Page speed has been a desktop ranking factor for nearly a decade now. While it’s long been suspected that Google also looks at page speed on mobile devices for ranking purposes, they’ve only recently declared this is the case. For San Diego SEO companies such as Saba SEO, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise since Google has been pushing all things mobile-related since they announced their mobile-first ranking plans in 2015 and implemented them fully in early 2018. Read on to learn more about the page speed update to determine how well-prepared your mobile site is.
What’s New with Page Speed?
For starters, if you use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool you’ll notice scores for two main categories: speed and optimization (formerly the technical checklist). With speed, Google has added First Contentful Paint (FCP), a measure of how long it takes mobile users to see the initial visual response from a page. They’ve also added a measure of HTML loading and parsing (DOM Content Loaded, or DCL).
How Does the Page Speed Update Affect SEO?
These new page speed metrics are an issue for SEO because Google is using real-time measurements to asses FCP and DCL, which means your figures for these factors may not match up with what Google is seeing in real time. The good news is Google has recently added several new page speed tools that may be useful for you, including:
- Lighthouse – Audits and optimizes pages
- Impact Calculator and Mobile Speed Scorecard – Determines the impact page speed is having on conversions and revenue
- Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX) – A source of user experience metrics from Chrome users
What Can You Do?
Speed issues may be, in part, due to users with outdated phones or mobile servers. However, this is beyond your control. The only thing you can do about the new focus on mobile page speed for ranking purposes is to make every effort to have webpages designed for speed. Consider taking the following steps to achieve this goal:
- Have no more than one redirect per page
- Compress content as much as possible with Gzip, Brotli, or a similar tool
- Remove redundant or unnecessary data
- Use cache control to set limits for how long browser cache responses are
- Optimize images for smaller screens
- Compress “above the fold” content since this is what usually shows up first
If you’re still not sure if your website is up to speed as per Google’s standards, free mobile speed test tools can provide personalized insights about your site and its various pages. Google’s Search Console also has a Mobile-Friendly Test tool you can use to gauge how well your site is performing for searchers accessing it with smartphones and tablets. Google Analytics also offers mobile stats. Lastly, use a responsive website design so your site adjusts to whatever screen it’s being viewed on. A boost in page speed won’t be all that meaningful if there are other issues affecting the user experience for mobile visitors.
At Saba SEO, we believe it’s important to stay on top of the latest developments in online marketing, which is just one of the many reasons we’re one of the top SEO agencies in San Diego. Web design, social media marketing, and pay-per-click management are just a few of our specialties. To schedule an appointment, give us a call today at 858-277-1717.