Stop! Before you go any further, visit this Google resource, type in your website’s address and click “analyze.” While the bots are working, come back to this blog post. We’ll break down exactly what you’re doing, what you need to know and how your site should change.
Congrats! You just analyzed your website for speed. Chances are, the ranking was a bit slower than you expected. In July of 2018, big changes came to Google. This means that unless your web developer was staying hyper-vigilant and designing your site after these changes were announced, it was likely a blow to your page speed.
Before we dive into how to fix your speed, here are a few reasons why it’s vital:
Slow websites don’t rank as well in search engines.
Visitors are impatient and will often abandon slow-loading sites, especially on mobile.
It’s the first impression your site makes with visitors.
Truthfully, there are no “quick fixes” to make your site go from 10% to 100% overnight. There are also very few sites that actually rank at 100% (even ours doesn’t). But there are a few things you can do to jump start the process and start building up speed.
Image formats: You may have read about new image formats (particularly WebP, developed by Google) that are ideal for adding to your site, as they take up roughly 30% less space than .jpg images. While great in theory, WebP images aren’t supported by every browser (most notably, Safari and Internet Explorer) and can’t be easily created without Adobe plugins. Until they become more reliable and readily available, ensure you’re saving images for your site as .png files rather than .jpg files – they will take up less space, freeing up your bandwidth.
Eliminate render-blocking resources: If anything pops up on your page before the content itself (think a loading screen or timed ad), it’s got to go. While these features do make a loading wait more enjoyable to the visitor, Google would rather you speed up your website and eliminate it altogether.
Optimize for everyone: If you have a fun feature on your site that not everyone can see (think a landing page not viewable on mobile or animation that looks great on Safari but appears as a still image on Chrome), it needs to go. Here’s how Google thinks of it: If it can’t be seen by everyone, it’s not essential information. That inessential info is slowing down your speed to for all users to enhance the experience of only those on a certain device or browser. Google does not like that.
We hate to say it, but if your website is aging or wasn’t created by a skilled developer, sometimes it’s best to start from scratch rather than edit all of the pieces. Whether you need someone to make encasements, rebuild or simply consult, reach out. We can’t wait to get your website reporting higher with Google.