One key component of Search Engine Optimization has to do with your page load times – which is part of the overall user experience angle that Google is uber-focused on at this time. By making your pages load faster, you improve your visitor’s browsing experience, and Google wants to reward you for providing this valuable service.
Content optimization is a very large area to cover with one blog post so I’ll touch on a few of the basics now and follow up this post as some form of series.
It may be surprising to some, but Google actually also cares about how well you’re building links within your own site. Repeat after me, “It’s all about relevance“. If you link one piece of highly informative content about “Icebergs” to a larger relevant article about the “Sinking of the Titanic” – Google will reward your efforts. Their robots are able to form loose associations and get it right about 99% of the time. That’s the very reason so many people choose Google as their preferred search engine, because people understand that a “Bing” or “Yahoo” search is not going to provide them with as much accuracy. It’s Google’s stance on relevance that is driving this exodus from it’s competitors.
Next up – Compression. By shrinking or compressing the images that are being served to your visitors, you will lessen the amount of time it takes for a web browser to load your webpages on your visitor’s computer screen. In addition to your images, there are also various free compression modules to also condense the actual HTML code (or PHP in many cases), again helping to shorten your page-load times. Every line of code on a webpage, adds to the page load time. Removing even a few lines of code could be a 15KB savings, which you might say doesn’t seem like much. And you would be right. However, think of the cumulative effect that 15KB’s turns into when you serve 20 images at a time, repeating the process 100’s or 1000’s of times per day. You not only save bandwidth, you save your visitors unnecessary headaches.
Since the introduction of mobile websites, Google has asked that you pay close attention to your visitors experience on hand-held devices. It’s certainly one thing to design a website for people who browse on their laptop’s and desktop’s, but it’s an entirely different ballgame when it comes to mobile-responsive websites. By not catering to this group, your rankings will absolutely be harmed in the process.
More than half of all web traffic now originates from iPhones, iPads, and other mobile devices. Do you really want to neglect half of your visitors? I would hope not… Just understand that the more attention you pay to how your website appears on various devices, the higher your website is going to rank in Google.
With some testing and a few improvements, Google, Yahoo, and Bing are going to start to see your website in whole different light. Designers nowadays use what is called the “Viewport”, to tell the web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge) which device our visitor is using, so that we are able to serve them a “View” which will fit their iPhone screen, or even that 77″ Smart TV in your living room.
Rather than setting our sizes with set dimensions using Pixels (ie: 1920px x 1280px) for all visitors, it would be best to serve a modified height and width based on percents (ie size column to 80%). The advantage there is we are making adaptive changes based on the size of the device we’re serving our pages to.
If you still haven’t moved your website to a mobile friendly design, it’s way past due and I recommend you reach out to see how we can accomplish this for your organization.