Speed matters in search rankings, and brands with slow-loading web content might find themselves at the bottom of SERPs.

When marketers check their content analytics, do they see high bounce rates? Bad news – that’s a sign of slow site speed and in the fast-paced world of internet marketing, the tortoise isn’t going to the win the race. Search Engineer Matt Cutts confirmed this point in the latest Webmaster Help Channel video. This means marketers must prioritize site speed for their brands’ web presences or they could lose site traffic to quicker competitors.

“We do use page speed in our rankings,” Cutts asserts. He explains that if two domains are equal on every SEO consideration, the rate at which web content loads is certainly a deciding factor in search rankings.

There isn’t a standard metrics at which Google awards a site Page 1 over Page 2. That isn’t practical when Google’s search crawlers are evaluating digital content from around the world, in regions at different stages of web maturation. However, Cutts offers a guideline that marketers should use to measure their sites’ performances.

“It might be the case that your site will rank lower because of its page speed.”

“Look at your neighborhood of websites, look at the sites that are returned along with you and if you’re the outlier, if you’re at the very bottom end because your site is really, really slow, then yes it might be the case that your site will rank lower because of its page speed,” he reports.

This is particularly the case for mobile websites, as on-the-go users are usually looking for information immediately. If a company’s homepage is taking too long to load, searchers will get frustrated and return to SERPs to find a faster alternative. Of course, site speed is just as important for desktop users, Cutts asserts.

If marketers suspect they are losing visitors to slow loading custom content, there are a number of steps they can take. Brafton’s Content Marketing Strategist Wilfred Hirst wrote a blog walking marketers through site speed audits and which actions they can take to pick up the pace.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.