After Google introduced AMP and mobile-first index, page speed has become more important than ever before. In this article I pick up some points given by Jon Henshaw and Kelsey Jones on why page speed is important in SEO.
The pros and cons of AMP are also discussed here and how mobile first index affects a website experience and search engine results.
Why is it important to talk about page speed now?
Websites developed by many people are so slow that it has ruined the web experience of many people. Even if the person is surfing using a broadband, the website may take a little while to load. For an end user it can be incredibly annoying as the videos take forever to load or things take time to pop up.
What makes this issue important is not because it has been noticed by end users, but it has been noticed by Google. A couple of years ago, Google found it as a problem and decided to do something about it. Something new has been introduced recently which is called AMP or short for Accelerated Mobile Pages.
Google and Bing take page speed as a factor to rank websites?
It has been clearly mentioned by Google that page speed is being considered as a ranking factor. This statement is based on the fact that Google has mentioned publicly about this factor affecting the ranking and based on the their focus area these days.
Things are not yet clear from the side of Bing. They have not mentioned anything specifically. When the search team of Bing is asked on the matter, they will say “yes, speed is important”. It is not yet clear if Bing will go as far as Google has gone on page speed.
How can the speed of a website be increased, particularly when the person does not have any idea about it?
Things have come to an interesting point right now there are many web properties which we do not even know about, let alone utilize them to our benefit. Many publishers load their websites with junk, and the most promising way out for them is in the form of AMP.
Modifications made by Google is forcing these people to implement these changes. The reason is that a new document is created by AMP. What this means is that, people can keep the slow pages if they want and take the content and convert it into an AMP page. The content still remains there but it is not linked with the slow page now.
This may sound easier on the outside for some publishers particularly the big ones. They should remember that anything they did with their website in the past and which made it slow is linked with advertising. It also effects forceful advertising where videos are auto-played in front of visitors or the ones that are tied with them.
This feature is not available in an AMP article. Advertising is still available on AMP page but they are not available to the extent they were available before. This is one thing that many publishers will certainly lose out on.
Other important factor is that limitation and control is put on the presentation of content. Above all, the content is being hosted by Google. For any publisher this can be a very strange and awkward position to be in.
AMP is being pushed heavily by Google. They are ranking and displaying non-AMP pages lower than AMP pages. It is something which is very scary. At present, this fight is being won by Google. The main reason for this is that, as told by many SEO people managing lots of traffic and large properties, they are scared to try out something different.
This is the ground reality and this is how things look like. Many publishers are of the belief that this is the only alternative available to them. The reason why I am talking about it is because there is an alternative available, I think.
Before moving to the alternative, a publisher will have to consider how the website was put together at the first place.
When you find any code, you should ask the question what this code is doing on your website? For what purpose are you using it for? As you will answer these questions, you will realize that these codes are not actually being used on many of the pages. After that, you will use these codes only on those pages where they are being used.
How to Test Page Speed?
Google Page Speed Tool is a tried and tested way to find this out. A good option is available in the form of GTmetrix which provides a variety of different services.
In case you want to have an analysis from the standpoint of development, than Chrome Browser is the probably the best technical way. Here you will get to know what is taking so long and where the slow down is happening.
How important is Google’s mobile-first index in page speed?
In case SEOs and webmaster are not optimizing or approaching the websites from a mobile-first perspective, the problem is even bigger. Putting it in different words, it is already here and it is not that it got here just now.
The fact that majority of the searches are done on mobile so the focus is more on mobile and it is for this reason it needs to happen from a purely UX perspective. It has been publicly stated by Google that they are laying more emphasis on page speed from the standpoint of mobile users.
It is important for SEO people to focus more on mobile now. They were working on it a long time back. The fact that Google has put more importance on mobile index, the speed of website is more important than ever before. It already matters a lot and people need to be considering it.