Hotel Website Speeds and SEO – Don’t get Penalised by Slowness

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Thanks to broadband and functions such as 4G on mobile phones, we are thankfully no longer subjected to the painfully slow speeds that used to be the norm when it came to websites displaying their content. Millennials would scarcely believe the long waits that early internet users endured with dial-up, particularly where images were concerned – there used to be time to go and get a cup of coffee before looking at a page.

Today, this is a thing of the past – but some websites can still take a frustratingly long time to upload, and if this is a problem for your site, then it could be negatively affecting your hotel search engine marketing . People want to look at content almost immediately and have no patience for slowness, something confirmed by Kissmetrics when it found that a quarter of users will abandon a page after waiting four seconds for loading. Website speed and SEO In 2010, Google announced that it would start including page speed as a ranking signal in a bid to build a better experience for its users. It wanted to deliver the best possible search results and realised that if the pages it displays take too long to load, then it reflects badly on the search engine itself.

As a result, websites that proved to be regularly slow started to be penalised by Google and other search engines, resulting in their rankings dropping and their results being displayed much lower down. User experience and page speed Not only are slow web pages highly annoying, but they can also have an effect on the booking process, as visitors won’t be able to quickly see what you offer and complete order forms. They are also less likely to notch up a high number of page views, which reduces the likelihood of them making a booking and visiting your property’s page again.Things that could affect page speed There are a number of factors that could affect the time it takes for your hotel’s web page to load, but image size is typically a top contender. If your pages are really picture-heavy, then it could impact upon speed and start to frustrate people.

However, it is important to have plenty of images from a marketing point of view if you want to increase hotel bookings, so there’s a fine line here. The best thing to do is ensure all images are optimized for the browser you use and aren’t ridiculously high-resolution, so you get the best of both worlds. Other factors that can slow your site down include lots of advertisements, cheap web hosts, dense code and apps using Flash, so consider having a clear-out if you regularly find problems with speed. Tools for website speed checks If you want to see how your hotel’s website is performing, there are lots of different tools online that will automatically check speeds for you. Google has Think With Google: Test My Site, ¬†which is free and simply requires the entry of a URL to carry out a test. A report will be generated in a few hours. The search engine also offers Google Page Speed Insights as part of its Google Developers portfolio.

Another potential is Pingdom Tools, which can test by location and is also free. It will bring up the size of each file it finds and the time taken to load it, which can help to flag up issues with particular pages and resources that can then be fixed. Finally, there’s On Crawl, which provides details reports for a fee but offers a 30-day trial period.If you’re not sure how to go about improving speeds, then it’s well worth employing the services of a specialist to help you.