Is Your Website Slow? Google Now Punishes You

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Post by
Jordan Stambaugh

Next-Generation SEO

The next wave of algorithm changes that affect how your business appears (or doesn't appear) online is here.

In July of 2018, Google pushed its “PageSpeed” update. This is just one in a long line of search algorithm updates that have kept digital marketers on their toes.

As an example, Google understands user intent on a deeper level than ever before. When you search for something on Google, it's not just the key term you typed in that Google is going to consider when showing you search results. Now its algorithms can input the user's context, such as the user's search history, location, and other information directly into the search equation.

This is the obvious reason why when you search, "breweries" in Bellingham, you don't get a list of every brewery in the United States.

However with the latest update, Google says it will prioritize fast-loading websites over slow-loading ones when ranking them in search results.

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Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to this change. 95% of the time, small businesses host their websites in "shared" server environments that have limited resources. Bluehost, GoDaddy, Hostgator, InMotion, and Siteground are just a few of the major hosting providers and they all offer shared hosting to their clients.

If you think you're on shared hosting or are not sure, give us a call at (360) 383-5662 and we can talk about moving your website to a fast, dedicated server.

Most business owners don't think that a slow website will affect their business that much. A 2016 survey found that only 21% of small businesses planned on improving their website’s performance that year.

In addition to Google’s updated algorithms, the way people behave and search for things online has also changed. More people are using mobile phones to search than ever before. For many people, their smartphone is their most important tool for getting online.

Local search and image search have also become important factors for marketers to consider. 30% of all mobile searches are related to location and 46% of all Google searches are local. Businesses that cater to a local customer base should focus extensively on their local SEO strategy in 2019.

According to one 2017 report, 27% of all searches across the 10 major search sites were for images.

To optimize for search in 2019, businesses should do the following:

  • Create pages with the user in mind, not the search engine
  • Prioritize an easy user experience
  • Integrate different types of media into each page
  • Implement a white hat backlinking strategy
  • Optimize every page for load speed
  • Use schema markup
  • Use a sitemap
  • Focus on video
  • Create more long-form written content
  • Optimize for local search

Any business that generates a large portion of its revenue through search engine results pages (SERPs) can’t afford to neglect these tactics in 2019.

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