Page Speed has played a major role in search engines on desktops since 2010. But, since the huge increase in users viewing websites on mobiles and tablets, Google has acknowledged the importance of page speed for them as well. So, what does this mean for both businesses and users? In short, since the update in July 2018, businesses will have to ensure their mobile website is fast enough for a positive user experience. If the mobile site's page speed isn't addressed, ranking well on Google will be a much more difficult task.
What is the update's effect?
The update currently affects only pages that provide the slowest speeds, along with affecting a small number of queries. Google has stated it concerns all pages, no matter the make of the page. However, they have additionally said a slow page could still rank, when it's relevant to the search query and if it features high-quality content.
As well as this, SEO specialists who manage websites and its pages will notice the insight layout for speed has changed. The structure of insights now means pages score based on speed and optimisation, not just things like compression, redirects and so on. In short, Google now measures where you rank using data from the field (users), rather just from your website data. This therefore requires businesses to fully optimise their website to make it quicker, otherwise that 'field' data will never improve, nor will your website's ranking position.
Understanding your website needs optimisation for better speed, especially after this update for mobiles, will seriously help towards getting those all important conversions. So, how can a business best optimise their website for speedy loading times?
Your optimisation checklist
Firstly, test your mobile page's loading speed times, as this outlines requirements for improvement. If you pair PageSpeed Insights with your URLs, monitoring and optimising your pages will be far easier. After undergoing the tests, to identify the areas that need work, you should carry out the following checklist:
- Make sure each page doesn't have more than one redirect - this involves 301's and 302's. Along with this, the redirects should support GoogleBot (Google's search engine crawler).
- Compress all content where possible, ensuring reduced file sizes. In addition to this, remove data when and where possible if unnecessary.
- Make use of a cache policy, which helps control how long responses are cached by browsers.
- Ensure the response time for your servers is <200ms.
- Optimise your CSS and images on your website. To do this, you should delete anything unnecessary, avoid encoding text on images, choose small raster formats as long as it doesn't affect quality and resize images to fit displays.
- If you haven't already made a mobile version of your website, do this.
It's so important website owners and businesses implement mobile optimisation. Recent research shows that more than half of mobile visits are abandoned, due to slow page loading times. If you are unsure of how to carry out the checklist above, consider contacting us today. We provide free website audits, which include testing page speeds.