Most marketers we are aware that website page speed is important. It’s obvious, but it’s rarely on the top of our to-do list. As long as pages are loading and they are not obviously sluggish, they’re OK, right? Who takes the time to actually measure page speed?
Well, Google does. And that means you should too, because page load times are important both for maintaining a strong ranking in Google search engine results pages (SERPs) and for providing a great experience for your users.
In July, the Google Speed Update for mobile page indexing goes live—and that has created a deadline for companies to (literally) get their sites up to speed.
Hasn’t Page Speed Always Been a Factor in Google Ranking?
Google has long recognized that page speed affects user experience and has included speed as a factor in its desktop indexing algorithm. With the Google mobile-first indexing initiative, mobile-friendly pages will be prioritized, and page speed will be a factor in Google search engine rankings for mobile search.
The Google Speed Update—the new ranking algorithm for mobile search—will go live in July 2018 and specifically addresses mobile page speed as a factor in ranking. Although Google emphasizes that it still prioritizes pages that provide highly relevant content and a superior user experience, the focus on mobile is an explicit priority.
Do We Have Enough Time to Improve Our Mobile Page Speed?
Yes. If you get going right away and you know the steps to take.
In fact, Refactored recently completed a full-site speed-optimization project. A client had experienced a reduction in site speed and ranking after a recent site redesign. When they asked us to investigate, we performed a quick measurement on PageSpeed Insights and found they had an optimization score of 54 (out of a possible 100).
In just two weeks, we were able to improve the mobile optimization score to 99 by implementing a series of optimizations including:
Adding canonical tags
Removing redundant images and styles from subfolders
Ensuring proper browser caching for images and CSS
Ensuring Canonicalized URLs were utilized in the Google sitemap xml file
If that list looks a bit technical—it is. But it’s familiar territory to an organization that builds highly optimized websites.
Where Do We Start?
Technical site optimization isn’t something to shy away from when you have a partner who knows the right steps to take.
First, even if you have already employed a mobile-responsive design, it’s important to objectively evaluate your mobile page load speeds. If they come up slow, you’ll want to optimize them now.
How do you measure page speed? The quickest way is to enter your pages into the Google PageSpeed Insights Tool, which returns a quick speed rating, optimization score and recommended optimizations.
You are shooting for a score around 93 or higher. Then, take your recommendations to your website development team and create a checklist of optimizations to apply across your site.
Refactored’s developers know all the ins and outs of technical site optimization and can provide objective insights. If we are hosting your site, we can perform your optimizations in a short time frame. If we’re not your provider, we can give your team what they need to complete the optimizations.
Most important, remember that you’re optimizing page speeds only partly for Google. The biggest benefits come from improving the experience your users will have on your site.
Want to learn more about how page speed optimizations
can benefit your business?
Check out Refactored’s eBook AMP up Your SEO Results. You’ll learn how adding Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) can deliver significant improvements in page load times—and the eBook includes a checklist of technical optimizations to improve overall site speed and enhance user experience on all platforms.