How Page Speed can affect eCommerce Performance

Until a few years ago, the way we all were using the web was different. The first step was always to go on a website front page, and from there navigate until we reached the desired product or article. Google role, at the time, was mainly to help us find the relevant website and it was on us to find the right page.

Nowadays, the search process is different; finding a page is more straightforward and faster. We trust Google to pick the right page for us, regardless of the website hosting it and its position in the website’s hierarchical structure. A single click on a link from a Google Search takes us on a page matching the searched keywords. With a quick look, we are usually able to evaluate if that is what we were looking for or if we need to keep searching. Sometimes we land on pages a bit slow that don’t allow us to assess their relevance instantaneously. Both clicking on irrelevant search results and visiting slow pages trigger the same reaction: we go back to Google, ready to explore the next result in the list.

Both irrelevant search results and slow pages trigger the same reaction: we go back to Google.

Google can detect the click-back-click pattern. If this pattern shows up for the same page multiple times and from multiple users, Google infers that the page is not a good match for that specific search (search keywords). As a result, the page might get a lower page ranking.

There is a consensus that the minimum threshold for a page to load and be rendered by a browser is about 2 seconds.

To avoid for your pages to be penalized by Google, there is a consensus that the minimum threshold time to load and be rendered by a browser is about 2 seconds.

Site speed

If a page takes longer to become responsive (clickable and scrollable), the visitor is likely to go back to Google to check a different result, regardless of the page content. Google uses similar rules also for GoogleAds. If a visitor abandon the page recommended by an ad, Google Ads lower the score of that particular ad, regardless of the CTR (Click Through Rate). A lower score means that in order to show up at the same position in the results page you will have to bid higher. When the score goes below a certain threshold the ad is automatically suspended.

Having an eCommerce website performing below 2 seconds for all pages and products loading and rendering can be challenging. Rich pages with a lot of pictures and videos as well as product pages with several options or governed by complex business rules, are the most difficult to optimize. It can be hard to guarantee a level of performance even when the visitor is accessing the website from a desktop computer and is using a broadband connection. It can be even more challenging to perform below the 2 seconds threshold when the visitor is on a mobile device or a 3G connection.

According to a recent study, a one-second delay in page load time yields:

  • 11% fewer page views
  • 16% decrease in customer satisfaction
  • 7% in loss conversions

Speed is not only affecting the user experience and perception, but also the Google page ranking.

Google found that as page load time goes from 1s to 3s, the probability of bounce increases 32%. As it goes from 1s to 5s, the probability of bounce increases 90%.

as page load time goes from 1s to 3s, the probability of bounce increases 32%. As it goes from 1s to 5s, the probability of bounce increases 90%

Infographics
Infographics

A Kissmetrics study posited that, for an ecommerce site making $100,000 a day, a 1-second delay in page speed can result in $2.5 million lost annually! Plus, 52% of online shoppers identify quick page loads as important to their loyalty to a site. In a competitive landscape, loyalty matters.

WalMart showed a 2% increase in conversions for every 1 second of improvement to their page speed. Amazon reported a 1% increase in revenue for every 100 milliseconds of improvement to their site speed.


Franco Folini lives and works in the eCommerce territory, a wild area between the Kingdom of Technology and the Kingdom of Marketing. He speaks fluently the language of both realms. For many years, Franco has been helping people bridge the divide and successfully collaborate.

If you want to find out more about Franco, visit his LinkedIn profile or send him an email folini[at]gmail.com

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