It is a no-brainer to say that you must have online sites for your business because not only Google insists it but also because you can reach out the largest section of your target audience. As much important it is for your business to have a mobile site, it is equally important to be mindful of its performance. Performance especially relates to the speed of the websites as speedy websites are what both viewers and Google-like. Google is eager to provide the best experience to users and is now ready to include website speed as one of its ranking signals.
It is ready with Speed Update that is just about to roll out. For the first time, Google is linking mobile website speed to search results.
Speed is money
Speed is money in search engine marketing because higher ranks mean more traffic, more leads and more conversions. The result is more revenue, which is the reason for toiling so hard. Interestingly, sites that earn higher ranks are the ones that are incredibly speedy as revealed in a study conducted to examine the relation between load times and mobile rankings. The study showed that the top ranking mobile site took 2.2 seconds and the site ranking second took 2.5 seconds to load. The total time difference between the first five ranks is marginal, just 0.40 seconds.
Google has always expressed its liking for website speed as evident from the desktop site speed that has been a ranking factor for eight years. The new aspect is that Google wants it for mobile sites too. Google now intends to apply the yardstick of Speed Update to all mobile sites regardless whether it is responsive or dedicated. One thing is for sure that this update will hit the slowest pages.
Mobile first indexing
Speed Update is just one of many Google initiatives to encourage speedy websites. It is expected that in 2018, we will see more of Google’s Mobile First Indexing initiative that will focus on mobile factors exclusively for determining overall search rankings which is a clear departure from the desktop-based indexing that was prevalent for many years. Until now, Google had based its rankings on the desktop indexing model and have used it for awarding ranks to desktop and mobile websites separately by maintaining common indices. After determining desktop rankings, Google applied the mobile ranking signals. However, in the mobile-friendly update, Google has used other factors for mobile-specific searches related to issues revolving around user experience.
Buyers want speed
Google will not leave any stone unturned to make users happy by ensuring speedy websites both on desktop and mobile. There is no denying that buyers wish speed because their span of attention is just too short. They are not willing to wait for more than 2 seconds on an average for a web page to open. You can understand the price that you have to pay for slow loading pages from statistics revealed by Google. It clearly says that the bounce rate of visitors can increase by a whopping 123 percent for the incremental increase in website speed between 1 to 10 seconds.
US retailers have a task at hand because they have to do something quick to improve website speed as the average page loading time is 9.8 seconds.
The task for E-Commerce websites
E-commerce websites have to act fast to make significant improvements in website speed so that it remains close to user expectations. Google recommends the use of any of the following tools.
• Chrome User Experience Report – The report contains data related to the metrics of the compelling user experience for popular websites, and it reflects the real-life experience of Chrome users.
• Page Speed Insights – To know how a page performs on the Chrome User Experience Report, this tool is highly useful in suggesting optimizations that enhance performance.
• Lighthouse – This automated tool is a part of Chrome Developer tools and especially useful for auditing web pages to determine its quality concerning performance, accessibility, and many more parameters.
Knowing where your website stands currently regarding speed will help to chart the way forward for making significant speed improvement.
Optimization suggestions for improving page speed
Here are some ways by which you can fix speed issues for your websites.
• Avoid landing page redirects – If the findings of Page Speed Insight reveal that more than one redirect exists from the URL to the landing page they the page will take more time to open because every redirect triggers an HTTP request that stretches the response cycle.
• Compress the page elements – The Page Sight Insight Report might reveal that there are some elements on the page especially images that are slowing the page loading speed. Identify the compressible resources and enable gzip compression so that can reduce the time of the HTTP response by 90%.
• Enhance browser caching– If the response from your server excludes caching headers or if the resource caching is specified to happen over short time then you must explore the options of browser caching that ensures speedy presentation of pages instead of going through multiple trips between client and server.
• Improve server response time – When you detect that the server takes more than 200 ms to respond, you must take steps to improve server response time. Identify the reasons for the slowdown and address the issues so that the server response time remains under 200 ms.
• Optimize images – If you do not adequately optimize the images it can increase page loading time. Optimized images are already available on the website and ensure loading of only optimized images. That would minimize the downloaded bytes and speed up the web page.
For E-commerce sites, since website speed is directly related to the revenue, you can estimate your revenue impact by using calculator that Google recommends. You will come to know the effect of speed improvement regarding income and decide the best course of action for improving speed.