Google has announced that starting in July, they’ll be using page-load speed as a ranking factor in mobile searches.

What does this mean for you and your ministry’s website? If your site loads slowly on mobile—or on desktop—your rankings in Google search results could drop. Research shows that most users only look at the top 3-5 listings before making the click.

So how do we test this, and how do we fix this?

To start the process, you can simply load your website on your phone to see what happens. Does it feel like its load time is sluggish?

To get a bit more precise and technical, you can use Google’s Page Speed Insights tool to find your mobile speed score.

If your score is low, you might want to let your web developer know.

There could be several reasons behind a slow load time. If your website uses Flash, or a good amount of JavaScript, these can greatly affect loading speed.

Image and file sizes can make a difference too, but the other big item to check would be the server response from your hosting arrangement.

If your page load speed is longer than 2 full seconds, you may want to contact your hosting provider.

If you want to dig a bit deeper into how your site is performing and which items might be causing a slower page load speed, we recommend this tool: Screaming Frog SEO Spider. The first 500 “crawls” are free (and that’s probably much more than you’ll need!)

You’ll find out which elements of your site may be “broken” or causing error messages for your users.

TIP: When running Screaming Frog, look at the top tabs to make sure you’re in the “internal” tab and scroll across. You’ll find “response time,” which tells you the page load speed.

And if you really want to make your online presence more “findable” by Google searches and reach more people in the online mission field, stay tuned for our SEO 101 series starting next week!