The following blog post is an excerpt from our free SEO eBook, “Develop a Winning Strategy,” which was released earlier this month.
That title is the first volume of our three-part series of SEO eBooks, called “Playing the SEO Game to Win.” You can download the first title at the link provided here. Check back for Volume Two, “Betting on a Long-Shot,” which is scheduled for release on Thursday, July 19.
Page load speed refers to how fast a page loads once it is requested in a browser. While, from the user’s perspective, most of the perceived page load time is dependent on the speed and quality of their internet connection, there are speed elements that can be influenced by the design and presentation of your law firm’s website.
Some lawyers end up shooting themselves in the foot by assigning too much importance to page load speed. This is typically because website sales scam artists create a false sense of urgency around the “scores” or “grades” reported by various page speed testing tools.
From Google’s perspective, the fastest loading page on the internet is a completely useless page. This is because a blank page, by its nature, is as fast as a page can get. But a blank page provides Google’s users nothing of value, and it cannot rank for anything because it has nothing to offer.
Page Speed & Your Law Firm’s Website: It’s a Balancing Act
Google values high-quality content MUCH more than it values load speed. A page that takes a minute to load but that has deep and relevant content will always rank better than a blank page. So, it becomes a balancing act. The value that a page provides your potential client must be weighed against the time your potential clients must wait for the page to load. In real-world terms this is typically measured in seconds or fractions of a second.
The “scores” and “grades” that website hucksters use to try to steal your money diverges from what your potential clients experience on your site. For example, scores often take into account background scripts and processes that must load. If these resources are invisible to your clients and are placed well on the page (for example, the Google Analytics tracking code), then they don’t affect the speed with which your clients see the information from your site load onto their screen, though the clock is still technically ticking on the page loading progress. Your client does not notice this, however, because he or she is already engaged with your content.
That said, Google wants your page to load reasonably fast AND contain great content.
Consider User Experience On Your Law Firm’s Website
If your page loads so slowly that Google’s users back out of the page before it loads, it makes Google look bad because it suggested something that frustrated its user (and your potential client).
Google has acknowledged that the load speed of a page or website is considered a minor ranking factor. It is insignificant when compared to many other factors, including the amount, quality, and organization of your content.
You want your site to load as rapidly as is reasonably possible so that your users have a good experience. If your potential clients think your site is too slow, you have a problem. If a page speed tester, including the one produced by Google, thinks your site load speed needs improvement, you probably don’t have a problem, so long as your potential clients’ use of your site is not affected.
When assessing web pages for search engine ranking, Google does consider user experience indicators like bounce rate and click back rate. So, if your page is too slow and that slowness causes visitors to leave before it loads, that may have a direct effect on your law firm’s SEO.
The good news is that page speed optimization is not something to obsess over. If your website is on the LawLytics platform, the essential optimization is done for you.
For more SEO advice, download the full version of “Developing a Winning Strategy” here. To brush up on the basics of SEO for your law firm website, download our free introductory title on the subject, “SEO Basics for Lawyers,” here.