We develop new websites which have a great page speed score, because with the Mobile-First Index (more on that later), it’s more important now than ever for your website to have a fast response time. Having a fast loading website isn’t just important to your SEO, it’s crucial to user experience. We’ve broken down different reasons as to why Page Speed and overall site speed is important for your website and what you can do to make it even faster!
Google Mobile-First Index
26/03/2018 - A Statement from Google
“Today we’re announcing that after a year and a half of careful experimentation and testing, we’ve started migrating sites that follow the best practices for mobile-first indexing.”
So, what is the mobile first index?
The mobile-first index means Google switches the primary source for content and information architecture to mobile - compared to the traditional method of indexing your website based on desktop user experience. We wrote about this back in January, so if you’d like to further fuel your brain, you can check it out here.
Right now, you might be asking “Why is the New Google Mobile Index important to page speed?” Well, let us enlighten you. When Google first announced that it would be rolling out a Mobile First Index, they also announced that page speed would now be a ranking factor. With mobile browsing continuing to grow, it’s important that your website is not only mobile responsive but has good page speed.
“According to Google the average time it takes for a mobile landing page to load is now 22 seconds. Compare that with the three seconds visitors need to decide if they want to stay for your page to load and you will see a huge discrepancy.” - YOAST
This leads us nicely on to…
The recommended load time for any given web page is 2 seconds or less. Anything more than that and the risk of someone bouncing straight from your website increases. This can also have an impact on your SEO. If more people are bouncing from your website, then Google might deem your website as irrelevant to the keyword you’re appearing for. You want the user to stick around, engage with your brand and browse the site. It is one thing being in a queue in a super market but quit another when consuming digital, people will just not wait!
So, if a visitor can’t get what they’re looking for quickly, then the chances are they’ll go elsewhere to find it faster.
Speed in Google’s Algorithm
Google has indicated that site speed is a signal used by their algorithm, across desktop and mobile. If this is something Google is using when ranking pages, then it’s just as important as your content and technical SEO elements. With the Mobile First Index rolling out, which considers page speed, your site needs to be fast, effective and deliver everything the user needs, in a matter of seconds. It may seem daunting, and you may be confused as to what you need to do.
Don’t worry, we’re not going to tell you why you need to do it and not help you out. We are the Guardians of your Digital Galaxy after all and we’re here to make your digital life better.
What can you do?
Page speed insights
Assessing where you are regarding your website speed, is relatively easy. Google have developed an online tool which gives you an overall score on the speed of any given page on your website across mobile and desktop AND offers solutions. Essentially, a lot of the work is given to you on a plate! You simply download the folder given at the bottom of the page, which contains compressed files, and reupload where applicable to your website page. This includes compression of large image files, CSS and Java Script. Fixing image size on your website is a quick win and easy and will deliver results swiftly.
The scenario is all too familiar. You take a beautiful image or find the perfect stock image to use on your website, so you upload it and instantly your website looks that little bit more stunning. However, there’s a step you should’ve taken in between… compression. A large image file could result in your page speed being slower, as it needs to download the image. Compression doesn’t mean you’ll lose the quality of your image, it just means it’s that little bit smaller and can download a lot quicker! It’s a easy fix. We know how important image size is, so we’ve built this into Jolojo. When you upload an image, it’s automatically compressed to the optimum size and then rolled out across tablet and mobile, so it’s one less thing you need to worry about.
The platform you’ve built your website on may be the reason your load time is a little slower. The CMS you pick to build your website on is critical to it’s performance, speed and functionality. Before taking the plunge and picking just any old platform, do your research and read about the pros and cons of different platforms. You don’t want to be caught out when your website goes live!
Use a CDN
A CDN is a content delivery network. It works by delivering a copy of your websites content to a network which is remote to the servers. This makes it faster to pick up the data when requested by any given viewer. A CDN only loads the core dynamic html and leave all the static content behind. With less information to provide, the load time is consequently less.
Assess whether your current host is working for you
If your website speed is slow, it may be an issue with your current host. To determine whether your host is correct for your website, you need to consider whether it has the capacity to successfully deal with the size of your website. If you’re not sure if you’ve chosen the right host for your website, you can check out this awesome article by “hosting advice” on things you should consider when choosing your host. http://www.hostingadvice.com/how-to/how-to-choose-a-web-host/
So really, now is the time to be really cracking down on your page speed and overall site speed. The speed in which your website performs is crucial to not only user experience, but your SEO. With the new mobile first index rolling out, making sure your website is fully responsive, relevant and fast to use on mobile (and desktop), has never been more important.