Google is the judge and jury when it comes to how well your website performs in terms of search rankings, so it pays to keep on top of the constant algorithm changes Google makes in order to deliver what it believes to be the best search results at any given time. One of these was Fred, introduced earlier this year to target low-value content.
Another recent change made by Google is a new ranking algorithm designed specifically for mobile search – and given that searches from mobile devices account for 57% of all traffic, the only surprising aspect of the change is that it has taken so long to happen.
Google has announced that the so-called “Speed Update” will only affect a small percentage of queries, with only pages that deliver the slowest experience to users being impacted. But given the fast growth in mobile browsing, we think it’s likely that the impact will broaden over time, so any website that isn’t delivering solidly when it comes to response times may be affected.
So what is page speed? In a nutshell it’s the time it takes to fully display the content on a specific page, although the time it takes for the first byte of information to be received is an important factor too. Page speed is uber-important when it comes to the user experience and pages that have a slow load time tend to have a higher bounce rate – so there’s another reason to ensure your site is operating efficiently.
According to Internet guru Neil Patel and Kissmetrics:
- 73% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that was too slow to load
- 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less
- 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load
- A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions
There are lots of tricks to increase your page speed and here at Broadcast SEO we know them all, so don’t forget to take a look at our SEO services if you need some advice (and remember your website’s rankings depend on lots of factors, not just speed). Here are some of the ways we work to optimise your site:
Naturally if you’ve got whopping great images liberally sprinkled throughout your page, it’s going to impact on how quickly that page loads. But by using compression techniques we can optimise the file size and reduce the page load time.
There’s a science behind mobile optimisation and it includes redirects. It’s important to ensure you only have one redirection in the chain (from your site to the mobile version of it) but depending on the architecture used, some websites can have several redirects in place before the user hits your mobile rendering.
Whatever code is driving your website, if unnecessary characters or comments have crept in, your load time will be impacted. As changes happen to your website over time, some code is likely to no longer be used, so cleaning that out will also make a big difference.
Make full use of browser caching
It’s a good idea to set an expiration date of around 12 months for your cache so that when a visitor returns to your site, the browser doesn’t have to go through the process of reloading the entire page.
In the interests of keeping this blog to a reasonable length, we haven’t described everything that can be done to increase page speed, but other strategies include:
- Minimising HTTP requests
- Asynchronous loading of files
- Reducing server response time and choosing the right hosting solution
- Database indexing
Getting great search ranking is a complicated business, so it’s important your website is built with search engine optimisation at the forefront, including factors such as website design, keyword usage and relevance, content appropriateness, and links from external sites. If you need a hand, we’re always happy to help – why not get in touch today so we can tell you just how optimised your website really is.