Is it still OK to serve Googlebot content-only pages optimized for web load speed?
When optimizing a website’s loading speed, some practitioners may not make an effort to exclude Googlebot or other search engine crawlers from downloading content that isn’t meant for them. Is it still acceptable to serve content-only pages optimized for web load speed when you know that Google will discover them and index them in their entirety? The short answer is: Yes, it is perfectly fine to serve optimized pages in such a manner. The rules have changed a bit over time—and they continue to evolve even today—but as of now, you can continue to optimize web pages specifically with the purpose of serving better experiences when someone lands on your site.
The problem with content-only search engine friendly websites
Many websites are content-only, meaning they aren’t designed to be indexed by search engines in order to rank highly. Instead, they’re made specifically to be fast, attractive and contain very little puffy extra content such as navigation menus or banner ads. The problem with these types of sites is that they load too fast. The only time we see a noticeable speed difference between a content site and a non-content site is on mobile devices. When loading something quickly on a phone, even if it has an adequate amount of content above the fold, users often assume that there isn’t anything else to see below it – so why bother scrolling down?
The purpose of home page content
The purpose of your home page is to deliver content. That’s it. For a while now, search engines have been able to extract relevant information from your homepage even when it doesn’t provide any actual content . They don’t care about your flash file or if your headline is a single word. Your homepage has one job and that job isn’t selling to customers (that’s what product pages are for). Instead, homepages are most effective when they inform customers about what you do, why you do it and how you can help them. So make sure that whatever content you serve on your homepage does just that.
Make your website fast with render blocking elements
Users love fast websites, and Google has historically rewarded faster sites with higher search rankings. The number one thing you can do to make your website faster is to remove render blocking elements such as scripts, CSS files, and images from above the fold. When a user first visits your site, it may take up to eight seconds for their browser to download all of these elements before rendering your content on screen. Make sure you prioritize how much you load based on how quickly a user needs it. Think about what they’ll need first: Images? Video? Text content? The answer will dictate how soon they can start enjoying your website.