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Opinion

Google Updates July 2018 – Speed Will Impress

By 6th April 2018 No Comments

6th April 2018

Google Updates July 2018 – Speed Will Impress

Hannah Horton Digital Campaign Manager at Edson Evers

Hannah Horton

Retro car speedometer

Speed isn’t always something to boast about (just ask Keanu Reeves), but in the digital sphere it most certainly is. In July this year, Google will be rolling out an update that will see page speed become a ranking factor in mobile search results.

This announcement doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as site and page speed have been factors in the desktop algorithm for quite some time. Alongside the fact that mobile is the interface of choice for internet usage across many industries, you can understand what’s driving Google to make the update.

So, how can you prepare for this change? It will only impact the slowest pages as Google will apply the same standard to all, so don’t worry – you don’t need to go and overhaul your entire website (unless of course every page is slow to load!) However, you should be analysing your pages and considering user experience, especially on your slowest loading pages.

Here’s some Top Tips for improving mobile page speed. You might need a helping hand from a developer to achieve some of the following, but at least you’ll know the questions to ask:

  1. Optimise – ensure that your web pages are mobile optimised and assess the content being loaded; if you’re loading a lot of images or videos, are they necessary? Are the images compressed?
  2. Build Mobile pages – AMPs (Accelerated Mobile Pages) can drastically improve user experience because it’s designed to load quickly on mobile, being a basic page, that contains no complex coding or forms.
  3. Switch up the backend for faster page loading – Load the Javascript after the page content, to allow the page to load quicker.
  4. Make it mini – minify your code to speed up loading; the more lines of code there are to be read, the slower the load time.
  5. Assess your server response time – it’s recommended that the time to first byte should take no longer than 200 milliseconds.
  6. Use free tools – free-to-use tools such as Page Speed Insights can help quantify the progress you make and benchmark it against competitor speeds.

This focus on speed doesn’t overrule the fact that content in king. Even slower-loading pages will rank if the content is relevant to the user query – it just may not be as competitive.

Is the update just about mobile page speed?

No, the other big change regards website security. From July, Google Chrome will also be marking all sites that are not HTTPs (HTTPs is where the data being transferred between your browser and website page is encrypted) as “not secure”. If your website has “HTTP” at the beginning of the URL when it loads (not “HTTPS”), you should speak to your developer about getting an SSL certificate, otherwise, you may notice your website visitor figures dip. This is especially important as web users become more aware than ever on issues of privacy, data and online security.

Need more advice on page and site speed, or after some more general digital marketing support? Contact us today!

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