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Google has a need for (mobile site) speed

Google has announced an update to the algorithm for mobile rankings which will go live in July this year. The update finally makes site speed an influential ranking factor for mobile.

As part of our SEO offering, Oban International have been looking at site speed and mobile accessibility. It’s likely this update will also dovetail with the ‘Mobile First’ algorithm, still in the Google pipeline.

Both audiences and search engines look for a maximum load time of around 2 seconds for your website, and many factors can affect the speed at which pages load.

These are a few quick recommendations to improve site speed which will help your site perform better with Google’s new algorithm:

  • Use of images:
    • Make sure to resize photos correctly and minimise the file size with ‘lossless compression’ so you keep the image quality.
    • Include image dimensions when you upload them, even when you have sized them correctly.
    • Correct crawl issues such as broken links and redirects.
  • Manage how JavaScript and CSS are used in your site templates, their location and order in the code, and the number of external files used.
  • Reduce the use of URLs with query parameters in them (denoted by a ‘?’ symbol) to help with caching.

Site speed isn’t just an issue for Google. All major search engines pay attention to this as a ranking factor, notably Baidu, China’s largest search engine, where ranking has been driven by site loading time for several years. The main reason for this is that the infrastructure in China is not as developed as markets in the west, so western sites often take much longer to load in China than they do elsewhere.

If you would like to know more about this topic, Oban carried out some research with content delivery network company CDNetworks into how Chinese audiences find interacting with western websites and the speed at which they load, which you can read here.

Oban International can advise you on improving your page speed and visibility across all major search engines. Please contact us if you want some help and we can discuss the unique needs of your website in your key markets.

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