▷ Loading time: an essential lever for your SEO 2020 -

There are many good practices to maximize your chances of being well referenced. There are technical recommendations such as HTML optimization, robots.txt configuration, canonical tags …

As algorithms are constantly evolving, it is unthinkable to focus on a single type of optimization at the risk of seeing all your efforts wiped out with the next update from Google. In recent years, the following major changes have been noted:

Training & Co'm
  • Google Panda (2011): taking content into account;
  • Google Penguin: focus on netlinking;
  • Google Fred (2017): focus on sites with too much advertising + interstitial formats.

Since the beginning of the year, the browsing experience of Internet users (Phantom 5) has been integrated in addition to page load times (in 2010) as a quality criterion by search engines. Therefore, the question of loading times arises as a real lever for your SEO. But how to effectively combine performance and natural referencing?

Netvigie, web monitoring specialist, has been responsible for monitoring web quality for 13 years and measuring the loading times of 150 players (e-commerce, travel, bancassurance, etc.) using user scenarios or via real Internet traffic (Real User Monitoring). The solutions of this company based near Lille (Hauts de England) are intended to allow digital players to measure, analyze, compare their loading times continuously and according to the browsing context of their internet users. The goal is to optimize these times in order to provide users with an ever more efficient website.

Xavier KOCKELBERGH, Sales and Partnership Director at Netvigie explains: Over the years, loading times have become a crucial issue for companies with a digital activity (transactional or relational). To continue to develop, companies, particularly in e-commerce, must invest heavily in marketing to acquire new customers and gain market share. SEO is one of the important levers that they must activate. The race for 1st position in Google also involves good page loading times at the risk of giving way to competition and therefore to a loss of profitability for your SEO campaigns. ”

PERFORMANCE: AN OVER-OPERATED SEO LEVER

Loading time and bots

Regularly, search engine bots come to a site for the crawler, looking for new content. It is obvious that if the pages of the crawled site take a long time to load, the bot can only consult a limited number of them. However, fewer crawled pages mean less chance of being listed in search engines. Therefore, working on loading times will maximize the number of page views when robots pass. More pages will then be indexed by the engines and the chances of being well positioned in the engines multiplied.

Benoît CHAPRON, Director of the SEO agency La Revanche des sites, and partner of Netvigie, says: ” SEO is no longer an average exam. This is a competition where only the first will be correctly positioned. Therefore, it is necessary to optimize more and more sophisticated variables, and the loading time is one of them. It is even a technical prerequisite, because the positioning depends above all on the indexing and the ease of reading of the site by the search engine. This is why, on this subject, customers are increasingly demanding a data-driven strategy. “

47% of Internet users want a loading time of less than 2 seconds.

Internet users are more impatient and demanding about their browsing experience. This is why, since February 2017, Phantom 5 also takes into account the behavior of Internet users. This forces digital players to compete in optimizations to make their site ever more functional and efficient, at the risk of seeing users leave to compete. In addition to reducing your chances of converting, the consequence of these latencies is a degradation of certain KPIs: bounce rate, number of page views, session duration, etc. For example, an additional second of loading is synonymous with -11 % of page views. Taken into account by Google, this degradation is assimilated to a lack of relevance of the site. Therefore, it is judged to be of lower quality, and the sentence falls: poorer positioning in search engines and therefore a loss of visibility for the pages of the site.

Benoît CHAPRON explains to us: “The user experience is now a component of SEO. Search engines simply comply with the requirements of Internet users: Fluid and fast navigation is no longer an option. By optimizing the loading times of the elements of a site, you satisfy the human and the robot. ”

PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT FIELDS OF INTERVENTION:

Like SEO, performance measurement is an area where there are many good practices and areas for optimization. A tool dedicated to the measurement and analysis of loading times as proposed by Netvigie allows digital players to have better visibility on the entire site and to detect a large number of corrective actions which will be beneficial for SEO and user experience.

Among the many areas of optimization, we can cite:

Technical performance: By measuring network (DNS- connection) and application load times (1st byte and HTML loading), it is possible to detect if changes and / or optimizations are to be considered in terms of website hosting for example. We can also confirm that we respect the standards set by Google, namely a response time less than 200ms or an HTML time less than 4 sec (see Tweet)

Browser performance: they make it possible to integrate a more “user” dimension into performance measurement. Therefore, it is possible to see how the strategic routes of a site (purchasing route, identification to a customer area …) are experienced by Internet users in terms of loading. In addition, Netvigie integrates with its tools, the webperf benchmarks for performance management as close as possible to Internet users (DOMContentLoaded, Speed ​​Index, Apdex)

The page elements: a website is made up of a multitude of elements that are specific to it and even more from providers, partners, affiliates, etc. Thanks to Netvigie’s tools, users have full visibility of the ecosystem of their site. Therefore, they can set up a real optimization strategy: cleaning of third party elements, reduction of the weight and number of elements per page, redefinition of the display order of elements, detection of resources at abnormally long loading time, modification of image formats (see SVG), Gzip compressions, etc.

JS errors: they occur on the client side and are therefore more difficult to detect. However, they have a real impact on the browsing experience of Internet users and can therefore degrade positioning in search engines. By detecting them, RUM Netvigie users have access to the precise location of the error, up to the line of code concerned.

The browsing contexts of Internet users: page loading times vary depending on the location, device, browser or operating system used by Internet users. Often longer on mobile, the performance delta between devices is to be taken into consideration to boost the performance of a website and therefore the positioning in search engines. This is without specifying the growing share of the use of a smartphone! It is estimated that 49% of purchases should be made via mobile by 2020 (source: objetconnecte.com). This therefore represents a real challenge for e-merchants who are increasingly adopting a “mobile first” strategy!

Figure 1 RUM Netvigie: screenshot of the interface Home Page

“The UX imposes on SEO a flawless optimization of the navigability and therefore the loading time of the elements of the site. And this discipline is all the more crucial since it now applies to both desktop and mobile, when the elements are not necessarily the same, or not loaded in the same way. It is therefore a question of following precise metrics relating to elements which do not have the same nature… Hence the importance of obtaining exhaustive data relating to very diverse elements of the site. »Adds Benoit CHAPRON.

In conclusion,

SEO is a real lever for a digital activity, based on several optimization techniques. In addition to content or netlinking, we now find the notion of fluidity of navigation for Internet users. This last axis of SEO involves integrating the speed of pages and the browsing experience of Internet users into the overall strategy.

On the occasion of this publication, Netvigie offers you to measure the loading times of your website for free in order to see their potential impact on natural referencing! To do this, go to this link.

Article written in collaboration with Netvigie