Mobile site load times are becoming increasingly important within Mobile SEO
It strikes me that we are about to head into a period where websites and web pages just become dull and boring because of Mobile SEO requirements.
When Tv’s changed from 525 lines NTSC (625 Pal UK) to HD we all saw a decrease in viewing quality. This was because although HD offered better resolution, viewers were unable to receive these higher resolution broadcasts. HD TVs were not created to watch the old Pal or NTSC broadcast formats. We were left with high spec TVs with ghosting and blurred images. But we were told HD was the future so we all shifted over.
Are we about to see similar as bloggers and webmaster cut quality in favour of speed and load time to keep up with mobile SEO requirements?
Google uses page load times as a signal for ranking blog articles and web pages. They also view the use of rich content such as Videos and Images as ranking factors but these can inadvertently slow your site load time down.
So are we indeed going to see WordPress Bloggers and webmasters scaling down the visual appeal of their pages so that mobile versions load quicker and faster?
Will there be a trade-off in aesthetic for speed with mobile SEO?
The way websites are ranked in the SERPS is changing. It is now all about how the Mobile Version of your site looks and loads. You need to be mobile SEO ready because if you don’t look good on mobile you are going to see a drop in your rank.
This is not a major problem for self-hosted WordPress Bloggers if they are running a mobile responsive theme. If not then you will need to make changes to keep up with mobile SEO requirements
Mobile sites by default tend to load much slower than desktop versions. So you may need to rethink how cool you make your site look,
So how fast does the mobile version of your site load? Let’s run a couple of tests
Firstly head over the Googles Mobile-Friendly Test (formerly Google Page Test Insights) which is part of the search console. Add your site URL and wait for the results. You will be presented with some results that highlight your sites mobile load time and recommendations on how to make your site faster.
Visitors are 5x more likely to leave your site if it is not mobile friendly
Another easy to use site that you can use to test the performance of your site is Test My Site – Think With Google. Just add your site link in the Test Now box as highlighted in the screen capture below. You can then even have a Free report sent to your email giving you some very useful information on how to speed up your site and how to set up for mobile SEO.
Why is my mobile site so slow to load?
Well, there could be any number of reasons. Your theme may not be as responsive as it could be so bringing down the performance. Your hosting and server may not really be up to the job. But more than likely you will find, particularly with WordPress that plugins and images will be slowing you down.
How do you speed up load times for your mobile site?
You can dull your site down and cut some of the images and videos. You can check the type of image files you are uploading. Png files are much larger than jpg for example so you should be using jpg images within posts. Reduce the number of plugins and widgets that you have installed. And if you want you can look to move over to AMP.
AMP is Googles new load fast solution, offering a stripped down cached version of your site.
David Leonhardt covers AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages really well in this article
What is AMP?
AMP is a ghost website specifically designed for mobile devices. It is a stripped down version of your main website. This leaner website loads faster on mobile, hence the name – “Accelerated Mobile Pages.” When AMP was first announced by Google, webmasters were given the impression that this would do two things:
- Speed up their site on mobile (great for usability!)
- Improve mobile ranking (because the site would load faster)
Then the other shoe dropped — it turns out that AMP pages are cached by Google. One of the reasons they load so fast is that Google would not be sending requests to your server. It would serve up your website from its own cache.
It does look like we are going to have to make some changes initially if we want to keep up with Googles faster load time requirements, or until at least we can catch up with the technology with easy, everyday application.
You can’t argue with the stats. Here are the last 7 days from Infobunny
If you are using WordPress then here are a couple of key plugins that will help you with speed and Mobile SEO.
The highest rated and most complete WordPress performance plugin. Dramatically improve the speed and user experience of your site. Add browser, page, object, and database caching as well as minify and content delivery network (CDN) to WordPress.
Resize, optimise and compress all of your images with the incredibly powerful and 100% free WordPress image smusher, brought to you by the super team at WPMU DEV!
Now with image resizing! Set a max width and height and large images will scale down as they are being compressed.
Our servers do all the heavy lifting. Strip hidden, bulky information from your images and reduce file size without losing quality.
The complete WordPress SEO plugin that exists today for WordPress.org users. It incorporates everything from a snippet editor and real-time page analysis functionality that helps you optimise your pages content, images titles, meta descriptions and more to XML sitemaps, and loads of optimisation options in between.
Before you make any rash decisions about your site and its load time run some comparisons. How fast are your competitor’s sites loading? You may be faster than them, or you may now. Run some checks and find out. Google wants our mobile sites to be super fast and in a perfect world they would be and to be super fast you have to really just be a text site. I love my plugins, I love the visual appeal of my site. I don’t want a skeleton for a site.
Google Adsense slows your site down. They have recently given us Google Matched Content that adds related posts to the bottom of pages when you implement the code. The only thing is that it loads the page with 6 or so more images. Adsense is a cut that you can make right away if you want better performance. But why should we change what we are doing and how we monetize our sites just to load a bit faster.
As long as we are mobile responsive. Have mobile SEO implemented, and are doing what we can to optimise images and pages then that is as far as we need to go with it. Nobody has perfect mobile load times.