of your business. 

In one study, it was discovered that almost 70% of online consumers agree that a website’s speed impacts their decision to buy from an online store. Remember that first impression we were talking about? Well, if you only have 2 seconds to make an impression on someone who may become a lifetime customer, you had better make good use out of that time! 

Enhancing your consumers’ experience by increasing your website speed is a sure-fire way to build consumer loyalty. In one study, 52% of online shoppers claimed that quick page loads are important for their loyalty to a site. On the contrary, it was found that 79% of shoppers are less likely to buy from your e-commerce site again if they experience slow website speed. Seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?

Why Website Speed Matters: Conversions, Loyalty and Google Search Ranking

Website Speed is Now a Factor in Your Site’s Google Search Ranking

Think you can trade website speed for world class content? Think again. Because page speed is essential to user experience, Google uses website speed in its SEO rankings algorithm. No matter how extraordinary your content is, you won’t get to the top of the search results if your speed is lacking. In a statement, Google said:

“Users want to find answers to their questions quickly and data shows that people really care about how quickly their pages load. The Search team announced speed would be a ranking signal for desktop searches in 2010 and as of today [July 2018], page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches too.

In order to rank well in Google search results, ensuring that your website can be found easily by your target audience, the speed of your Shopify website can’t be overlooked. In fact, it’s crucial. So, we’ve compiled some helpful tips that will have the most impact on increasing your e-commerce website speed:  

  • Find out your current e-commerce website speed – Where do you stand right now? 
  • Reduce redirects – The more redirecting your website is doing, the longer the consumer is waiting to land on the desired page
  • Optimize the images on your website – Large images can delay loading speed. Compress and optimize those images by reducing the sizes and using the appropriate file format. 
  • Remove render-blocking JavaScriptGoogle recommends avoiding and minimizing the use of blocking JavaScript. 

The Bottom Line

When it comes to your e-commerce brand’s website speed, time is of the essence. If you neglect the speed of your website, it’s sure to have a negative impact on your conversions, consumer loyalty, and Google search rankings. These are all key components essential for the success of your Shopify store. Speed is vital in attracting consumers to your store and ultimately in those customers continuing to do business with your brand.

The truth is, regardless of how much time and effort you’ve poured into creating a brand you’re proud of, from the color scheme, logos and content, users will choose your e-commerce site – or not – based on the amount of time it takes for your website to load. Website speed plays such a critical role in determining the success of your e-commerce brand. adQuadrant has helped many ambitious brands optimize their online presence so reach out to them for any help your brand might need.

About the author: Alyssa has spent the majority of her career specializing in the Accounting sector of Affiliate Marketing. With a persistent urge to learn new things, Alyssa returned to McGill University in Montreal, Canada in her 30s to study Public Relations and Communications Management where she discovered a passion for writing – and she hasn’t looked back!

Her interests include adventuring in the great outdoors, cooking up a storm, and not sitting still. She aspires to take a million pictures of her Siberian Husky/Saint Bernard mix, Jax, and is probably getting pretty close.

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