online reputation management

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!

Social Media Optimization: Important Real Estate

If you haven’t setup profiles for your organization on the larger social media websites, you might be missing out on an important opportunity for branding and online reputation management.

1. Branding URLs exist on many social media websites
Major companies are increasingly spreading URLs like http://myspace.com/microsoft in their marketing campaigns, and these destinations have become important virtual real estate. Losing control of such a visible page location could damage a company’s online reputation and negatively influence branding campaigns.

2. Social Media destinations may be difficult to reclaim
Myspace urges users to choose their profile destination wisely, saying it can NEVER be changed. That’s right – NEVER. If you are the first Corey Ryder or David Soard on a social media site, then you are the first. I think that’s more of a function of customer service than technology, but expect it to be a lengthy process possibly involving lawyers if you ever want to change your name. It’s much better now to spend an hour creating profiles on social media websites. And while you’re there, take a look around. Did your competitors think to create their profiles?

3. Think carefully about your brand before adding content
As important as it is to claim your profiles, be careful of the message your profile may send. A local telecommunications company had “Does not want children” in their myspace profile. Not only is this harmful to the brand, but also detracts from the main message. And remember: archive.org makes anything posted on the internet live FOREVER.

With new social media websites popping up everyday, where should you focus? Make a list of social media websites where your branding is most important. What sites would your potential customers and partners visit? What sites have the most visibility? Now that you have your list, spend that Friday afternoon staking your claims – your online reputation will thank you!