In Google’s Marketing Live 2018 event, Group Product Manager Jon Diorio said that as of a few weeks prior, the organic search engine team started factoring in page speed into the organic ranking algorithm.
That means that SEO efforts must fundamentally change. Why the push for page speed?
53% of visits are abandoned if a site takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Most businesses do not realize how much traffic they are losing with a slow website. Google wants a better user experience, and they’re making it a reality, especially for the mobile user, where slow sites are the most damaging to the user experience. Beyond organic rankings, you’re likely spending more in your Adwords campaigns if your page speed is bad. Page speed is a big factor of landing page experience, which is a big factor in your quality score.
“It pains me to see the number of advertisers who put all their effort into refining their targeting and optimizing their creatives, when their website takes 18-20 seconds to load, thereby killing any chance of conversion,” Diorio said.
How Do I Know How Fast My Site Is?
Fortunately, Google provides a few tools for that.
1. Google Analytics
There is an entire site speed section in Google Analytics, under the “Behavior” tab. We’d suggest using the “Speed Suggestions” tab to figure out load times, and what needs to be done to improve.
This is excellent for comparing your site to your competitors. That is really the measurement that matters most, since you’re going head-to-head with specific websites in most cases, not the entire internet. This is especially true for local businesses.
As a basic diagnostic tool, this is amazing. Google will even send you a detailed report of what you can change on your site to make it faster. Google really wants the internet to be faster.
What Are Common Issues?
The most common issues we see are images that are way too big, server response time issues, and CSS that isn’t properly compressed. Fortunately there are ways to deal with these issues even if you aren’t a programmer.
And if your page speed stinks, don’t worry, you’re not alone. According to Google, the average mobile page takes 15 seconds to load.
If you’re site is a WordPress site, there are plenty of great plugins for optimizing images, compressing code, and caching. For optimizing images, try to get each image below 100kb in size. Just for reference, most photos taken from smartphones these days are at least several megabytes. Reducing the file size of an image without wrecking the quality isn’t that complicated. Here is one way. Autoptimize is a popular, highly ranked WordPress plugin for optimizing CSS and caching.
What About AMP?
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are the future of faster internet. The average speed of AMP pages is 85% faster than standard mobile pages.
AMP pages are built with 3 core components:
- AMP HTML: AMP HTML is HTML with some restrictions for reliable performance.
- AMP JS: The AMP JS library ensures the fast rendering of AMP HTML pages.
- AMP Cache: The Google AMP Cache can be used to serve cached AMP HTML pages.
There are WordPress plugins that can convert pages to AMP pages. But this is definitely something your web team should be researching.
Watch the Marketing Live Video: