Google Page Speed Update Coming July 2018

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

For anyone even passively keeping up with SEO trends, it can feel like Google is constantly throwing curveballs your way as they continuously update their algorithm. Every year, it seems like they add a dozen new ranking factors onto the list for website owners to check off in order to rank well in search results.

Google has indicated this incoming change by means of an official announcement where they stated: “Although speed has been used in ranking for some time, that signal was focused on desktop searches. Today we’re announcing that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.”

Coming in July 2018, Page Speed is one of those factors that will begin affecting your site’s ranking in new ways.

How Will This Impact Your Website Ranking?

On this one, Google has given website owners some of warning ahead of time. Although Google already has a separate Mobile Search Index, this specific change, has been indicated it will begin taking affect from July of this year, so you have time to prepare your content and optimize your site as much as possible.

In an effort to better serve the ever-growing number of people who browse in the internet from a mobile device, Google is making the move to give preference in mobile search results to websites whose pages load quickly on mobile.

The other part to this is that having a performant website on mobile helps to hugely improve the User Experience (UX) and as a result can increase user engagement and conversion rate.

What Can I Do About It?

This means it is now more important than ever to ensure your website is quick to load and render on mobile devices with small screens and slower or connections.

If you aren’t sure where you stand, you can use a free tools like Pingdom, Google Page Speed Insights or GTMetrix to test and quantify the mobile loading speed of any page on your site.

Admittedly, most of the changes that can be made are on the more technical side, and will likely require an experienced web-developer to help.

Some Technical Optimisations To Increase Site Speed

  • Optimise images for appropriate file type (eg using jpg for photo and vector images for shapes).
  • Ensure all raster (gif, jpg, png) images are compressed to a small size.
  • Make sure you’re using fast web-hosting from a good web-host.
  • If your site is using WordPress, configure a caching plugin to reduce PHP & MySQL execution.
  • Consider pointing your domain name NS to a CDN like Cloudflare to act as a cache/proxy to your website.
  • Ensure your website theme/template has it’s code optimized.
  • Reduce the use of 3rd party plugins – particularly RevSlider.

In response to this update, it is a great idea to start thinking about committing some resource to ensure your website more mobile-friendly overall, which not only means faster page loading speeds, but also: easy navigation on mobile devices, design elements aimed at mobile users, and a design that is usable at multiple screen sizes on multiple devices. Ultimately, this can lead to better achieving your online business goals.

Written by Keiran Reid from the Freeparking Web Hosting Team.

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Mark is the managing director of Avatar, a Christchurch-based web design and marketing company, that has served a wide range of clients in different industries.

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