Did you know that a one second delay in page load time leads to nearly 7% loss in conversions and 11% fewer page views? [Akamai study] On the other hand, enhanced website speed results in improvements in customer experience and sales. Having a fast site is essential, not just for ranking well on Google but keeping your ROI high as well. Google also understands that customers want to access accurate information quickly and consequently rewards websites that load quickly.

Average Page Load Times for Websites in 2019
Looking back, we’ve found that the recommended page load time in 2018 [Machmetrics] was under 3 seconds. However, Google research has shown that on an average, a fraction of websites are close to their recommended mobile speed across industry sectors.

speedy pages

Over a decade ago, Google launched “Let’s make the web faster” initiative and made a number of commitments and encouraged site designers to think twice about adding a feature that hurts performance if the benefit of the feature is unproven. Since then, they have introduced a number of tools to test your domain for mobile speed and the PageSpeed Insights tool that analyzes the content of your website and generates suggestions to make that webpage faster.

How to Speed Up Your Site in 2020 - Top Tips
1. Choose your host wisely: The web host is where your site lives (literally!) and the host’s server determines how quickly information is passed on to your user when they try to access your site. Make sure that you pick a hosting provider and plan that suit your requirements. While shared hosting continues to be the most popular type of hosting, you can try virtual private servers hosting or a dedicated server to meet your needs. With the advent of dedicated cloud resources, you can choose from a range of options for on-demand scalability.

2. Optimize the size of web images: Images are generally large files that tend to slow down a website. You can choose to compress images using tools or use the HTML responsive attributes that adjust image size. If that does not work, you can choose to upload the smallest possible version of your image for your site.

3. Go AMP: While it’s good to optimize your website for mobile, it’s also important to ensure that mobile browser pages allow your users to enjoy your content too. In simple terms, Accelerated Mobile Pages is an open-source initiative project. It has been designed specifically to optimize faster mobile pages.

4. Deal with 404: They slow down your site as they take up space that could otherwise have valid content. Based on the traffic they generate, you can set redirect or fix link addresses.

5. Optimize Javascript, CSS: Both these aspects are fairly easy to optimize with the help of tools. You can use PageSpeed Insights to easily identify which code requires minification. CSS Minifier is a free tool that you can leverage to automatically compress CSS assets on your site.

In conclusion, we all know that consumers have short attention spans and you don’t want to give them any reason to leave your site before they intended to. Use the tools that are mentioned in this article and the techniques stated to ensure that your site loads faster and your customers remained engaged on your website.

If you have any further queries on website evaluation and optimization, feel free to reach out to us.

social media buttonsLinking your social media pages from your website is a simple, yet effective means to boost your overall digital marketing strategy. Apart from being a great marketing platform, it helps you provide an opportunity for your social media pages to become shareable. Read on to find out how you can leverage social media links on your website to keep your customers up-to-date.

It’s not enough to create an amazing website, you also need to figure out how to promote your website in order to reach a larger audience online. Your website visitors are one of the best sources to spread the word if you leverage social sharing buttons. While you might be tempted to include links to every social media profile you might have, we recommend that you create social sharing buttons for the top sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. You also need to determine the right option between profile links and share buttons or use both as appropriate for your business and services.

Icon placement matters!
The positioning of social media icons is also an important aspect to drive engagement. Social profile link icons fit right at the header as it attracts the eyes of the site visitors as soon as they land on your website. The top of the sidebar is another way to grab the attention of the visitors. You can choose to place share buttons above or below your articles or blog posts as you will see at leading websites such as TechCrunch and Mashable.
Did you know that the sharing buttons on your website can be configured to pre-populate content when your users take to channels such as Facebook, Twitter to more? Read this article to find out more about editing default text and image for your social share posts.

Where to find the best free social media icons?
There are a number of online sources for high-quality, free social media icons that you can use on your website. Iconmonstr is a free, monstrously big and continuously growing source of simple icons that are available in different design variations and the right format for every app. There are other options such as Vecteezy that feature trendy sets of sticker style social media icons that you will find useful based on your website.

Final thoughts
Are you still wondering why you need to have social media links and buttons on your website? If you want to encourage people to share your website, article or visit your social media profile, you need to make it easy for them to do it. Don’t forget to create content that garners shares and compels your user to visit your social media profile!

How Google search works? The basics of crawling and indexing.

With over 90% of searches done on Google, it's imperative to know how google operates.

Imagine publishing a novel without having penned as much as a diary entry ever before. It might certainly work if you are lucky, but it’s a lot easier to know the core elements of writing beforehand.

Even before a user hits the search option on Google, the search engine has organized information about the webpages in the search index. It is essential to understand how Google organizes information to deliver the most relevant, useful results in a fraction of a second to your users online. While the Google Search Console Help has detailed information on crawling and indexing, we have tried to capture the most essential elements of how Google search works to help you understand how your website stands a better chance of showing up on search results.

Crawling, indexing and ranking - Understanding a website from Google’s point of view

To be at the top of your game on Google search, you need to understand and have in-depth information about these three terms. The process undertaken by Google’s spider crawler to scan the website for content, images, links and other credible information is known as crawling. This helps Google understand what your website is all about, how it should be categorized and allocated search results rankings. You can use the Crawl Stats report for information on Googlebot's activity on your site for the last 3 months. These stats take into account all downloaded content types such as CSS, JavaScript, Flash, and PDF files, and images. You can find a sample report below:

google crawling and indexing

Have you recently added additional pages or changes to your site? It is recommended that you ask Google to (re)index it using any of the methods listed.

The process of indexing refers to Google storing information (all the content it has discovered and deems good enough to serve to searchers), in an index. Just because your site can be discovered and crawled by Google doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be stored in its index and will be ranked soon after. Not just that, pages can be removed from the index too and the most common reasons for the same are: URL is returning a "not found" or server error or violates search engine Webmaster guidelines. Once you have ensured that the above are taken care of, you can use the page- and text-level settings to adjust how Google presents your content in search results.

Did you know that there are over 200 factors that Google considers when delivering search results. Some of them are:

  • High ranking content. It is essential to focus on value of content and not the word count. Apart from that, it is essential to incorporate engaging visual content to complement the written word.
  • Structured data. Google Search can enable a rich set of features for your page in search results. However, it can achieve this if it understands the content on the page or if you have provided additional information in the page code using structured data. Learn more about how content appears in Google search and how to enable rich results with structured data.
  • Mobile-friendliness is another major SEO ranking factor. With an ever-increasing number of people using mobile devices than desktops, there have been changes in how Google ranks search results. Read more about the Google mobile-first index and ensure that your site is mobile optimized.
  • Other factors to consider include - how well your content matches user queries, how quickly your website loads, how many people have shared your content online and more.

If you want to find out more about your site’s crawling or indexing status, please get in touch with us.

Can 404 errors lead to negative impact on your site’s ranking? Yes, it can. But there’s more to 404 than that. If you run a website or blog, it is important that you create a custom 404 page. This can help direct visitors who encounter this error on your website.

What is a 404 error message?
A 404 or Not found error message is an HTTP response code. As per HTTP status code blocks, 400 block shows client errors or it means that a page was not found. 404 error is a result of the requested page not being found. It is usually accompanied by a message as “page not found” or “The page you are trying to access does not exist”.

404 error

They are not all bad as they might be a result of an error on the user’s side too. For instance, if a user mistypes the URL or requesting for a page that does not actually exist. In this case, Google does not penalize you if you served a 404 error as the cause is a ‘bad URL’.

Watch this video to see what John Mueller says is the best way to deal with 404 errors.

How to find the 404 errors on your website?
You need to use the Google Search Console to identify these errors on your website. They are listed under Crawl Errors as soft 404s and “Not Found”. If you think that your page is incorrectly flagged as soft 404, you need to use the URL inspection tool to find the most recently indexed version of that page.

Clever error pages that we found!
With some effort in crafting the right 404 page design, these brands are able to re-engage their users so they continue exploring the site. Here are a few of them:

404 error2

404 error3

404 error4

Why you should create custom 404 pages?
As you would have observed, adding an interactive element even on your error page gives your site’s visitors an action item in order to find the page they were looking for or find an option to help. This increases time on page and reduces bounce rates and both are important from the perspective of Google. Cracking a smile in an otherwise frustrating situation, your user’s are sure to do that with creative error pages. More importantly, it helps them find the information they're looking for. Here are some suggestions for creating an effective 404 page (as per Google):

  • Use friendly and inviting language to let your user know that the page they’re looking for cannot be found.
  • Add links to your most popular pages as well as a link to your home page.
  • Your webserver needs to return an actual 404 HTTP status code when a missing page is requested, to prevent 404 pages from being indexed by the search engines.
  • Ensure that you have an option for users to report broken links.

We hope that this post has helped you understand what a 404 Error Page is and how important is to manage it.

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