John Mueller Explains The Connection Between Page Speed And June-July Core Updates
Page speed can affect a website's Google SEO rankings, so it is important for Google SEO agencies and online businesses to optimise their pages properly. Recently, an SEO asked Google's John Mueller if the core algorithm updates in June and July had something to do with page speed.
Google rolled out a Core Algorithm Update in June 2021 alongside the Page Experience Update and the Spam Algorithm Update.
Blaming specific site changes or links during a core algorithm update is not the best approach. Sometimes, the drop in rankings might not even be relevant to the site changes; they could be purely coincidental. Therefore, site owners could have difficulty identifying the factors contributing to the changes in the rankings in June 2021 since there were multiple algorithm updates that month.
Relevance Of Core Algorithm Updates To Page Speed
The SEO community observed that websites with fast page speed gained rankings during the June and July 2021 algorithm updates. However, some sites were unfortunate and saw a drop in their rankings. The person who asked the question wanted Mueller to confirm whether the core algorithm updates were related to page speed.
As a reply, Mueller noted that core algorithm updates and page speed were unique and separate updates. Google calls them core updates because they both affect the core of their ranking systems, but this does not necessarily mean that they will affect the same core parts. Mueller said that one should not assume that two are related.
Mueller next discussed the connection between page speed and ranking changes. He said that speed could be relevant because Google started launching the Page Experience Update in June. So, SEOs might have seen some changes in July. But the core update itself is not relevant to the page experience update.
In May 2021, Google launched a new version of Keras-based TF-Ranking, a platform where Google can research and develop new learning to rank (LTR) models and produce them quickly. After this update, the search engine company released multiple spam and algorithm updates in June and July. Google hasn't confirmed that the two are related, but the pace of releasing algorithm updates became noticeably fast.
Since the search engine company made several updates in June and July, online businesses and SEO experts might have difficulty isolating specific changes and attributing fluctuations in the Google SEO rankings to the core algorithm update. However, Mueller emphasised that speed could indeed be related.
Improving Page Speed
Page speed, also referred to as "page load time", is the time it takes for a browser to receive the first byte of information from the webserver or fully show the content on a specific page. SEOs can evaluate their page speed with Google's PageSpeed Insights feature. This tool uses reports on DOMContentLoaded (DCL) and First Contentful Paint (FCP), as well as data from Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX).
Page speed is one of the most important signals that Google uses to rank sites. Moreover, a slow page speed results in search engines crawling fewer pages using their limited budget, which could badly affect indexation. Page speed also contributes to a site's user experience because a longer load time usually leads to higher bounce rates.
It is not surprising that websites with improved page speed provide a better user experience and get higher rankings. Because of this, improving page speed has become one of the top priorities for many website owners.
Below are some of the best practices one should do to improve page speed:
Improve Server Response Time
Use a content distribution network
Images should be the right size - not too big and not too small. They should also be in the right file format; JPEGs are most suitable for photographs, while PNGs are better for graphics with fewer than 16 colours.
Site owners can also use CSS sprites to make a template for pictures on their icons and buttons. CSS sprites combine photos into one large image that loads simultaneously, resulting in fewer HTTP requests. Moreover, it allows one to control the sections where they want their pictures to show.
Many factors can affect the server response time, including the software the server uses, the hosting solution, the resources for each page, and the amount of traffic. One can improve their server response time by looking for issues, such as slow routing, lack of adequate memory, etc.
By optimising code in various ways, such as removing commas, spaces, and unnecessary characters, one can significantly increase page speed. One could also remove their formatting, code comments, and unused code using various tools like UglifyJS and CSSNano.
Every time a page redirects to another page, the site visitor waits for the HTTP request-response cycle to finish. These additional redirects can cause a web page to load slower. Therefore, one should reduce the number of redirects on their website.
Browsers need to create a DOM tree by analysing HTML before rendering the page. If a browser finds a script in the process, it needs to stop and remove it before proceeding.
Content distribution networks (CDNs) or content delivery networks are networks of servers used to distribute the load of delivering content. Moreover, copies of websites are stored in different data centres to enable faster access for users.
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