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Speed is Everything [Summary of Search]

Page loading speed has great importance with Google these days. From mobile visitors to Googlebots, every visitor will appreciate a speedy experience. Here are some ideas to keep in mind:

1. Rise of mobile

The importance of mobile can be seen in Google’s announcements the last few years. Mobile users are more impatient than ever, and Google provided stats last week regarding just how impatient mobile users are:

– The average mobile page takes 22 seconds to load, but 53% of users leave after 3 seconds!

– Even mobile landing pages in AdWords were found to take 10 seconds loading time.

There are many easy changes available for sites to make, as the answer isn’t always in purchasing a faster web server. Google’s own analysis found that simply compressing images and text can be a “game changer”—30% of pages could save more than 250KB that way.

2. Ranking factor

A few years back, Google made page speed a small ranking factor – or at least they were finally explicit about it being a ranking factor. Since page speed issues aren’t given the exposure of crawl errors and other items in Google Search Console, it can be easy to put them on the “long list” of items to fix. Its addition as a ranking factor is a great signal that this needs to be prioritized.

3. Bounce rate

Nice try, loading up your site with images that take forever to load. Unfortunately, that doesn’t increase the duration of site visits. It just makes people angry. According to Google’s analysis, every second of loading time, from 1 to 7 seconds, increases the chance of a bounce by 113%! Many SEOs believe that “engagement metrics” such as bounce rate could also be a ranking factor. And it makes sense: When Google sees a rise in organic bounce rate, they know human visitors are judging the content. How could Google not take this data into account?

4. Crawl rate

In one recent test, increasing page speed across a site dramatically increased the site’s crawl budget. Slower sites can be overwhelmed by crawl activity. But if you ever feel the need to put a crawl delay in your robots.txt, take that as a warning sign. After all, even reasonably fast sites can often need more crawl budget.

Tools and Fixes

Luckily there are remedies. Some can be quite easy, such as adding compression to your web server. Others might require a trip to Photoshop for your site’s images. However, some items will not be worth fixing. Try to concentrate on the easiest tasks first. Run an analysis of your site through these two tools and see what you need to fix:

Google’s newest tool:

Test how mobile-friendly your site is.

GTmetrix.com features include a “waterfall” showing which page items load at which stage, history, monitoring, and more.

Good luck and enjoy optimizing the speed of your site!

Five Ways To Save Money using Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing

If you are using Pay Per Click advertising with Google or Yahoo, you are probably aware of what it feels like to light money on fire. If you have a limited amount of money, you get a bad feeling in your stomach.

Google and Yahoo have two main ways on displaying the advertisements you are paying for: to searchers, and across their content network. The content network consists of web pages that may have articles containing your keywords, and it is the focus of our five tips.

You see, these content ads are shown to a completely different audience than search ads. Search ads are usually shown to visitors actively engaged in the buying process. Whether they are doing preliminary research, evaluating features, or comparing prices, search visitors are on a completely different wavelength than the group being shown your content ads.

Here are some tips to make sure your Content ad campaign is as effective as possible:

1. Treat your content ad completely different from your search ad
First of all, consider placing your content ad in a new campaign. You want to keep it separate from your search ad, and let it evolve in it’s own direction over time. Don’t let it get too close to your search ad – keep them separated! Be sure to use different ad copy and ad titles: Everything about your content ad should be different than your search ad.

2. Setup Google link alerts to see where your ads are showing
Want to know where your ads are showing? Of course you do – It tells you where your money is being burned spent! Sign up for Google Alerts for the search term “domain.com”

Using this service, you’ll receive email alerts whenever Google comes across your ad. Sometimes, you will see your ad has shown up on a page that you don’t necessarily want it to. Google’s guess may sometimes be wrong. After all, “Pad Printing” doesn’t always refer to printing on notepads. You should log back into Google AdWords – or Yahoo Search Marketing – and exclude that site from your list of allowed sites on which to show ads.

3. Use different display URLs to split test

Your display URL is part of the advertisement. Google recognizes this, and so allows you to choose a URL different from the actual location to display to your prospective visitors.

Try different display URLs and watch the results: Is one getting a better “Click Through Rate”? Improve the worst of the two, and test some more.

4. Split test your landing pages, too

It might also be that traffic from certain content ads converts better than others. Set up a split test with two identical content ads, but send visitors to two different “landing pages”. These landing pages are just the destinations that your ad leads visitors to. They might be named “Contact-Us.html” and “Contact.html”, if you are selling a service. Using Google Analytics, you can sometimes see which landing page converts best into a visitor clicking your “contact us” form.

5. Make sure display URLs also redirect
Google crawls through javascript links, and we’ve seen several cases where links from AdWords get into Google’s index. The URL that you choose for Google to display may actually direct traffic right to your site! We call this effect “PPC leakthrough”, because these links are leaking out of the adwords system and into Google’s main index.
For example, on our myKarateStore.com advertisement for “Wing Chun Dummies”, we use “http://www.myKarateStore.com/dummy/” as the URL displayed in the ad. Even though that page is not the exact location Google’s AdWords system directs visitors to, we make sure it goes somewhere meaningful.

More tips to save money with Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing! Get Joy Milkowski’s “Amazing Results with Google AdWords” course – it pays for itself.