How important is loading time for law firm websites?

A computer monitor with an hourglass and gears.

The “loading time” on your law firm’s website matters a lot more than you might think—and only a matter of seconds can make a HUGE difference. Research from Google as far back as 2016 shows that, as page load time increases from 1 second to 5 seconds, the probability of bounce increases by 90%. And it gets worse as load times get slower:

  • 106% probability of bounce as loading time increases to 6 seconds
  • 123% probability of bounce as loading time increases to 10 seconds

Does that give you an idea of how important loading time is for your law firm’s website? We’ll get into this a little deeper below, but you should know that it’s not JUST potential clients bouncing away from your website that you have to worry about.  

At the end of 2020, Google announced that its new page speed criteria would go into effect in May of 2021. While Google has been interested in loading time for a long time, this shift makes it even more important for your website to load quickly. Fast websites will be favored in the ranking mix, and you’ll need to get your loading time under 3 seconds to avoid problems.

What does all that mean? While loading used to impact your rankings a little, it will soon impact your rankings A LOT. So, in terms of importance, it’s now up there with other major factors like backlink health and relevant content. 

Loading time isn’t the only measure of your website’s success. Check out the 5 most important metrics for your law firm website, or give us a call at 888.886.0938 for more answers about your website’s performance.

Why Do Visitors to My Law Firm’s Website Care About Loading Times and Page Speed?

Most of us perform at least a handful of Google searches each day. And most of us have clicked on a result only to be met with a blank or broken page that seems to be hung up while it loads. 

In that moment, how often do you wait for the page to load? How often do you instead click back to the search results to try a different page? Are you more or less patient with a page’s speed when you’re using your phone to view a website?

If you’re like most people, you probably click away pretty quickly. And, even if you don’t, you start your interaction with that website already frustrated. 

Your website is the first impression many of your potential clients will have of your law firm. If it loads so slowly that they get impatient, then they won’t see the experience you worked so hard to create. They won’t see your homepage or click through your compelling content. Instead, they won’t see anything but the “back” button as they click away to a faster competitor’s site. 

This is why your website’s loading time has such a big impact on your traffic, leads, and conversions. Even speeding it up by a second or two could have a dramatic effect!

Why Does Google Care About Page Speed?

Your potential clients aren’t the only ones paying attention to how fast your law firm website loads. Google wants to provide a good user experience for its own users, so it favors websites that will make users happy and helpfully answer their search queries. Law firms that provide a thoroughly excellent website user experience rise in the rankings; law firms that don’t will fall. 

While there are lots of facets to that “user experience” in Google’s eyes, page speed or loading time is a part of it. And, just like your potential clients, Google wants you to serve up website pages that quickly load and become interactive for the user. Google doesn’t want to send its users to slow sites that people get frustrated with and “bounce” away from—it’s not good for their own business!

While page speed has been a part of the ranking algorithm for a while, Google is putting much more weight on it in 2021. Starting in May, slow loading times will have a much bigger impact on your overall ranking than ever before. So, you need to take the speed of your website seriously!  

Get Back to the Basics With Your Ranking Factors 

Ultimately, Google rewards the things that make your website better for your perfect clients—and you can’t really go wrong with that. After all, Google has access to a huge amount of data about user behaviors online, and they set the pace for all things search-related. It’s up to you to use what they know to your advantage!

Nailing the new page speed criteria set by Google has everything to do with the foundation your website runs on and how you use and optimize the heftier elements on each page. And, since page speed isn’t the ONLY thing Google is looking at it, it’s also an excellent time to improve other core ranking factors, too. Remember, it’s not just fast sites that rise to the top of search; the real winners are fast sites that go the extra mile to give their “perfect clients” exactly what they want.   

Ready to get back to the basics and build a speedy site that delivers for YOUR perfect clients? Schedule a website design consultation with our team, or give us a call at 888.886.0939 with your questions. 

Gretchen Upright
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Chief Business Development Officer

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