Tag Archive for: Mobile Site Speed

Does Website Speed Impact Search Ranking

If you’ve just recently started up a website or even a partner site, and you’re not getting the kind of traffic you want, you may find yourself wondering “does website speed impact search ranking?” Search engines like Bing and Google have a checklist of things that they look for and evaluate when organizing the most relevant results, which is what determines the search ranking, and therefore the order of the websites listed after a search is performed. If you would like to stay at the top of searches, it’s important you know about how website speed can impact search ranking- and what to do about it.

Website Speed and You

Put simply, website speed (or more accurately, page loading speed) refers to the time it takes for a webpage to load. The speed at which the pages of a website load can be affected by a number of factors, including, but not limited to the level of content, the form the content takes, and the processing power behind the website itself. Typically, it is measured in one of two ways- either by the time it takes a single page to load fully, or the time it takes for the browser to receive the first byte of data from the server.

website speed

Website Speed and Search Ranking

Website speed does impact search ranking; reports indicate that both Google and Bing (and a lot of other search engines) include website speed via a number of criteria, as one of the factors influencing search rating. Knowing this, it’s important to optimize your website to increase page loading speed in order to rank as high as possible. If you are unaware of where your website stands in terms of speed, there are a number of tests to determine how efficient your website is. Put simply, faster is better. Always.

Are there any Drawbacks to a Slow Website?

As technology advances, and more and more information can be shared via Internet connection, access to this network is expected as a convenience- especially in terms of mobile culture. In fact, while the page loading speeds of both desktop and mobile devices are both important, the mobile loading speed is the more important criterion of the two.

What Does This Mean for Businesses and Potential Customers?

Why does this matter from a business end? Snap decisions. Impulse buys. When people are using mobile devices, they are looking for convenience, are likely on the move- which means they are interested in making a decision, but they need a little more knowledge to make that decision. And when people are looking for answers, they want to be able to make an informed decision quickly. Regardless of the information available on a website, if it takes an abnormally long time (more than two seconds, typically) for that information to load, a potential visitor will likely lose patience. When it comes to relaying information, speed is king. A slow website will cost you business, directly through customers who ‘walk away’, and indirectly through a lower position on search rankings.

How to Improve Website Speed (and Positively Impact Search Ranking)

There are a number of things that you can do to improve the speed of your website. In general, you want to ensure that all of the content on each page is completely relevant, without being frivolous and over the top. Everything in its place. Everything serving a purpose. Once you’ve determined what content you absolutely need, it’s time to optimize that content. For starters, it helps to streamline your code, making it as efficient as possible by removing unnecessary characters. From there, you can enable file compression on certain code files over 150 bytes. You’ll also want to cut down on needless redirects between domains within your website- take the most direct route possible when transferring from one page to another.

In the same vein, it makes sense to trim down on pages you don’t need for the website. From a server standpoint, it makes sense to optimize by adding more memory and better software, things which will better allow your server (and thus your webpage) to handle larger levels of traffic.

The End Result

In summation, website speed (page loading speed) will most definitely negatively impact search ranking. Fewer customers will see your site and therefore it will be less popular; search engines will see how slow it is, as well as how infrequently it is visited, and rank it lower- it’s a vicious cycle.
To avoid this, it’s crucial to maintain a good website speed as part of the SEO process. First, determine your website’s speed via testing; from there, troubleshoot potential causes, including bottlenecks and redundancies, that can impact search ranking. Afterwards, be sure to maximize your website’s efficiency streamlining your code and your systems and filtering out anything that is unnecessary.

10 Tips To Optimize Mobile Site Speed

Will you lose customers while your mobile pages slowly load, or will you gain loyal followers as you optimize mobile site speed? The choice is yours, but Google plans to add mobile website speed to SERP ranking, so wise businesses are moving to optimize mobile site speed now. The majority of consumers are mobile and they expect mobile sites to be quickly accessible, some experts say within one second. Follow these steps to appease the need for speed (and overall responsive web design).

Minimize to optimize mobile site speed

1. Minimize image size

Images take longer to load than text, so make sure your image size matches the available space. Reduce the image resolution as much as you can without sacrificing quality. Crop images for a perfect fit, and compress them with a jpeg type file.

2. Minify resources

To minify, you delete or compress unneeded resources while maintaining processing efficiency. This refers to code and formatting in the form of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Google Developers recommend a range of tools and server modules to address minification and help you optimize mobile site speed.

3. Reduce blocking JavaScript and CSS

The initial render should only use JavaScript and CSS files necessary for loading above the fold content, and defer the ones that block or reroute content. This allows viewers to immediately see the top part of your page while the rest of your page loads. Avoid or inline external files that send requests out to the network, as they eat up valuable time.

4. Slash and delay above the fold content

As mentioned above, initial content will load faster when there is less data involved. Consider saving images and other time grabbers for below the fold positions. Structure your website to load main content before widgets and sidebars to optimize mobile site speed.

5. Compress files

Smaller files mean faster network transfers, which will speed up loading times. Gzip can be enabled in the web server configuration, and accounts for up to 90% file size reduction. This leads to a quicker first render, and your viewers will use less data too.

6. Trim or omit video

Videos take up the most room on a website, and are the biggest culprits when pages load slowly. If video is not integral to your site, eliminate it completely. Other options include loading it in the background, or only running it on your desktop site. Some mobile sites use a call to action button that either links to a video hosting site like YouTube, or routes the video file to the user’s email address.

7. Remove redirects

Redirects require extra processing and delay page loading. An example is when a mobile viewer is sent to your desktop landing page and then redirected to your mobile landing page. Hosting your mobile and desktop sites in the same location is one way to address this. Many websites prefer using a responsive design that responds and changes to any size device screen to optimize mobile site speed.

Modification for optimization

8. Choose plugins wisely

Plugins can cause your mobile site to lag or crash, as well as induce security concerns. Not all plugins are well conceived, so select carefully. Take time to research and make sure the plugins you pick are up-to-date, have a lot of positive customer reviews, and have a high number of downloads (thousands are better than hundreds). Run tests to determine if a plugin affects your site speed, and weigh the pros and cons.

9. Enhance browser caching

Mobile caches cannot hold large amounts of content, and this slows down mobile site loading speed. All resources for your site should have a caching policy in place. This allows reusing of previous responses whenever possible, cutting down on retrieval time to optimize mobile site speed.

10. Utilize a CDN

A content delivery network (CDN) disperses the weight of your website across a network of servers around the world. Users receive your content from the server that is located closest to them. The shorter the distance between user and server, the faster your content loads.

Put your mobile site to the test

In addition to these steps, Google’s TestMySite online tool checks the mobile-friendliness, mobile speed and desktop speed of any website. The results include a number grade up to 100 for each of the three categories, and a list of fixes to optimize mobile site speed in that specific area. You can also request to receive the report via email.

Optimize Mobile Site Speed

Mobitest is another online tool for finding the speed of your site, and tests strictly for mobile. You can choose between several devices to test on: iPhone 5s, Galaxy S5 or iPad Air. Load time, page size, waterfall chart and screenshot are displayed on the results page.

GTMetrix tests the speed of your site on either Firefox (desktop) or a Galaxy Nexus (mobile). After registering, you can generate a performance report with percentages and letter grades for pagespeed score and YSlow score, as well as results for page load time and number of requests. GTMetrix also breaks down your performance scores into subcategories with suggestions for correcting low scores.

The average person uses a mobile device more than 150 times a day, and as mobile’s popularity continues to grow, so does the need to optimize mobile site speed. Reducing or eliminating some features, changing others, and periodically testing and updating your mobile site will keep it optimized. More than a “mobile friendly” site, you’ll have a mobile site built for speed.