Google gives webmasters the green light to go faster
We’ve know for a while now that the faster your website loaded, the better the user experience was, and it didn’t hurt your site’s performance in the search results either. Now Google is giving webmasters permission and strongly encouraging them to make sure that their websites load as quickly as possible.
Newly updated guidelines now recommend making sure that the above the fold (ATF) content of a page needs to load within the first second after a user lands on the page. It’s not realistic to expect that every bit on content on a page could load within a second of arrival on a website, but of course it shouldn’t take too long or the user will likely abandon the page and return to the search results to try another choice.
We know that this isn’t a good thing from an SEO perspective, and some attention from a web design SEO company like RankPop might be one of the best bets to get your site on the right track before a change in your site’s performance alerts Google to a change in your traffic and user satisfaction.
What this means for mobile
Many websites that are served up as mobile sites are already subject to slower load times thanks to the slower and more restricted connections of many smartphone service providers, so this could potentially spell trouble for many of these, especially those with a lot of rich media content.
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The way mobile devices display the content on a page can also be a factor in how quickly a given page loads – a homepage with a large video might be okay for desktop connections, but how would such a site perform on a mobile device? Even with a responsive design to eliminate extraneous elements and load a version of the site more well-suited to the device being used to access it there can be issues.
The easiest way to ensure that your website is served up quickly on a mobile device is to place any rich media below the fold that can be placed there without affecting the design and purpose of your site. This will leave only text and any additional bits of code to load initially, reducing the loading speed of the first part of your site and keeping you well within Google’s guidelines.
Google lends a hand to webmasters
Google has also updated their Page Speed Insights Tool to reflect their new emphasis on mobile and desktop load times for websites. The tool now features mobile stats while still presenting desktop stats in a separate secondary tab. Performance numbers are given and a site is rated as far as load times and overall efficiency – webmasters are encouraged to use this information to further enhance the speed of their websites, enabling them to load much more quickly.
This tool and others are available free of charge from Google, and there is a lot of additional information available from Google and many expert bloggers across the web.
While Google knows that an entire website cannot load in a second or less, it is now expecting that webmasters ensure that at least the first part of the information that appears above the fold on their pages load that quickly. Any sites that do not comply with this guideline will be running the risk of not ranking as well as they could have otherwise. This standard is being applied all across the web, even to versions of website being served up on mobile devices.