Google change puts website speed under the spotlight

Google change puts website speed under the

Improvements to Google’s
PageSpeed Insights tool may only be enough to get the
digital geek world excited, but it’s also a timely
reminder to New Zealand marketing managers that the amount
of time their websites take to load could be having a major
impact on sales.

CEO of Auckland
digital marketing agency Insight Online
, Kim Voon, said
today that page speed is a huge Google ranking factor
because the time a website takes to load influences the user
experience of customers who are using their mobile phones to
browse the internet.

“In our experience, most Kiwi
websites could improve their website speed if they want to
rank better on Google and win more sales and leads. Site
speed is even more important for mobile users due to the
slower internet connections. Sixty-four percent of
smartphone users expect pages to load in less than four

“A one second delay in loading speed can
reduce your sales conversion by around seven percent per
day,” Voon said.

Until recently, Google provided
two tools to measure website speed. Google’s PageSpeed
Insight (PSI), favoured by digital marketers, and another
open source tool called Lighthouse, which was preferred by
website developers. In the latest development, Google’s
PSI has switched to using Lighthouse as its analysis

“Page load speed, particularly on mobile,
is probably one of the top five factors of more than 200
that can impact your keyword rankings. Speed has always been
important but, with the recent rounds of Google updates, the
faster your website loads on mobile the more likely Google
will favour you.

“Other factors that impact your
website’s ranking and ability to convert more sales
includes the quality of the technical build of your website,
your content, the strength of your brand, even user
behaviour,” Voon said.

For example, if lots of
people are clicking on your search result, landing on your
website and then immediately leaving to return to the search
page (“pogo-sticking”), your website will
suffer in rankings for whatever that search was.

Some reasons for people leaving might be because your
website is too slow, or what the customer finds is not what
they expected.

Voon offers the following tips for
marketing managers who want to improve their website

1. Make images smaller

The biggest thing is to compress (make smaller) all your
images, photographs and graphics.

unwittingly upload large images because many websites
automatically adjust the image to fit the site’s
parameters, but that doesn’t change the size of the image
and big files take time to load.

“Speak to your
website developer about the best sizes for images on your
website, and make sure all your images comply,” Voon

2. Ask your website developer to
minify your HTML, CSS and JavaScript

“This means that your developer will put all the code
on the website through a process that removes all the spaces
and line breaks (squeezes the code together). This cuts down
on loading time,” Voon said.

3. Minimise
and update redirects

“If you
update/redesign/redevelop your website a couple times over
the years, you might have a lot of URLs redirecting a few
times, sometimes called a ‘redirect chain’. It’s
important to shorten these chains by keeping your redirects
updated because it can impact your page authority and how
long it takes Google to ‘see’ your website and start
ranking it.”

4. Chat with your

“The best thing to do, if you
are a marketing manager, is to test your website’s speed
via PSI, and take the results to your website developer.
Work with an expert to improve your website speed, it could
make a significant difference to your business,” Voon


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