Top web page load speeds 'detrimental to search marketing'
Website page load speeds will become an increasingly important factor for search advertisers, and page load speed performance should not be assumed, even for some of the biggest sites in the UK – according to a study of search marketing effectiveness.
The test of 100 of the UK’s most popular websites by agency Greenlight determined that 4 per cent of them had page load speeds slower than acceptable thresholds set by Google, beyond which advertisers may see increased click costs.
Greenlight took a sample survey of 100 of the UK’s most popular websites across four industries – consumer electronics, clothing retail, travel and finance. These it determined from its independent sector reports which reveal the most visible websites in Google natural and paid search across various industry sectors, per quarter.
In June 2008 Google said that landing page download time has an impact on a marketer’s Quality Score in its Paid Search service. This means that ‘latency’ begins contributing directly to a campaign’s performance – and, ultimately, its return-on-investment quotient. There was also much speculation at the end of 2009 over whether this issue would also make its way into Google’s natural search algorithms.
Greenlight tested their download speeds at the same time of the day, outside of seasonal peaks in server load and made multiple requests to get an average. The findings survey found load times ranged from the exceptionally high (0.29 seconds was the standout) to the painfully high (15 seconds). The best performing sites, Greenlight claims, were in descending order Argos.co.uk, Riverisland.com, Holiday.co.uk, Fool.co.uk, and Comet.co.uk.