Proving the Point: Page Speed and SERP Position

How patient are you? When you’re on the Internet searching for something, be it on your mobile phone, lap pad, or desktop, what do you do when a page takes too long to load?

Google’s usability team realized your frustration … and your probable action of going to a different website rather than waiting for the slow one. As a result, they’ve added page speed — how fast a web page loads — into its algorithm when determining which site gets top placement on its search results.

Page speed is so important that Google added a feature to Google Webmaster tools that:

  • Makes it very easy to check page speed on any page of your website
  • Shows a separate page speed score for both desktop and mobile pages
  • Includes suggestions to make your pages load faster, and provides links to show your webmaster how to increase the speed of the page

Would a search engine go to all this trouble and expense if it wasn’t an important factor in the sites it wants to place at the top of the list on search results? I think not.

At Top Of The List, we did our own little experiment using the page speed scores of a random sample of clients. We gathered 2 numbers for each client using their data from Google Webmaster Tools:

% of clicks per # of Impressions – Determined how many impressions each site incurred over the past 3 months on Google and how many of those resulted in a click to the site. Then we used that percentage as a number to compare with the page speed score. While many other variables are involved in this number, such as paid search participation, it still seemed like a fast and easy way to come up with something measurable and significant, since it broadly represents how well the site is placing on Google.

Page Speed Scores – Using the home page of each site, added its mobile and desktop page speeds together. Then used this sum to measure correlation with the % of clicks per # of Impressions above.

Here are the results:

The correlation between how often a site is clicked per impression and the speed of both mobile and desktop combined seems obvious. There are a number of other variables involved. But speeding up your site for both mobile and desktop is yet another key in online visibility!

About the Author

Beverly Mapes, Founder, President

Beverly Mapes

Founder & President, Top Of The List

Bev founded Top Of The List in 2006 and has over 25 years of experience working with technology. In her free time, she competes in dog agility competitions with her Golden Retrievers, Cosmo, and Finn.

Posted in SEO