The Toronto Inbound Marketing 2013 meetup group held a session in…
Google Speed Update
The issue of loading speed and server processor time, and time to first paint and first interactive are being addressed by Google. How calculates slow loading pages isn’t fully known. They will give you hints through the Google Webmaster console.
If your site tests slow on mobile or desktop, it can affect your rankings and overall traffic. A slow site will not be favored by Google in its listings. What most website owners need to do is speed up their sites. And it’s not easy.
Google Amp is Google’s Streamlined Version of Your Website
Although Google create AMP or accelerated mobile pages for publishers to use, not many sites are using Google AMP. As we all well know, it’s your #1 to #3 rankings that produce good quality visitors and leads. Losing them is painful. And every month, the speed issue is pressed by Google.
Google Adsense has apparently recently updated too, to punish those publishers who have too many ads on their pages. The ads do slow down page load times and combined with a slow server, it makes for a poor experience for mobile users. Many users are still on slow speed wireless connections.
So if your website traffic has dropped, and rankings fallen this week, it could be your site has been hit. The solution? Understand Google AMP pages and the factors such as server speed that undermine your site’s success.
Slow Speed Increases Site Bounces
You might have engaging content, but if it loads slowly, fewer visitors will experience it as this graphic from Think with Google shows:
Website Speed Test – Optimizing your Website
When you work with websites as much as I do, or as any digital marketing specialist or strategist does, you see a lot things that don’t work. And what you don’t know may hurt you.
And these things frustrate website visitors. It’s not easy to create a great website given some of the type of websites developers are producing. They create them based on popularity or because it’s Web 2.0 compatible and offers some technical options. WordPress is a good example where the excessive code makes sites load very slowly.
Yet, if the customer journey is disrupted and made unenjoyable, then the site is defeating its purpose. This post is about those problems you don’t know about and what you should do.
A website and its underlying coding is complex and easily troubled. And that trouble can translate to visitors leaving your site which is the opposite of customer engagement. When you examine the underlying server performance, you may find errors and other issues that are costing you customers and revenue.
Let’s take a look at a few of them.
The Top 10 Problems with Most Website
1. unclear value proposition – you’ve got 3 seconds to explain clearly
2. not focusing on customer’s pain points and perspective – it’s about what they need, not about your stuff
3. poor unique value proposition – your stuff is the same as your competitors
4. lack of good content and poor engagement – you haven’t given them material to explore and enjoy so the customer journey isn’t much fun or informative
5. slow loading website – waiting a long time for websites is a major frustration
6. too much copy – burying them in long copy before they’re even sure they want to stay
7. content hard to find – no easy quick links to the stuff they’re interested in
8. ugly web design – deplorable, layout, color and design makes them cringe
9. hyped up copywriting with buzzwords – phoney talk that attempts to play with their emotions
10. no mobile version or one that is hard to use – they can’t navigate with their fingers and your images are too small.
The Bane of Digital Marketing Specialists – A Bad Website
However, if the website sucks, and has technical issues, it can make our jobs frustrating and difficult. It could kill rankings and engagement. We count on web designers and developers to get it right.
Out of these 10 website design mistakes, it’s perhaps the ugly website with no clear value proposition and very poor quality content is likely the worst to visitors. In fact, since visitors are searching for content (solving their pain points) it makes sense relevant, high quality content should be the priority.
Need for Speed
However, most visitors arrive from Google or Facebook. What happens usually, especially if they’re using their smartphone via a cell line with limited bandwidth, is that site takes a long time to load.
Out of all the challenges a digital marketing specialist tackles each month, the web page load speed test is an increasingly important one.
Page load time as it’s called is a very basic problem and the solution is to check your pages using a page checker. It conducts what’s called a waterfall test. You can conduct your own test at https://www.webpagetest.org or https://tools.pingdom.com. They are 2 of the most popular speed testers which provide a full waterfall breakdown of each web server connection and how long it took.
Is Your Website Mobile Friendly?
You can also test your site out at Google to see how mobile friendly it is. Most issues with websites come from not using web caching, long initial web server response time, using video in the page, social media plugins, and large graphic images.
The rest come from poor web development. A digital marketing specialist has to keep up on the web server performance. You’ll see problems such as a huge drop in visitors during certain hours. Yes, a sudden loss where it looks like the web server just stopped working.
I’ve had to call clients on many occasions to tell them their websites were down completely. I’ve even had to tell a business owner the site had code that stopped Google from indexing the site.
There’s many more issues as well.
But let’s talk more about website page load speed. After you clear up all the aforementioned problems, you’re ready to do something which Google in particular likes.
Google AMP – Making Websites Superfast
Google’s accelerated mobile pages project was launched because the web had become very slow and congested. And that was making it difficult for Google to make money via their advertising platform, Adwords.
They had to speed things up. AMP is a service which converts webpages to static html files which load very quickly. The pages and images are hosted on Google’s AMP Cache servers to enhance speed further.
Better coding, fewer calls to the server, and superfast Google servers mean you’ve got an advantage over those who don’t use it.
AMP is a little controversial, since Google would like to host the Internet themselves on their vast army of web servers. That makes some people very nervous.
Complete AMP hosting means websites would no longer be needed. We’d just let Google manage everything, with a copy of our sites. Of course that would mean we would likely not be able to advertise on those websites and we’d lose control over the content, just like we do with Facebook pages. You may lose some of your advertising if Google considers them poor quality networks. But that’s another story.
Right now, it might be wise for you to convert your slow loading pages into AMP format so your visitors can enjoy your site quickly.
Each month, Google places more weight on AMP pages, meaning using AMP could give you a boost in search engine results. A higher ranking means more visitors. And without the AMP platform, your pages may not be shown to mobile users.
50% of web users are visiting via their smartphone or tablet. It’s a growing body of visitors and customers and you may have to address this issue at some point. Might as well start dealing with it now.
Convert WordPress Sites to Google AMP
Perhaps the best way to approach this conversion is to use Yoast’s AMP conversion plugin.
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