Why Mobile Page Speed is so important right now
Page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches from July 2018. It’s a fact.
This means that if you want your website to be visible to all those people that use their mobile to go online, you need to turn your attention to mobile site speed now.
If the success of your business relies in part on you maintaining your existing search rankings or even appearing higher in the results, you need to make sure your site is as fast as it possibly can be on mobile.
Google has named this change to its mobile ranking algorithm – the Speed Update. You can read about it in more detail in their blog here.
So, who is this Speed Update going to impact?
Well, everybody with a website. However, Google has told us that it “will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users”. So, if your site is slow to load on mobile, you’re going to be the first to feel the sting.
“It will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users.”
As with most things with Google nowadays, it’s all about user experience. Google wants users to have a positive experience online and, in particular, on the sites that it ranks.
It is also true that Google has a ridiculous amount of work to do crawling, understanding, and indexing all the new and existing content on the web. If sites are slow to load, then Google can’t work at the speed it likes to. It needs to use more energy, spend more resource.
How fast is your site on mobile?
Have you been on your site recently on your smartphone? Was it quick and painless to navigate? A doddle to take onboard all the information? To make a purchase or enquire? If the answer is a ‘maybe’ or a ‘no’ to any of these, then you need to put aside some time to make improvements.
For a more objective take on your mobile site speed, you can use some great free tools. GTmetrix; Google Developer’s Lighthouse tool and Web Page Test are all good. Lighthouse allows you to test your site’s performance on different mobile connection speeds like fast 4G or, more usefully, slow 3G. You can read about how to use Lighthouse in this article.
You could also see this increased focus on site speed as an opportunity to get the edge over your competitors. There isn’t necessarily an ideal page load time you should be aiming for, but being faster than your competitors is a good initial goal.
My site on mobile is slow, what can I do?
Start by having an honest conversation with your developer. Find out what they think is going to have the biggest impact on site speed. They might mention the following:
- Caching for your site – this may include browser caching and server caching.
- How images are compressed and loaded
- CDN (Content Delivery Networks)
- Server upgrades
The upshot is that you are going to need to spend some money, but it’s almost definitely worth it in the long run. And remember, users may still visit your site if it’s slow, but they’re a lot less likely to stick around and make a purchase or an enquiry.
Content to the rescue
Not exactly, but content is still crucial to success on Google. You should continue to, or immediately start, investing in well-written and optimised content for your website that is highly relevant to your target audiences.
Make sure that any content on your site – this can be blog posts, main site pages, product pages – is guided by the needs of your users and strives to deliver next level value. This will give you at least a chance of ranking for relevant queries while your developers get busy with improving your website.
All images via Pexels and are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license.