Subscribe to Our Newsletter

x

Inside Google’s SEO Roadmap

It hasn't even been a full year since Google redesigned how they measure page speed, an update which put site performance at the top of its ranking factors. So high, in fact, that over the months it's become clear that page speed can deeply impact your overall SEO ranking and even make your ad buys more expensive.

In short, performance is everything to Google. As the platform improves how it defines optimal page speed, Google will only continue to favor the fast and trusted web. So before things develop any further, it's important to get acquainted with how Google currently measures page speed and, specifically, the metrics the platform has identified as mattering the most.


Understanding Site Performance

According to Google, one of the most common misconceptions about site performance is that it's measured solely based on load time. While this isn't exactly untrue, what's often misconstrued is that load time is based on one user's experience. But we know that every user experiences a different load time based on the conditions of their connection, device, and so on. This means load times are measured across a host of different times collected from various users instead.

To better illustrate, here's a graph from Google:

In the graph, the x-axis represents load times, and the y-axis shows the number of users who experienced that particular load time. So while most of the users in this example experienced a fast load time of less than a second, there were still many users who experienced a much slower load time.

Slow load times can be caused by a number of things. For example, if there's too much JavaScript on a site, the code can take longer to execute and slow down the site's progress. Because of this, it's important to not just consider initial load time when measuring site performance, but rather a user's entire experience on site. Is the site animating smoothly? Are clickable links too slow to register? The best way to understand a user's journey is by becoming familiar with the metrics Google uses to determine their experience.

The User-Centric Metrics That Matter

User experience isn't just important from a technology standpoint; it's a make-or-break factor in any publisher's content strategy. If you're producing quality content, it's important to first make sure that content can be viewed with ease.

According to Google, when a user first arrives at a site, this is what both parties are looking for:

From Google.

To answer these questions, Google has broken down each into a few meaningful measurements:

From Google.

Let's break down what each of these means:

  • First Paint (FP): FP is the amount of time it takes for any visual content to appear on site, which answers the question: Is it happening?
  • First Meaningful Paint (FMP): This is the amount of time it takes the most important content, what Google calls "hero elements" to load on site. Hero elements are different for every site, but should be intuitive based on your content. This metric answers the question: Is it useful?
  • Time to Interactive (TTI): This is the most important metric to keep an eye on. This is when the site is fully rendered and ready for user action. This can be a critical point when slow load time can occur, due to JavaScript that hasn't fully loaded or long tasks, which you will learn about shortly. So, in short, think of TTI as how long it takes for your site to load completely, answering the question: Is it usable?
  • Long Tasks: As you see in the chart above, long tasks are something you want to avoid. When a browser executes JavaScript, it delivers it in a series of tasks one by one. Sometimes certain tasks take longer to complete than others, causing site load time to tank quickly. Here's a link to Long Tasks API, which identifies tasks that take 50 milliseconds or longer to load.

These metrics are your roadmap to how Google will rank your site's performance and, ultimately, where it ends up in the search rankings. Here's a good visual on how the load journey works:

From Google.

How to Get One of the Fastest Sites on the Open Web

The best way to test your own site's performance score is by using Google's PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse tools. This article demonstrates some good ways to track Google's key metrics to see if your site is performing.

It's always best to measure, test, and repeat to optimize your site for speed. The good news is that by focusing on these metrics, you aren't just prioritizing overall load time, but you're also overhauling your entire user experience for the better.

At RebelMouse, we've tracked social and search algorithm changes and how they impact the publishing industry for many years. Thanks to the massive scale of our CMS platform, we live close to data like site performance, and are able to identify the key strategy changes publishers need to make to stay on top of industry standards.

An example of an article page speed score from RebelMouse-powered Mikkeller Brewing NYC.

Now that platform dependence has subsided, and the rise of subscription-based models and thoughtful news aggregators are becoming more popular, user experience is what will set your site apart in a very saturated space. In 2013, publishers asked themselves: "How do I get the most reach on Facebook?" In 2019, the question has become: How do I make my site the best it can be? This is the ticket to unlocking modern sustainable growth and building a loyal user base.

We've built and host some of the fastest sites on the web, often beating out major publishers with huge tech teams and budgets. RebelMouse is made up of a team of traffic-obsessed, data-driven strategists. We make small updates to our platform daily to prioritize speed. Whether it's more options for lazy loading or updating all images to Google's next-generation image format, our product is always adapting — and so is Google.

Google isn't done defining just how they'll define page speed moving forward, but this roadmap is a good start, and a ticket to your site's monetary health and SEO ranking. If your site isn't optimized for speed like it should be, request a proposal today and we'll help you build one of the fastest sites on the open web. Let's create something meaningful together.

Related Articles

You're almost there! Fill out the form below and a Rebel will contact you within one business day.

x

Meet RebelMouse

Build on a better platform that supports far-reaching content distribution, impactful conversion, and unparalleled loyalty.

The world's largest companies trust us to power their global, multiplatform content experience. As a platform, we're now one of the largest in the world, reaching 50+ million people every month. As a creative agency, we build mass pop culture hits that grow organically to become household names — Axios and The Dodo, for example.

We work strategically with United Airlines and many other brands to establish the new media roadmap for their future and implement it. RebelMouse was founded by the CTO who built The Huffington Post. The founding vision and mission is still the same today: to be the right new media platform for both media companies and brands. It's working exceedingly well, and we're delivering some staggering results for our clients.

Read our latest deck here!

Keep reading... Show less

Related Posts vs. Posts in Assembler

Here's the difference between Related Posts and Posts in Assembler.

By using Related Posts and Posts in Assembler, you can help your audience stay engaged with your site's content and generate more traffic. Both of these features can be added to any post through Entry Editor.

When creating or editing a post, you can add a Related Posts section to the bottom of it that consists of a selection of existing posts on your site that you choose to surface. Only the main image and content headline are pulled, along with a link to the original post. This is similar to the Around the Web section that also shows up at the end of your post when you enable it from the SEO tab of Entry Editor.

Keep reading... Show less

Site Accessibility on RebelMouse

In today's digital world, it's more important than ever to ensure that your website is accessible to all users regardless of any disability they may have. Google recognizes how important this is, and now includes an accessibility score in their PageSpeed Insights tool to alert site owners when their site's level of accessibility is not up to par.

Although website accessibility does not directly impact page speed scores, it's quickly becoming an industry standard amongst forward-thinking companies. One key way to ensure your website is making the accessibility grade is through the use of Accessible Rich Internet Applications, or ARIA for short.

Keep reading... Show less

RebelMouse Makes the List of Fastest-Growing Private Companies — the Inc. 5000

Ranking No. 4,664 With Three-Year Revenue Growth of 61%

Inc. magazine today revealed that RebelMouse is 4,664 on its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy's most dynamic segment — its independent small businesses. Microsoft, Dell, Domino's Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000.

RebelMouse blends product and strategy together to move the needle where it matters most: organic traffic and user growth, conversion to loyalty, and revenue growth.

Our next-generation CMS seamlessly adapts to every industry. We've helped launch some of the biggest new media companies to date, and have also propelled brands like United Airlines, PAPER Magazine, and Dance Magazine to success in the digital and social space. Our creative agency has a unique advantage because of our access to incredible amounts of data. We understand new media better than anyone else in the world, and we help media companies modernize and leapfrog competitors. In addition, we help developer, digital, and editorial teams become best-in-class content marketers.

RebelMouse's team spans dozens of countries and nearly all time zones. Our founder and CEO Andrea Breanna is proudly transgender, and prioritizes more women and LGBTQ+ representation in the tech space. As a company breaking industry norms, we're excited to be featured in the 2019 Inc. 5000.

"I'm proud that we're building a lasting, valuable company in a different way. We have a truly diverse global team that puts women and LGBTQ+ people first," Breanna said.

The 2019 Inc. 5000 achieved an astounding three-year average growth of 454%, and a median rate of 157%. The Inc. 5000's aggregate revenue was $237.7 billion in 2018, accounting for 1,216,308 jobs over the past three years. Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.

NEW! Style Particles With CSS

RebelMouse's Particle Accelerator is designed to break down articles into micro pieces of content — which we call particles — that can then be amplified on social. To give you even more options, we now offer you the ability to style particles created in Entry Editor using CSS.

Keep reading... Show less

You're almost there! Fill out the form below and a Rebel will contact you within one business day.

x

Assembler Slideshows: Now With Thumbnail and Number Control

We've introduced an upgrade to our Assembler Slideshow layout that now allows users to control if they want thumbnails and slide numbers displayed on their posts.

Keep reading... Show less

Using Variables to Control OG Tags

In our Layout & Design tool, you have the ability to create variable overrides. This is helpful when having to set the Open Graph (OG) tags in a section or post page, or in the <head> tag of a page.You can easily find all variables available by inserting the Variable Override element:

Keep reading... Show less
Subscribe to Our Newsletter