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Google’s Mobile First Index: Why You Should Get Your Site Up to Speed!

Google is a powerhouse of a search engine. In fact, they own 63.5% of the search engine market share, along with a staggering 95% of mobile search query volume on a global basis! By the way, a web search query is a question a user enters into a search engine to satisfy his or her information needs. So Google owns 95% of those on mobile globally. In addition, nearly 60% of all searches are on mobile devices. So as a result, Google is transitioning its search engine index into a mobile-first index by the end of 2018. Soon, Google will use the mobile version of a website’s content to rank pages.

It’s no secret that it’s crucial to your bottom line to optimize your website for a seamless mobile user experience. One key ingredient that contributes to a seamless user experience is page speed. According to Kissmetrics, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

Decoding What Affects Page Speed
There are a variety of elements that can potentially slow a website down. Everything from javascript, analytics tags, bloated HTML, unoptimized images, and too many redirects.

Large image heavy e-commerce sites are particularly prone to speed issues. Images tend to be the largest element in any website.

How to Diagnose Site Speed Issues

If you have Google Analytics installed you can check your website’s page speed. Simply log into your account and go to Behavior – Site Speed – Overview.

Google analytics site speed test

You should shoot to have your website load around 5 seconds. If your website’s average page load time is loading over longer than 5 seconds, then it’s time to troubleshoot.

You can use Google’s Pagespeed Insights tool to identify trouble areas. Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool measures the performance of a page for both mobile and desktop devices. It checks to see if a page has applied performance best practices and provides an aggregated score.

Common Performance Best Practices:

Enable Compression
By enabling gzip compression you can reduce the size of the transferred response up to 90%. This can improve the time it takes to render your pages.

Improve Server Response Time
Server response time measures how long it takes to load HTML to begin rendering the page from your server. Strive to reduce your server response time to under 200ms.

Leverage Browser Caching
Fetching resources over the network is slow and expensive. The download can potentially require multiple trips between the client and server, which delays processing and may block rendering of the page content.

Minify Resources
Minification involves removing unnecessary or redundant data without affecting how a web page is processed by the browser.

Optimize Images
Images are often times the largest file size on a webpage. They generally account for most of the downloaded bytes and as a result, optimizing images can yield large benefits.

Optimize CSS Delivery
Before the browser can render content it must process all the style and information associated with the web page. As a result, the browser will block rendering until external stylesheets are downloaded and processed.

For more information on Google’s website performance recommendations please visit their PageSpeed Insight rules.

Key Takeaway:
By optimizing your websites for a seamless mobile experience you can position your business for success in Google’s Mobile First Index!

Google is implementing their mobile first index with or without you. Now is the time to future-proof your website.

I’d love to hear about your experiences preparing for Google’s Mobile First Index. Please feel free to drop me a line or comment this post to reach out to me.

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