Google’s Pending Speed Update Will Reward Faster Sites

Is your website optimized for speed? I hope the answer is “yes” because website loading speed is a factor in how well your site ranks in search engines. Now, Google is rolling out a new speed update that will allow faster websites to rank even higher. Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable provided some insightful commentary on the update.

He writes “this speed algorithm differs from the one in April 2010 in that it doesn’t just measure too slow pages and dings them if they are just too slow, this new Speed Update does work on a “gradual scale” and small gradual improvements to speed can help improve your rankings a little bit”. Here’s what that means: You should take the time to improve the speed of your website, even if the improvement is small. It will pay off for you once you start getting more visitors to your website!

In this article, we’re going to take a look at how you can determine the speed of your web pages. You need a baseline before you can improve your speed! In addition, to checking your speed, you’re going to learn some ways you can make your web pages load quicker. The goal is to take advantage of this new speed update. If you’re website loads quickly, search engines will use that as a factor as they determine where to place you in search results.

Speed Test Tools

There are numerous tools you can use to gauge the speed of your web pages. The best tools—which are also free—will tell you exactly what to do to improve your website speed. We’ll go over this more in detail in the next section. There are six websites you should know about when it comes to testing your website speed. They are:

  • Google’s Page Speed Insights
  • Webpagetest
  • GT Metrix
  • Pingdom Website Speed Test
  • Dareboost Website Speed Test
  • Cloudinary Image Analysis Tool

Let’s start with Google’s Page Speed Insights. By the way, you’re reading about each of these speed tests, make sure you test your own website in each of them. Page Speed Insights shows speed on a mobile device as well as on a desktop. Each has a maximum score of 100. With this test, here’s a note: The speed is calculated as if you were accessing the website from Google’s Chrome browser.

Webpagetest gives you more options to search with. For example, you can test a website speed as if you’re searching from different browsers or specific smartphones. You can even conduct the speed test from a specific location around the world. Finally, Webpagetest has numerous advanced features such as disable Javascript and running multiple tests for better accuracy.

The headline displayed on the GT Metrix homepage is “Analyze your site’s speed and make it faster.” That’s exactly what you want! GT Matrix gives an extremely-detailed amount of information in addition to the standard “loads in x seconds”. They break down HTTP requests, reducing DNS lookups, and making AJAX cacheable. If you aren’t a web developer, much of the information presented will be foreign to you; however, we can help with the more technical fixes.

Pingdom Website Speed Test gives you a grade—from A to F—based on how fast your website loads. Your page load time and page size are prominently displayed alongside your letter grade. Pingdom Website Speed Test also shows your content size by type. For example, you’ll see the sizes of your fonts, images, and scripts.

Dareboost Website Speed Test is a great tool to use if you want to learn about things you can improve. For example, they advise you to enable compression, to use a better file format for fonts, and to group certain JavaScript files. Dareboost Website Speed Test even gives you some security tips. For example, their speed test will tell you if your website is vulnerable to “clickjacking” attacks.

Do you have images on your website? Cloudinary Image Analysis Tool will tell you if they are optimized enough for speed. This speed test will bring up every image you have on a page and tell you how much speed you can gain by optimizing them.

How to Improve Your Speed

Compress images, cache your website, enable HTTP keep-alive response headers—these are some of the techniques you can use to make your website load faster. If it’s in your budget, consider upgrading your hosting account. If you’re on a shared server, you share the bandwidth with other websites. You can upgrade to a dedicated hosting package which would greatly improve the speed of accessing your website.

The goal of making your site faster is twofold: One is for website visitors to have a great browsing experience and the other is for search engines to rank your website higher in search results. As you read earlier, even small changes will have an effect on your rankings; therefore, you might as well improve anything you’re able to!

Featured Photo and speedometer photo by CC0 Creative Commons Pixabay

Highway speed photo by Pixabay on Pexels