In the aftermath of Google’s mobile-friendly update, the importance of optimizing a website for mobile experience is clearer than ever. Yet, this is only one of the aspects webmasters need to handle in order to ensure the best results of their digital efforts.
Namely, passing Google’s mobile-friendly test can give you only a small boost in mobile search, while the overall user experience remains the ultimate goal webmasters should strive to achieve. As some of the most important factors here, website speed and security can prove to be even more critical for succeeding in this plan.
Mobile configuration matters
Mobilegeddon, as the previous Google’s update is popularly referred to, started rolling out on April 21st and was one of the greatest changes the search ecosystem has ever seen. According to some estimates, it affected as much as 40% of searches, which is ten times more than either Panda or Penguin at its peak.
Therefore, those who haven’t been prepared for the update are probably experiencing a significant drop in organic search, which is why they should start working on building a mobile website as soon as possible. Here, it is important to understand that not all the mobile configurations are equally valued by Google, meaning that this should be another strategic decision website owners need to make. Namely, the team at Google clearly explains that there are three distinct ways to build a mobile website, whereupon responsive design should be chosen over dynamic serving and separate URLs whenever possible.
Speed is just as critical
A responsive website would certainly make you qualified to appear in mobile search, but you still need to provide excellent user experience in order to see some actual results. Among other things that help you improve your website’s overall performance, speed is one of the most important factors of user experience and a signal Google values a lot. Given that 40% of users leave a page that doesn’t load fast enough (in less than 3 seconds) and that 88% of them are not likely to come back after a bad experience, website speed should be considered as a major business decision.
Fortunately, there are several simple tweaks that can help you make your website faster. If you’re using WordPress, deleting unnecessary plugins or setting up a caching option should improve the website performance significantly. Additionally, servers your website is running on play a major role in the way your pages are displayed in a browser, which is why changing a web host or choosing a managed hosting plan could be another solution to solving this issue.
Security becomes increasingly important
In the world where cyber breaches have become more commonplace, online safety is a major concern for both end users and web service providers. Similar to other companies that are fighting to make the Internet a safer place, Google tries to raise awareness of this issue in their own way. In August 2014, Google webmaster team announced that the engine will be assigning more value to websites that use SSL protocol, which is intended to make website security a more frequent practice.
The Ericsson Consumer Lab report on online safety, confirmed that 70% of the consumers are concerned about online security systems. Although this is currently only a light-weight signal for search engines, chances are https:// will soon become a more important factor of your website success, as well as having a strong encryption software. Getting a SSL certificate is yet another way for you to ensure higher search positions in future and get a status of a trusted site by both search engines and visitors.
Although content is still what helps you get noticed in search, these three technical aspects are essential to a successful digital strategy. Considering the rapid pace of change in users’ online behavior, it makes sense to re-evaluate your website’s technical aspects in order to make it resistant to all the possible algorithm changes in future.