Cut the crap! Lose slow content to get your search rank back!

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=””][vc_column_text]One of the key metrics for page quality is load speed.  Slow pages will be left in the dust – no matter how good your content.  Cut the crap from your pages and improve load times for a free rank boost.

Tools like Flash or JavaScript, and design elements with multiple image files can cripple your loading speed.  By trimming the page and getting lean you can greatly improve how your page is perceived by search algorithms.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

This week’s transcript:

Greg, here, from Mtek.  

This week’s SEO Tip: Cut the crap.

As we’ve talked about before, performance is a big factor in your ability to rank well, whether that be on Google or Bing or anywhere else—predominantly on Google.  And since Google has such a huge piece of the search market, well, getting that right is important.  I don’t mean cut the crap; I mean cut out the crap.  Very often as designers and developers over the years we’ve put in things in our pages that look good or that we feel provides some value to the user, whether that be animation or applets or extra scripts or Flash files.  The truth is Google doesn’t care about those, and most users don’t either.  They’ve come to your site looking for information, looking for an answer, and unless that piece of code or that Flash file delivers the answer, you’re probably better off not having it at all, particularly when we talk about Flash.  So we’re going to start with Flash.

Flash is a great technology.  It served us well for a number of years, and it created some very engaging and animated and interesting things to look at on the web, and certainly things that made you stand apart from some of the other sites that were similar to yours, perhaps.  Here’s the problem:  Flash is not supported on virtually any mobile device.  And because it’s no longer supported on mobile devices, it’s not doing you any good with probably 50% of your visitors or more.  If you still have Flash components on your site, it’s time to get rid of them.  Integrate that content, create HTML if necessary, and if it’s purely there for decoration, there are better ways and faster ways. 

Similarly, JavaScript.  If a script is necessary or valuable, that’s one thing—analytics, or if you’ve got a tool for engagement or monitoring conversions.  There’s probably a good reason for it to be there.  But if you’ve got a script file that is merely putting a clock on the screen, if it’s not adding value, it’s taking away search rank.  Time to get rid of it. 

The other thing to consider is that every single object you put on that page outside the HTML requires a call to the server.  Some browsers can group up calls if there are, say, 10 images on the same server; it can ask for all 10 of them at the same time, but not always.  And if they’re on different servers, they are discreet requests to different places.  Content management tools like Joomla or WordPress, they already include a number of scripts and ActiveX objects and different graphics and different plugins.  In fact every plugin can have a call or two or three or more to multiple servers.  So, cut down on the number of widgets you’re using.  Cut down on the number of plugins you’re using, and really narrow it down to those things that are necessary to deliver on the experience for your users and your customers.  Because those are not working in your favour.

In short, cut the crap.  Get rid of those Flash files that aren’t doing you any good; and in fact, the algorithm appears to be starting to drop ranks for people using Flash.  There isn’t a lot of math involved to support that one way or the other but we know the direction search is moving:  Fast, light, works on mobile.  Flash doesn’t accomplish any of those three, so chances are you’re going to get hit by it.  Any JavaScript files or other source files that you’re pulling in from other locations, minimize that, because the more of them you have, the worst you’re going to do.  It’s about performance and this is a big factor in making sure your performance is up to snuff. 

That’s this week’s tip:  Cut the crap.  We’ll see you next time.  I’m Greg, from Mtek.