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How Google's Page Speed Update Impacts Mobile Search Rankings

What Is the Google “Speed Update”?

We like to talk about all the news here at CODE and that includes stuff that’s already happened! There’s so much going on all the time and we want to make sure there’s content available to you on as much of the important stuff as possible.

With that in mind, I think it’s important we talk a little about Google’s announcement that page speed is now a new mobile ranking factor. Page speed has been a ranking factor since 2009. It’s now officially including mobile rankings. Google announced this back in January and the update went live in July 2018.

Google’s “Speed Update” will only impact pages that “deliver the slowest experience to users”. Google says it will look at how fast your mobile pages are and use that as a ranking factor in mobile search. This has been promised for years and it is finally here. It’s time to ensure your site is optimised if you haven’t done so already!

What Google recommends is that you use the new updated PageSpeed report and tools like LightHouse to measure page speed and make improvements.

Here are some tips to improve your site’s speed:

Optimise Your Images

A very common reason for slow page load speeds are images that have not been compressed before they are uploaded to your website. This means more data for users to download resulting in slower websites. This will have a negative impact on your SEO ranking and User Experience. Reduce the image data size by compressing them and ensure you're using jpg or png.

Leverage Browser Caching

Browser caching is another great way to reduce page load speeds. This allows your website files to be stored by the users browser so that the next time they load your website it loads much faster.

Compress Codes

A great way to save server space and increase your website’s loading speed is to enable Gzip compression on your server. Just like compressing your files into a .zip file before emailing them to a colleague or client, the same can be done with the code files on your website. This small step could contribute to as much as 300% increase in page load speeds!

Improve Server Response Time

Long server response times can significantly impact your page load speeds. This is the time is takes for your website’s HTML document to load from your server. Speak to your website developer about checking this and make sure you’re using a quality website hosting provider that prioritises speed.

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Some Tips On Your Mobile SEO Strategy

Now that we’ve talked a bit about speeding up your website in general, there’s a few things you can focus on purely for your mobile strategy.

Consider Switching to AMP

AMP or “Accelerated Mobile Pages” is a stripped down version of your standard HTML page that loads specifically on mobile devices - fast. Initial Google testing showed that AMPs cut down load time between 15% and 85%. You will sacrifice some design aspects as an AMP page will strip down a lot of the visual elements presenting the most essential aspects of your page in order to reduce load speed. But that reduction could have a big impact on usability and SEO.

Consider Intent and Purpose

Mobile searches tend to use shorter keyword queries than users on desktops do. Simply because mobile users don’t have a physical keyboard to type from. So make sure your SEO considers shorter keyword terms for mobile specific pages.

Review and Analyse

Use Google’s tools to analyse and review your page load speeds and SEO to see where you can improve. Too busy? Outsource! Contact an experienced business such as…. Hmmm… who can I think of…? :)

In Conclusion

Use Google’s tools to analyse and improve your page speeds. Speak to your developer and web host company about improving your website load times. Consider making the switch to AMP.

Contact Us - we’d be happy to help you with any development or website hosting requirements you might have. Drop us and line and ask us a question!

24th October 2018
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