SEO Weekly & Performance Optimization

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What an eventful week this has been for everyone. Not sure which part of the plane you are, but in the land down under, it seems that Covid-19 has made an enormous comeback. But no matter where you are from, I hope you are healthy physically and mentally. There was never a better time to reach out to friends and family for a quick catch-up or even a digital coffee.

It's OK

But with no further ado, let’s jump into this week’s hottest SEO news.

  • The king is dead, long live the king. Google is depreciating the old Structured Data Testing Tool since the Rich Results Tool now supports all rich results features.
  • Google possibly joining the 20th century and might be adding Regular Expression filtering on GSC. Regular Expressions originated in the 1950s and has been helping users across the known universe, but Google just wasn’t sure about it (or when it comes to GSC users). They updated their documentation to include a “Regex Filter” section that since then they removed, but here’s a cool article from Search Engine Land. Fingers crossed.
  • Knowledge Graphs are coming to Google Images. When you search from mobile devices in the U.S., you might see extra details about the photo. The update is coming for some limited images, but with plans to expand to more photos and locations gradually.

Stop! Data Time!

Here it goes, performance matters. It mattered for years before Google announced it as a ranking factor, and it will matter even more next year with Core Web Vitals becoming a ranking signal. I won’t go into the whole theory that they already consider them a ranking factor.

To test this out, I took some time a few months ago and went all in to optimize a client’s site to the bone. Here’s a before and after photo from Google’s Page Insights.

before-performance-optimization
before
after-performance-optimization
after

Here are the steps I took to make the change.

  • Moved from a shared, cheap hosting (one of the well known ones) to a managed WordPress hosting.
  • Optimized CDN (Fastly!)
  • Manually eliminated a whole bunch of render-blocking resources. It’s not that plugins don’t do a good job, but they rarely know exactly what to defer non-critical CSS.
  • Made sure that text is visible while the page is loading using the font-display property.
  • Adequately set up caching for all resources, especially the static ones.
  • Optimized on-page multimedia assets using Imgix

What changed organically?

indexed pages

This is a rapid growth of the more valuable pages getting indexed. Why?
The performance takes a big cut from your crawl budget. Imagine having to crawl the entire web. What busy work that is…

Imagine having to wait for 6 seconds to load a single page. That’s big, no, no. Making your site faster means that the time allocated for your website by the engine, more pages are going to fit within that period.

Here’s a hint: If everything seems flat for a while and you’ve tried out everything maybe it’s time to start working on your performance. There is always something you can tweak.

Hope that was informative and fun to read!

Stay tuned for next week’s newsletter named Myth Busting – “SEO is Slow”

Talk soon,
Angelos

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