I will open with a quick case study to illustrate my point on how important page speed is to Google. We did a SEO site evaluation for a client on his new website. The site looked nice and appeared very professional, but on running the site through the Google Page Speed Tool, the desktop score came back with a 24 out of a score of 100 and the mobile score came back with a score of 51 out of 100. Google rated both of these scores in the “red” zone.
Why is being in the yellow zone (70’s) or green zone (90’s) important?
Google AdWords uses scanning tools and will actively disapprove ads where they consider the page speed experience low. I have seen advertisers with red page speeds have ads disapproved. The only way to improve your page speed is a site redesign or difficult overhaul of an existing site. Google evaluates the domain, not just the landing page. So, Google AdWords considers a quick loading site an important Quality Score indicator.
Google has just released notice that in July 2018 they will be using website page speed as a ranking indicator for their organic index. As the Google organic index is now based solely on the mobile version of your website since early last year and Google no longer has a desktop index AND a mobile index, page speed of your mobile site is even more important to garnering organic placement.
This particular issue of page speed and the use of the mobile index to rank sites is also why AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages, a Google initiative to speed up the Web, is so very important to embrace on any new website design.
In conclusion, page speed is crucial for organic performance for websites and one of the most important factors you should consider as you choose your WordPress theme or website backbone.
Check back next week for more information on website redesigns selections.
Today we’re announcing that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.
The “Speed Update,” as we’re calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.
The key takeaway on this announcement is that page speed is important to Google and should be an important factor in the selection of any new WordPress theme or website design or web design platform.
Page speed will not be going away and site owners need to really start a review and efforts to address their slow loading websites.
Many legacy website owners are now looking at upgrading their websites to leverage new technologies but what type of site should you consider as you weigh your options?
WordPress Websites Pros and Cons
I have a love/hate relationship with WordPress. I love the power and adaptability. I love the free plugins, but I hate the security problems and I hate the lack of really fine control both for SEO use and for image placements.
If a client decides that they want to do their own content updates, WordPress is perfect for them, but at a cost.
If a client does not buy a security monitoring service like WordFence or SiteLock, they may leave their expensive new website open to becoming hacked and banned on Google (until remediated from a hack).
Being secure costs money and WordPress is not a set it and forget it application. Be prepared if you decide to do your own updates that you need security software and need to do your own weekly site updates to keep WordPress secure.
HTML Websites Pros and Cons
For clients that are never going to do their own updates and do not need special plugin features from WordPress, I love a regular HTML version website. I love the control of page and image naming, the ability to have total control over site architecture, and the security of knowing that hackers do not typically use HTML websites as a platform to spew spam or malware.
HTML websites do not need regular security review, analysis and monitoring as WordPress sites do. But as technology changes they typically should be replaced about every five years.
If you need help with a SEO focused information-rich website for your service business and are not using ecommerce, pick up the phone and chat with me about your needs at 540-693-0385. I’d be glad to let you candidly know if our services would be a good match for your needs.
Security, you never realize how much you really should be thinking about it until your site is hacked. For business owners, let me caution you to not leave this most important aspect out of protecting your online presence to staff without some oversight.
Here’s what you as the business owner need to know about security.
You need a back up and redundancy plan.
You need to know what your webmaster is doing on security.
You need to routinely monitor the Google Search Console for messages.
Sometimes the Bing Search Console will notify you faster of a hack, so monitor there too.
Look for weird URLs and strange activity in Google Analytics.
Make sure you do regular back ups of your website files and keep several archives not just one.
Back up your back up!
If you use WordPress as the backbone for your site see below.
Remain vigilant. If you have security plugins monitor the messages.
If you have WordPress…
I like WordFence as my security plugin. I am getting nice results and actionable message about access, updates to do to stay secure, and not too many messages that I get “security fatigue”.
I do use other plugins as well for WordPress. Below are the ones I will typically install for clients.
Locks out brute force attacks and bad passwords.
WordPress File Monitor
This plugin monitors the core files for changes and uploads.
Sucuri or WordFence
I have used this program but found that the number of messages was too overwhelming so at this time I am using WordFence instead. Just make sure you use something AND make sure to actually read the alerts!
If you are waited to update your website to be mobile-friendly and your traffic and business is crashing, know that Google means business in regards to transitioning to a mobile-focused world of search.
Over the last three months I have seen a huge shift even in AdWords conversions and for many clients all activity is now click to call from mobile devices. If you missed the boat and did not update your website to be mobile friendly by this week, here are a few quick things you can do to remediate that problem.
Some sites that you may want to check out if you are a do it yourselfer are:
DudaMobile – has mobile friendly as well as responsive designs.
WIX – just be careful of the design as not all are really responsive.
Shopify – has some nice designs to consider.
Webflow – is even a consideration.
Of course if you want greater control over your design and content, or simply do not have enough time to do this yourself, we have a very nice turnkey program for responsive websites for you to check out and try out online. Just let us know your interested and we’ll send you a link to over 50 super nice responsive starting points for your customized website.