Get Your Website Ready for Google’s Speed Update
Your website looks gorgeous and has engaging content designed to turn casual visitors into loyal customers. That’s great and all, but Google requires more.
It’s not enough for your website to be helpful or pleasant to look at.
It has to be fast, too.
On July 9, 2018, Google rolled out a new “Speed Update” that will include page speed as a factor when ranking mobile search results.
The Google Speed Update Defined
Page speed has been a ranking factor in desktop search results for quite a while. It shouldn’t be surprising that Google is now using the same process for mobile search results.
According to a recent study, 63% of online traffic comes from mobile visitors and 53% of those visitors exit a page if it takes more than three seconds to load. These numbers tell us two things:
- Most users look for information on mobile devices.
- They don’t have a great deal of time or patience.
Google’s blog states that this update will affect a small percentage of websites. In short, only the websites with slow loading speeds will go down in the search rankings.
What will happen to your website’s ranking?
The answer depends on two major factors–content and page speed.
Content remains Google’s main priority when determining a website’s ranking. However, great content alone isn’t going to be enough anymore.
For example, two websites have equally amazing content on Web Development. They both have in-depth articles on a variety of topics. The only difference is, Website A loads slower than Website B.
Which website do you think will rank higher on mobile search results?
That’s right. Website B.
The faster website with great content will win. Every single time.
Here’s How You Can Improve Your Page Speed
Use Google’s suggested tools to determine your page speed.
Do a little research first before you decide what to do. Google suggested two tools you can use to check if your website is fast enough or not.
PageSpeed Insights is a free tool that tells you how fast your website is using data from actual Chrome users. It gives you suggestions for improvement.
After you open the tool, you have to enter your website’s URL. It will then populate results for you.
Lighthouse is the second tool recommended by Google. It’s often used by web developers to improve the performance of web pages.
This tool is quite similar to PageSpeed Insights, but it’s more technical and is not recommended for people who don’t know much about web development.
Review your image sizes.
Image size is a huge reason why some websites take longer than necessary to load.
Before uploading an image, make sure to check its file size and dimensions. How an image looks on your website and how big its file size is are two different things.
If you upload an image that’s too big, reducing the size of the image on your website will not reduce the file size.
Make it a habit to check your images’ file sizes and optimise them before you upload. There are plenty of programs online that enable you to resize several images at once, saving you a lot of time.
Make sure your content is relevant.
Let me repeat this for you in case you forgot.
Content is still Google’s number one priority in terms of search ranking.
Whether it’s for desktop or mobile, your website’s speed won’t matter if the content isn’t relevant to what users are looking for.
Sure. Take the necessary precautions to make your website faster, but never forget about content. It has to be helpful, engaging and convincing enough to make people want to read it.
Your content can’t just be as good as what’s found on other search results. It has to be better because it’s going to set you apart from the similar websites that load as fast as yours.
Remove unnecessary elements from your website.
Your website should only contain the necessary elements.
Does your About page really need ten photos from last year’s Christmas party? Could you replace them with a single photo that still reflects how family-friendly your business is?
Will removing a text logo change a first-time visitor’s overall impression of your brand? If the answer’s no, you can go ahead and remove it.
Now is the time to think like a minimalist.
If it’s not helping your brand or converting visitors into customers, then it’s slowing your website down. Get rid of it.
Reach out to a web developer.
There are plenty of steps you could take on your own to increase your website’s loading speed. But at the end of the day, will you be able to measure how effective those steps are?
If PageSpeed Insights recommends “minifying your HTML” or reducing server response time, will you be able to do that on your own?
When something as important as your website’s Google mobile search ranking is on the line, you need a professional to help. Sure, you’re probably smart enough to sort it out eventually but by that time, your competitors have jumped ahead and you’ll be playing catch up.
Cornerstone Digital Marketing is a web development company in Sydney that can walk you through all the steps mentioned in this article and more. We’ll make sure your website loads faster than your competitors’, so you can focus on serving your customers.
Google’s Mobile Speed Update doesn’t have to be a negative thing for your business’s website.
As long as you improve your mobile page speed and create relevant content, you can rise in Google’s mobile search results.
Measure your website’s performance using PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse, so you know which action steps to take.
Optimise the size of your images without sacrificing quality.
Examine your website’s elements, and see if they’re necessary for achieving your digital marketing goals.
Reach out to a web developer when you feel like you’re out of your depth.
Cornerstone Digital’s team of web developers in Sydney would be happy to discuss how to improve your page speed with you. Talk to us today. Call us on (02) 8211 0668 or email us at [email protected]
Jason is a Web Developer at Cornerstone who appreciates building websites that delight and inform. He is a curious person, and enjoys work that challenges him to learn something new and stretch in a different direction.