Small Business SEO Tips 2019 – Part 2 – Website Performance

Small Business SEO Tips 2019 - Part 2 - Website Performance - Google has indicated site speed is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages.

Small Business SEO Tips 2019 - Part 2 - Website Performance

This is the 2nd of a 5 part series on small business SEO best practices and tips in 2019, and how utilizing these can bring life to your online presence. These are generally referred to as Google Best Practices.  And it’s what O2 Real does for clients, day in and day out. 

Small Business SEO Tips 2019

In 2019 we take a look at;

Small Business SEO Tips 2019 - Part 2 - Website Performance

Small Business SEO Tips 2019 - Part 2 - Website Performance

Page speed is a measurement of how fast the content on your web page loads.  Your "page load time" (the time it takes to fully display the content on a specific page) is measured by Google when indexing your site for search engine return pages (SERP).

Page speed is also important as it relates directly to user experience. Pages with a longer load time tend to have much higher bounce rates and lower average time spent on your page. Longer load times have also been shown to negatively affect conversions, as well as increasing user frustration.

We will note that "free" websites are not "high priority" when it comes to download speeds, and since you can't edit code anyways, it's a losing proposition. If you don't hire us, find someone to partner with you and build a real website with real hosting.

As mobile internet speeds have increased, so have the expectations of website performance from mobile users. According to a study by Adobe, almost half of users will leave a website if it loads slowly.

Oddly, Google says on phones "Most sites lose half their visitors while loading."

Thankfully, there's a lot your website designer can implement, such as using high compression for images to significantly reduce the load time. Additionally, a good web design/ marketing firm generally uses faster servers than the "Build Your Own Sites" use.

Additionally, all that drag and drop coding sits in your web page coding, mucking everything up. Bottom line is clean code runs fast and loads faster.

Now, keep in mind, most every study has confirmed that if it takes more than 4 seconds to load, you will have lost over half your clicks.

So, we tested a 6 page "build your own website" a client had when they came on board. It took nearly 8 seconds to load.

Small Business SEO Tactics to Improve Search Rankings - DIY Speed

Then we built an 84 page website. On our servers. With our coding.

Just a tad north of 2 seconds.

Small Business SEO Tactics to Improve Search Rankings - Clean code speed

Why would Google have multiple test sites to measure your website loading speed?

Small Business SEO Tips 2019 - Part 2 - Website Performance

The first thing is to make sure you have a mobile responsive website (as well as making sure all your pages are responsive to mobile devices).

If you are not sure, you can check your site HERE.

Here are some of the many ways to increase your page speed:

Optimize images

Small Business SEO Tips 2019 - Part 2 - Website Performance - Image size mattersBe sure that your images are no larger than they need to be, and that they are in the right file format (PNGs are generally better for graphics with fewer than 16 colors while JPEGs are better for photographs) and that they are compressed for use on the web.

Camera's in smartphones are getting better and better (more Mega Pixels every year) . If you snap a picture for use on the web, it does NOT have to me 5 Meg. Or even 1 Meg. You'd be hard pressed to see any difference on the best phone display, between 1 Meg and 100K, but the 100k will load lightning fast.

Update Plugins

End Of Year Website Clean Up - PluginsEven if your website is coded in HTML and CSS in can still utilize plugins, and since it's likely your news/updates/blog is built on WordPress which heavily relies on plugins.

Plugins are updated on a regular basis by their authors, due to changes in WordPress, Browsers, HTML Standards, PHP and JavaScript. Additionally often they are updated for added features or bug fixes as well.

But for a variety of reasons, plugin authors may infrequently update their plugins to keep up with changes in this environment, or in some cases, may even abandon them entirely.

This can affect website functionality, appearance, your page load speed, and even technical SEO. In some cases, an outdated plugin can even render an entire website inaccessible.

Additionally, you may want to put some serious thought into whether each plugin is absolutely necessary. Typically, for each plugin you eliminate, you get a corresponding increase in load time speed.

It’s a good idea to review and update plugins in a regular basis.

Fix Broken Links

End Of Year Website Clean UpYour pages may get moved or deleted. Images get replaced. External links move or even disappear completely. Remember that broken links, either internal or external increase your "negative SEO score" with Google.

And no one likes a 404 error.

Thankfully, there are specialized tools you can use to catch all the broken links and start 2019 with a clean updated website that no matter what a user clicks on...boom. It Works.

Review Your Content

It goes without saying that you should be creating content regularly.

If you’re doing that, you’ll typically find that over time, some of that content will become irrelevant and other content might need expansion. So, some of this content may need to be pruned or improved.

Some content may no longer be relevant because of changes in your industry or your business. Maybe for instance, you promoted an event that has come and gone. Just remember that not all content is "evergreen". Old content can be deleted, and the URLs should then be redirected to the most relevant content that still exists. If there is nothing relevant to a particular page that’s being deleted, then you can delete it without setting up a redirect.

However, if you have a page that has any inbound links or has received any organic traffic in the past twelve months, we highly encourage you to find something on your website to redirect it to. 

Test your website in all major browsers

Keep in mind that all the major browsers update on a regular basis. Chrome, Edge and Firefox.

You should not only load your home page, but you should also test pages on your site that get most of the traffic. Recently, we had a client who had a header load incorrectly in Chrome, but it looked fine before, and it looked fine in Firefox...

It looked pretty bad so we moved some stuff around for a temporary fix, Then when Chrome updated again, the issue was gone.

Point is you should take a moment and and pull up your pages in all three browsers to test layout, functionality, and load speed on a regular basis.

Small Business SEO Tips 2019 - Part 2 - Website Performance

You can evaluate your website page speed with Google's PageSpeed Insights. PageSpeed Insights Speed Score incorporates data from CrUX (Chrome User Experience Report) and reports on two important speed metrics: First Contentful Paint (FCP) and DOMContentLoaded (DCL).

If it's important enough for Google to maintain a site for you to monitor it, it should be important for you if you are concerned about your online footprint.

Back to Part 1 - Voice Search SEO

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