Why You Need To Improve Your Websites Page Loading Speed
Why You Need To Improve Your Websites Page Loading Speed
In case you are unaware, Google has now officially told us that website speed is going to become a major ranking factor in July this year. To some website owners this is a shock, however, it’s really been common knowledge for a while.
Read the Google Update here https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2018/01/using-page-speed-in-mobile-search.html
The reason it’s now become more important is that in July this year Google is moving towards a Mobile-first index.
Googles Move to Mobile-first Index in 2018 and what it will mean for your business.
“To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first. Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results. Of course, while our index will be built from mobile documents, we’re going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices.”
Taken from the Google Blog November 04, 2016 – Give it a read.
OK, the first point, what some or most businesses owners won’t be aware of is that there are 2 Google bots, one that is for desktop searches and one for Mobile searches. Desktop SERP’s (search engine results pages) and Mobile SERPS and actually ranked differently and are based on different factors.
Currently, it’s probably 50/50 between the two bots as to what is served up at times. However, in 2018 Google is shifting its index to MOBILE FIRST. Which means that your ranking on the Mobile SERP’s will determine your desktop ranking.
Why is Google making this switch, well, because they care about their users, and only want to offer the best user experience. Googles goal here is the serve the entire search index to represent the majority of Google’s user devices, which is of course Mobile. It’s a solid move from Google with about as much as 80% of searches happen on Google coming from a mobile smartphone.
Prioritising Mobile Sites VS Non-Mobile
So what is basically happening is, there will be some basic checkboxes required for your website to be deemed “mobile friendly”, those who don’t comply, will pretty much drop in rankings as other sites that are mobile friendly get a boost. Also, depending on what the query asked is, if Google deems it to be a Mobile query, like ringtone, games, wallpapers, news etc, it will make sure mobile pages are ranked first.
So it’s really important to know your audience here, check Google Analytics and find out what device your website is getting more hits on, Mobile or Desktop.
Here’s a horrible scenario, your audience’s main device is a desktop, and you understand that and make sure you offer the best desktop experience for your users. And in doing so, you decide to neglect mobile and fail to offer up Google a mobile-friendly website. Why would you? Your users hit your website using a desktop mainly right? Now because of this, your competitors who are offering Google a mobile site start to rank above you on the Mobile SERP’s. Slowly you start to drop down the desktop rankings…… how is life with the tumbleweeds on Page 2, don’t think anyone’s looked there since ‘99.
Traffic is the lifeblood of your business online, don’t let something as simple as offering a mobile-friendly site up to Google to index make all the lights turn red and bring everything to a halt.
Steps to take to improve Mobile Friendliness
One main area is Page Speeds. Use the Google Page speed test to see find out the areas you need to improve, this will nearly always be Images being far too big.
Page speeds – https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
Mobile friendly –https://testmysite.withgoogle.com
User experience – Don’t you just hate when you land on a website on your phone, and you have to zoom in just to read the text or make the button big enough the click. This usually results in people leaving your site and increasing your bounce rate, which isn’t good, oh and you just lost a customer.
Mobile Responsiveness, Mobile Website, AMP
Generally, if you use WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Shopify, they automatically make your website responsive, people mistake this for a mobile site, it’s not, it’s just mobile responsive, but there’s nothing wrong with it at all.
A dedicated mobile website is a totally different thing altogether. This is a different version of the website that you serve up to google that is designed specifically for mobile devices.
AMP, accelerated mobile pages, are stripped down versions of your pages, no images, just the information needed, they load ultra-fast and give you a cool logo in the SERPS’s.
Making sure navigation make sense. Menus that extended down the length of the page when you click on them aren’t what we want. Get feedback from your users, and find out if they feel the navigation is too tricky or could be improved.
Minimal scrolling, make sure the information you are wanting your user to see is the first thing they see, so there is as little scrolling around as possible.
Top light, bottom heavy. This relates to the above point and to page speeds. Get all the mumble jumble down the bottom. You want Google to load and render your page as fast a possible. Get only what you need at the top, the heavy stuff can load down the bottom of the page.
This has even greater significance on a mobile device than a desktop. You get ads, maps, then number 1 – 10 results. That’s a lot of scrolling for some people. So taking the number one position has greater importance.
Building a Google mobile website, understanding your users, mobile queries and serving to that data. Along with a solid backlinking and SEO strategy, will give you best chance of getting there.
Take Away Points
Use https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ to get your page speeds and areas to improve
Use test my mobile https://testmysite.withgoogle.com, to determine mobile friendliness – AIM for 3 greens.
CTR and bounce rate data is used to determine rankings in smartphone results.
Slow load times are multiplied by mobile devices meaning increased bounce rate.
The first position matters more.
Local on mobile is more important, so domains with more local intent are more likely to appear in in results.
Use the robot.txt testing tool to verify that your mobile version of your site is accessible to Googlebot, that is if you serve up a different version from your desktop website.
Get in touch and I can take care of all of this for you. Email me at email@example.com
Alasdair Walker – Founder Ocean One SEO Services