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Page speed on mobile is a ranking factor: here’s what to do before July 2018

Page speed on mobile is a ranking factor from July 2018, is your website ready? Here's why speed is important, the benefits to your bottom line and what to do to prepare.

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You’ve probably heard that having a fast website will improve user experience and your bottom line.

But things have become more serious.

Page speed has been a ranking factor for some time now. But, Google has announced that come July 2018 page speed will be a ranking factor on mobile.

In this article, I’ll explain the update and what you can do as a business to get ahead of the pack.

"For soloist and small business, the same rules apply. If you decrease the time it takes for your page to load you will see results to your bottom line."

Why is speed important?

Before we jump into how to get started, I want to destroy any doubts you have to why you need to speed up your website.

You might be thinking: I don’t care about ranking on Google, why should I bother? Well, that’s a terrible mindset to have. But if you don’t care about Google rankings what about your other marketing channels?

Research from Pingdom found that if your page loads within 2 seconds only 9% of people bounce. On the flip side, if it surpasses 3 seconds, it soars to 38%. On mobile this gets worse, DoubleClick by Google found 53% of mobile site visits were abandoned if a page took longer than 3 seconds to load.

It’d be a shame if someone referred you a client only for them to go to your website and leave straight away because of a bad experience.

What are the benefits to your bottom line?

The question following “I don’t care” is how will it impact my bottom line? If it isn’t apparent that when fewer people leave your website, you get more conversions then try out these numbers.

Faster page loading contributed to a 12-13% increase in sales for an e-commerce store. I’m sure you’ve heard of Pinterest, they rebuilt their pages to improve their speed and see a 15% increase in SEO traffic and a 15% increase in conversion rate to signup.

And then there’s the famous Amazon case study how just one second could cost them $1.6 billion in sales.

For soloist and small business, the same rules apply. If you decrease the time it takes for your page to load you will see results to your bottom line.

How to get started

I hope I’ve managed to convince you that page speed matters and now you’re ready to get started.

Here’s a quick checklist:

  1. Avoid landing page redirects
  2. Enable compression
  3. Optimise images
  4. Leverage browser caching
  5. Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content
  6. Minify CSS, HTML and JavaScript
  7. Prioritise visible content
  8. Reduce server response time

Final thoughts

It’s clear that mobile devices are here to stay. Search engines like Google and Bing are putting more weight in their algorithms to cater for people on mobile.

Businesses no longer have a choice whether they need to adopt a mobile-first strategy. If you don’t, in the coming years you’ll be left in the dust by competitors who do.

Tom Donohoe

is a Co-founder at Capstone Digital, a digital marketing agency for small businesses & start-ups. Tom Donohue is an evangelist of all things digital, coffee aficionado and frequent contributor to many blogging websites. Connect with Tom on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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