Phase II of Dr. David Wank’s “Internet Marketing Workflow” centers around driving traffic to your website. The idea is that once you have adequate traffic, you can aim to convert that traffic into new patients.
Of the 300+ ranking factors that Google considers when it ranks web pages, Page Speed is one of those factors. And while we do not know the relative weight of Page Speed vs. other ranking factors (<title> tags, <alt> tags, etc.) we do know that it’s an important factor because it’s related to the overall user experience.
The reason we know page speed is an important factor is because your web page load times are directly correlated to your user’s experience. As the theory goes, if your pages take a long time to load, users will have a poor experience on your page (and likely on your entire website) and not return.
Google wants users to have the best experience on web pages so they keep coming back to Google as a search engine. Consider that if every time you clicked a link in Google search results the resulting page took a very long time to load, you’d probably stop using Google as your primary search engine.
Thus, because Google looks at this type of data and wants users to have the best experience, Google will “reward” web pages that have a better user experience with higher positions in search engine ranking results.
As with most SEO ranking factors, the issue to really consider is how you perform against your competition as opposed to how you perform against a set standard. Looking at page speed as an example, if all the competitors in your area have home pages that take 12 seconds to load, and your home page loads in 6 seconds, your page will likely rank higher (assuming all other factors are equal). Of course, 6 seconds is still much slower than the general standard of having pages load in <3 seconds, but you are competing against other websites that have to do with dentistry.
In the next article, I’m going to talk about how web pages load, and examine some of the factors that can slow down web pages.