Speed, speed, speed.
Google has made it clear in the past and recently announced that speed is going to be a significant factor in ranking websites (not just mobile, but all sites) starting in July 2018. They also have said that flipping on an AMP plugin is not going to cut it – that they’re looking for across-the-board optimization from platforms, networks and web designers.
If you are concerned about your site there’s a long list of optimizations you can do, but here are the top 3 simplest ones:
- Optimize your images. No matter which web CMS you use, you can optimize your images. I’ve rarely touched an images folder that couldn’t be substantially cut down. This can be done using server-side technology or simple and powerful tools like photoshop scripts or dedicated tools like JPEGMINI (one of my favorites.)
- Set up caching. Every site that’s database driven can benefit from caching technology. These are available in many forms, the simplest of which are plugins for WordPress and such. Services such as Cloudflare can speed things up even more.
- Choose a quality host. Server response times vary widely with hosts, and the low-end services are really pretty awful. I suggest that you look for a mid-priced host with great server response times.
If you’re checking the speed of your site, don’t just look at Google’s page insights tool, also look at the independent tools from Pingdom. There’s a wealth of ideas in these reports. Don’t worry that you can’t do every single one of what they say, but discuss them with your web developer to see if some are possible now, and then integrate more performance into your next website rebuild. From the announcement:
We encourage developers to think broadly about how performance affects a user’s experience of their page and to consider a variety of user experience metrics. Although there is no tool that directly indicates whether a page is affected by this new ranking factor, here are some resources that can be used to evaluate a page’s performance.
- Chrome User Experience Report, a public dataset of key user experience metrics for popular destinations on the web, as experienced by Chrome users under real-world conditions
- Lighthouse, an automated tool and a part of Chrome Developer Tools for auditing the quality (performance, accessibility, and more) of web pages
- PageSpeed Insights, a tool that indicates how well a page performs on the Chrome UX Report and suggests performance optimizations