2018 Google Speed Update

Starting in July 2018, websites that deliver the slowest experience to users will be negatively impacted on search results. This new ranking algorithm is designed for mobile search and should only affect a small percentage of search queries. With that said, Google has left several months for websites to prepare their pages for the update. Use Google’s free PageSpeed Insights Tool to test the current speed of your website and find ways to improve it. Fixes Include:

Enabling Compression

Google Speed Update

The New Algorithm Should Only Impact Very Slow Sites

If you are at all computer literate then you’ve probably heard of .zip files. These are compressed sets of data within a zipped folder. In the same way files can be compressed, code can be as well. Enabling Gzip compression on WordPress websites can increase speed by 300%. Your options to accomplish this include:

  • Apache: Consult with your web designer to have them edit your websites .htaccess file
  • WP Plugin: Use one of many free WordPress plugins which completes the above task automatically

Image Optimization

Images are an important part of every website because they create visual engagement for the user. With that said, uncompressed images can cause your website to load slowly and cost you valuable traffic. To optimize your images for the web, consider the following:

  • File Format: Ensure your pictures are saved in either JPG or PNG format
  • Free Apps: Choose from a variety of free image compression apps to optimize your images before uploading them
  • WP Smush: Use the plugin WP Smush to compress your images after they are uploaded

Leverage Browser Caching

Google Speed Algorithm

PageSpeed Insights Highlights Causes

Most browsers support caching which allows parts of a website to be stored for future requests so that data can load more efficiently. Websites should leverage browser caching to instruct browsers how to interpret their stored data. They can do this with the following methods:

  • Apache: Instruct your web designer to add cache-control headers to your .htaccess file
  • WP Plugin. Using a plugin like W3 Total Cache which is supported on WordPress

Render Blocking JavaScript and CSS

Most websites utilize some components of JavaScript and CSS. After all, they add visually engaging elements to an otherwise static webpage. With that said, certain blocks of code can prevent websites from loading as quickly as possible. Fixes include:

  • Removal: Removing the instances of code that cause the render blocking
  • Deferment: Adding additional code that instructs the JavaScript to be deferred

Server Response Time

If your slow speed is due to server response time, it can be a complicated fix. It is recommended that you consult with your web design team to solve any server issues that your website is experiencing. Examples of service problems include:

  • Computer Errors: Problems with CPU that either hosts or connects to the server
  • ISP Connection: Problems with the internet service provider that hosts the website
  • Network Health: Glitches or errors within the server network
  • Server Traffic: Over-saturated servers due to a high volume of traffic