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SEO: Is Google about to relegate you to the slow lane? feb18

Page speed is now a ranking factor – is your business in Google’s firing line?

Well it was bound to happen. To encourage better mobile website design, Google just announced speed is now a ranking factor for SEO and slow websites are about to get relegated. Here is everything you need to know about page speed.

“… if Google fails to rank you, don’t expect customers.”

What is Page Speed?

Page speed can be defined as the time the page needs to load completely. In other words, it is the time your browser takes to receive the last byte of the information necessary to render the page. The speed of the page depends on various things such as the file size, design and your web hosting provider.

Why Is Page Speed Is Important?

Statistics indicate the slow websites lose significant sales revenues. The speed of a web page has a direct impact on viewer experience, impatience due to page load effects visitor conversions. Page speed also effects your Google ranking. The search engine will penalise slow load speeds by ranking your website lower in the search engine results pages, so the faster a website the more sales conversions it can expect. If you want me to spell that out… if Google fails to rank you, don’t expect customers.

Tips to speed things up…

There are various ways to improve the speed and the resulting SEO of your page. Here are some of the tips…

Free Tools to test your website speed

Google: Test your mobile speed

Pingdom : Website speed test

GTMetrix: Analyze your site’s speed

“… if Google fails to rank you, don’t expect customers.”

Remove the rubbish?

On your opening page you need to encourage people to shop, the easiest way to do that is clear and simple navigation, send them quickly and visually to the section they are looking for, less is more, make your pages with a classic simple design. Too many photos or content slows down a web page.

Compress all images and video?

I can’t specify this enough, make sure all images are compressed as much as possible. For graphic files use a .png format and I find photos are best compressed as jpegs. The better the compression of visuals throughout the website the faster your site will be. This is good SEO, Google will reward you and your visitors will thank you, especially those using smart phones.

P.S. make sure and label all images using the ‘Alt’ tags for even better SEO results.

“… what is cheap hosting? If you have to ask you probably have it already..”

Activate AMP

The AMP project by Google (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is designed to boost page speed across the web. Google has a focus on mobile devices as statistics indicate more people are searching the web now on phones and tablets. This is an effective way to give your mobile site an effective speed boost. Google doesn’t consider AMP as a ranking factor, however news sites with amp feature regularly now on the top of page results.

Did you know you can compress your website code?

To improve the page speed, you should compress the size of the HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. There are plenty of free sites online that will do this for you, some web hosts are now offering as part of premium packages.

Don’t buy cheap ‘shared’ hosting

What is cheap hosting? If you have to ask you probably have it already. Do some research, pick a fast reliable hosting company that makes speed and security it’s highest priorities. Make sure the servers are not too far from your customers. For example our customers tend to be in Ireland or mainland Europe, so we have most of our SSD servers in London and Amsterdam. The ideal server response time is less than 200 milliseconds. For improving the response time, you should focus on the holdups of performance such as slow routing, lack of enough memory and slow database queries. SSD drives for both files and databases works well, also make sure your database and files are in the same data centre.

Remove unnecessary plugins and theme files

Many websites install a plug-in from time to time they end up not using, make sure and de-activate these as they may load anyway whether you use them or not. These will overwhelm mobile devices in particular and may present minor conflicts that don’t effect the site but do impact on speed.

Remember a website can’t be too fast, but it can be too slow for Google. Protect your investment, keep an eye on the speed.