Google is placing more emphasis on site speed in its rankings and, according to a new study, consumers abandon slow loading pages in droves, making a quick delivery of content essential to online marketing success, according to one expert.

Kristina Knight of BizReport said that a recent study by Akamai showed that 40 per cent of visitors to a website will go elsewhere if it takes more than three seconds to load.

The findings come after Google announced earlier this month that it will give more prominence to the time it takes a site to respond to users’ requests when determining positions in its search results.

On its official blog, the company said: "We encourage you to start looking at your site’s speed … not only to improve your ranking in search engines, but also to improve everyone’s experience on the internet."

Ms Knight said that a report from TagMan indicates that some sites are slowed down by the number of tags they include to track the effectiveness of their online marketing services, with some sites carrying up to four per page.

The firm’s general manager Jon Baron said that even a delay of one second in loading times can cost a website around ten per cent of its traffic.

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