In the ever-shifting world of Google, nothing is safe. It’s many facets are constantly updating, upgrading, and keeping businesses on their toes. First, we brought you a blog post on SEO strategy changes to make in 2018, then we brought you guidance on how to combat a mobile site bounce rate, and now Google’s Speed Update seems to combine both of these into one nicely tied-up package. Google has been using page speed as a ranking factor for a while now, slowly making it a more important part of their algorithm. Starting this month, July 2018, Google is scheduled to introduce the long-awaited mobile-first indexing system. This will make optimising for mobile usability even more important, putting both your mobile and desktop rankings at risk of fluctuation.
Google continues to build its mobile-first index
Pleasing Google is something we all have to do, but if your mobile pages already load within 1 second then your ranking won’t be affected thankfully. Only pages that ‘deliver the slowest experience to users’ will be impacted and inevitably forced down the search pages. If you have a slow site, even the smallest changes could help. Within the industry it’s said that if your site takes more than 3 seconds to load you will lose nearly 70% of your potential traffic – which is a big loss for such a little amend.
Why is page load time important for SEO?
Keeping your bounce low is crucial
According to Google Guidelines, the chance of users bouncing from your site increases when the page load time moves from one second to three. Bounce rate is an important ranking factor, as it is practically a trust mark to Google. The less users bounce from your website, the more trusted your site is by Google and other search engines, giving you a ranking boost across the board. There’s no surprise that page speed and bounce rate go hand in hand – ensuring your website is quick to load is an essential part of the user journey.
Your users need information fast, and they want it now. According to a survey displayed by KissMetrics, a 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions, and 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. In Google’s quest to give its users what they’re looking for in the best way possible, which includes a precarious balance between quality content and fast loading speeds, it’s going to continue cracking down on slow mobile sites.
How to decrease your page load time
Make your images mobile friendly
One of the main culprits for bloating your mobile site is image sizes. Forcing mobile users to download desktop images when viewing your site will drastically increase the load time and will unnecessarily drain bandwidth of each user. Downsizing your images to more mobile-friendly sizes and resolutions rather than demanding patience while their cumbersome cousins load will make your page load faster and increase your chances of keeping your users’ interest.
Revamp with AMP
Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs), offer high-performing and effective looking blog and article pages across all devices. Designed to give mobile speed a significant boost, AMP pages create faster versions of your existing pages for distribution. They load nearly instantly, strip away bulky and unnecessary content, and allow for friction-free access. AMPs drastically lessen your load time on your mobile site, so slow sites utilising them will see their rewards. Whilst AMP pages look much plainer – usually containing just the company’s logo and no navigation, they are there for one purpose only – to conform to the mobile-first ranking system.
If you don’t have an optimised mobile site or your load time is excruciatingly long, then Google’s Speed Update should be shaking you into action. SEO is extremely valuable when done properly, and mobile-optimised sites and their load times should be forming a vital part of your website maintenance. If not, you could find yourself missing out on crucial click-throughs and conversions.