Google are now Using Page Speed as a Major Factor for Ranking Mobile & Tablet Websites
Back in January 2018, Google announced that later in the year it would be adding a ‘Speed Update’ to its ranking criteria. On 9th July the ‘Speed Update’ came into effect and immediately started to impact SEO rankings as a result.
So what does the ‘Speed Update’ refer to? It’s about the speed at which website pages load for mobile users. Until July 2018 Google only ranked speed on desktop searches, but now fast, mobile-optimised sites are considered an essential mark of quality for SEO rankings.
Why Is Mobile Optimisation Important?
In 2017 Google carried out research into mobile page speeds. The average time for loading was 22 seconds, which if you’re waiting to pay a bill or to look up a film review can feel like a lifetime. They found that most visitors to websites will leave if the page takes longer than 3 seconds to load which, when you consider that over half of all web traffic comes via mobile, means a lot of potential customers could be lost that way.
The ‘Speed Update’ is Google’s way of getting site owners to tidy up the speed on their mobile offering. Imagefix offers a number of ways to help website owners with this:
- Optimisation of Images – Google’s research found that large images are the major offenders when it comes to slow mobile speeds. At Imagefix we automatically compress all images when designing websites. If you have a site where the images have yet to optimised, you could immediately speed up desktop and mobile loading by reducing the size of them.
- Effective Caching – Cached sites deliver a better service to mobile users by delivering static copies of pages rather than sending queries back and forth to the database; they also reduce the load on your server. Static files load faster, please customers, and improve your ranking. Imagefix uses caching plugins such as WP Fastest Cache, WP Rocket and W3 Total Cache to manage this aspect of your site. We will test to find which is best and then configure it to maximise the potential speed increase
- Minification – ‘Minification’ refers to the compression of JS and CSS files and it’s an excellent way to reduce mobile load times. When designing websites for mobile responsiveness we utilise a plugin which enable us to retain control over what we do with each file, whilst offering instantly enhanced loading speeds.
- Optimising Your WP Database – During the creation of your WP website, a database is created simultaneously to store information such as comments, blog posts, pingbacks, drafts etc. The information stored grows with each plugin installed, which means that effective WP database management is needed to clear out the dead data, or ‘bloat’. Once the database is leaner, your pages will run faster.
- GZip Compression – When a visitor opens your website on their mobile a call is sent to your server to provide the appropriate files. If those files are large is will take longer to deliver them to their mobile screen. To solve this problem we use GZip which compresses the files before returning them to the browser, significantly reducing the time it takes to open them.
- Ongoing Management of Plugins – It’s tempting to take advantage of far too many plugins when building a WordPress site, because they’re free and there’s so many of them to choose from! Without effective management, updates and judicious purges they can be a real drain on your site speed. We audit all the plugins your site uses, update regularly, and clean out inactive or defunct ones.
- Lightweight Themes Save Loading Time – Professional web design is all about determining what the site needs to do, and then finding a theme which offers the required features whilst delivering a lean framework that will provide optimum loading speeds. We will always balance need, design and delivery when creating a site that suits the specific needs of our clients.
- Video Management – A recent survey of online retailers found that the inclusion of video on their websites increased their conversion rate significantly. We encourage the use of video but would always recommend storing your video with YouTube or Vimeo and linking to them from your website. Storing video on your WP database uses a huge amount of space and slows down loading times dramatically.
- Treat Your HomePage Like Your Shop Window – The priority for mobile loading speed is your home page which is where most of your visitors will land first. We always work with clients to reduce the features and blog posts included on their home page in order to ensure super quick loading. We recommend a clean looking homepage which focuses on content rather than features, in order to look good and load quickly.
- Testing for Speed – Every time we make adjustments designed to improve the loading speed of your website, we will always carry out tests to check that it has had the desired effect. We use a range of tools in order to cross-check the results for accuracy; these include GTmetrix, Pingdom and Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
Every website design we create for clients is 100% mobile responsive, which means it has been exhaustively tested for optimum loading speeds. At Imagefix we believe in delivering the very best SEO rankings on every website. To do that we use a range of tools designed for speed enhancement, as well as our decades of experience, to maintain excellent ROI and maximum conversion rates for all our customers.
Do you need help increasing the page speed of your website? Get in touch with friendly customer service team today on 01525 715608!