“I feel the need…the need for speed!” - Maverick and Goose, Top Gun
If you rely on your website to generate sales, you should feel the need for speed as well – if you want your site to rank well on Google.
A few months ago, the world’s most popular search engine announced a new ranking algorithm designed to track how quickly websites load on mobile devices – and to penalize those that take too long.
Speed has always been a ranking factor, but since 2010 the focus was always on desktop searches. Now, with everyone carrying the internet in their pocket via smart phone, mobile searches are much more prevalent.
For the remainder of this year, Google will only penalize the slowest of the slow – a segment that the company believes would only impact a small percentage of queries. But industry experts expect Google will continue to change the weighting on the algorithm in 2019 and beyond, to affect more sites that don’t pick up the pace.
Why Do Some Sites Load Slowly?
On mobile devices, the culprit is usually one of the following:
- Poor design: the site is not optimized properly for mobile devices
- Poorly optimized image files
- External media assets: YouTube videos and social media widgets can affect load time
- Flash: The less you use, the better
- Bargain basement hosting: Some shared hosts struggle with higher traffic volume
If you are concerned about this issue, the first step is to gauge how efficiently your site pops up on a laptop or tablet. Google will give you some free feedback through its PageSpeed tool. Lighthouse is another open source, automated tool that audits for speed, as well as performance and accessibility.
Once the answers are in, you may need to rethink your site design, or change hosts. If that happens, these are services offered by 360 Biz, and we’ll make sure your site always loads efficiently on every type of device.