Why publish something to the web if you don’t intend for people to find it? The trouble is everyone else is doing the same and with billions of options it comes down to ten results that will make the first page of a search result. How do you get yours on that?
Nothing great is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig. I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.Epictetus
Fast is relative. I think the most important way to approach this question is by focusing on the real intent … whats the important part? Ranking the site … fast is a good to have … but ultimately we want to rank. So how does one do it?
Theres a lot of ways, and many start with content. Many marketers will say “Content is King” and I agree with them but I add “and SEO is the crown.” What I mean is that no one will know without a signal that your content is the best. That signal is the efforts you put into place to get it noticed. Just as a crown signals to visitors that this one … this is the king.
So building the absolute best content is not enough to rank. I’m sorry but thats just life. You don’t and shouldn’t leave it here though, you have the best content so now thats get it noticed.
I focus heavily on technical factors that will effect your SEO. Thats because these are usually easy one time fixes with wide implications. If we fix your security certificate it will affect not one page but every page. Improving the response time on your server will enhance performance for every page. Why would these matter?
If content is King and SEO is the crown, then User Experience is the crown jewel. With over 200 factors going into the ranking of a website the largest group of these that also have the largest pull on the outcome all have to deal with User Experience. Google doesn’t want to deliver searchers to a bad, clunky experience … no matter how great the text is on the page if the site experience sucks, users won’t stay around to appreciate that content.
Research supports that as well. Its sometimes hard to tell when something is good but its almost always easy to tell when its wrong. Heres an example.
This is wrong. Its a bad experience. The page fully loads in 18 seconds, it requires the downloading of over 1100 different files. So much is happening on the page that the content shifts randomly as new elements are placed into the page. Consider these metrics:
Sadly I wanted to display how bad the site is but 2 of the tools I use came back with the site took too long too load. Yikes! I reran it a few times…and finally got some data.
That CLS is the shifting in the layout … shouldnt be above .1 and notice the fully loaded value of 21 seconds! This is People Magazine, youd think they would have this stuff together but … no not at all! This all goes toward the pages User Experience….and this page sucks.
Another test shows us
Notice again that high CLS … thats actually why I picked the page…I was reading and it just was moving all around. But also, looking at that horrible load time at 48 seconds! With over 1000 files needed to display the page.
Mapping out all the requested files we get this image:
In comparison, this page took about 60 files to build. Why is this so much bigger? Ads and trackers …. so much so the site ranked an F for security.
So … now we understand whats wrong. It becomes pretty easy to define what you should do to rank your awesome content.
Keep the page load under 3 seconds, limiting the number of files needed to create the page, be gentle with your ads and trackers. Avoid shifts in the page layout. All of these factors will serve you well in ranking that content, fast.
Google isn’t going to rank content well if users are going to hate the result.