Page speed load times are a critical factor in determining where your website ranks in a Google search return. Google wants to be sure that people who visit websites they display in their search engine have a good experience and are not frustrated by technical issues. That is why Google created a free tool to help developers uncover load speed problems in their website designs. The tool is called PageSpeed insights and is available here: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
When you enter a URL into PageSpeed Insights, Google’s bot hits it and records how long it takes specific elements to load. Google then catalogs which elements of the webpage are causing delays. At the conclusion of the PageSpeed test, Google returns a score for both the mobile and desktop site. They then make recommendations on areas that could be improved. Scores range from 0-100, with anything over 90 considered “Good” (the top rating).
Some of the PageSpeed recommendations are easy to correct, such as resizing images. Others are a little more difficult, such as CSS adjustments and JavaSript updates. These types of fixes will most likely require a skilled programmer who can repair your site without breaking other areas of the code or functions.
In addition to creating a good user experience, having a fast performing site can move your site higher in the search returns. Google refers to this as the “page speed ranking factor.” When the Google algorithm examines two very similar sites, it must determine on which site would a person have a better experience? If site A has similar content to site B, but has technical problems and takes a long time to load, Google is likely to reward site B and rank it higher than site A. Google’s motivation is simple: keep people using Google and don’t give them any reason to switch to Yahoo or Bing. If Google continuously sends their users to technically strenuous sites, they will eventually lose those users to search engines that can present better search returns. The more technically unsound your website is, the more likely it is to be buried deep in the search returns.
Further, while Google has been slowly incorporating PageSpeed load times as a ranking factor since 2010, it has only been in the last six months that the “page speed ranking factor” has been applied to ranking mobile sites.
If you are unaware, mobile phone searches now make up nearly 60% of all Internet searches. Google has already adjusted to this trend by ranking technically sound mobile websites above traditional websites when users conduct their Google searches on mobile phones. What you need to know is that if your potential client is looking for a lawyer on her iPhone and your website is not optimized for mobile viewing, she is less likely to find your website than she is a competitor’s mobile website that Google has rated as “Good”. However, if she searches from her desktop computer, and your website is optimized for desktop browsing, she’s likely to receive a different search return from Google, one showing sites that perform well on desktop computers, and perhaps more likely to find your site. But since we now know that mobile search exceeds desktop search, it is equally important that both your sites be as technically sound as possible.
If you have run your law firm’s website through the PageSpeed Insights analysis and are concerned about your scores, Law Father can help. We can examine Google’s technical assessment and create a plan to make the necessary repairs and adjustments. In most cases, this work can be completed in 3-4 days. Once completed, we will then send a re-crawel request to Google, asking them to re-evaluate your law firm’s website and update your website’s PageSpeed score. This work can help improve your page speed ranking factor and your position in Google’s organic search returns. To schedule a PageSpeed update, call 800.325.7715 or fill out the contact form on https://www.lawfather.net.
*As an interesting side note, I ran Google.com through Google’s own PageSpeed analysis and found that Google’s mobile site has a few issues of its own =)