When users are performing searches, whether, on a desktop, tablet, or mobile device, they want to find the best answers to their questions as fast as possible. In fact, a report from Google states that speed is so significant to a website’s performance that 53% of site visits are ended if the page doesn’t load within three seconds. Although speed has been a ranking factor for desktop searches since 2010, Google recently announced that similar considerations will be made for mobile visits starting in July. Therefore, if you weren’t already focused on your mobile website’s performance and speed, now more than ever is the time for evaluating and improving it.
Starting this summer, Google’s new ranking signal, also being called the “Speed Update” will apply the same speed criteria to all pages of a website, regardless of the technology that is used to build it. However, Google noted in their blog post announcing this update, that it will still be possible to see a slower mobile page ranking higher than other faster pages, but only if the slower page’s content is considered to be more relevant and useful to the specific query. Therefore, indicating the content is still king, but with speed following closely behind.
How Your Site Speed Can Affect User Experience and Lead Generation
Site speed, both on mobile devices and desktop, can drastically affect not only user’s experiences but ultimately any sales or lead generation through your site. To help draw attention to the significance of a website’s speed to its overall performance, Google provided some eye-opening information connecting the likelihood of users bouncing based on a page’s load time. Their research indicates that as load time increases from 1 second to 10, the probability of a user bouncing, or leaving a website, also increases by 123%.
How to Evaluate Your Website’s Mobile Speed
While there isn’t a tool that can predict how an updated will actually affect your website, there are the following resources which can provide insight into your site’s speed suggested by Google.
What is Mobile-First Indexing?
Google’s recently announced, “Speed Update” isn’t their first attempt at improving mobile search. While Google has previously rolled out their mobile-first index guidelines, you can expect to see a definite increase in this application in the coming year, ultimately making the Speed Update more significant.
Previously, Google used the desktop version of websites to determine the organic search results for both desktop and mobile searches. However, with the exponentially increasing number of searches performed on mobile devices- nearly 60% of all searches– Google began last year to index websites based on their mobile version first. Mobile-first indexing means that Google indexes and ultimately ranks your website based on the content of your mobile site, rather than the desktop version which is how they historically indexed.
Improving Mobile Traffic with AMP
While Google has stated that AMP, Accelerate Mobile Pages, are not a ranking factor, we are beginning to speculate if they will soon in fact become one. AMP pages are implemented in order to improve mobile speed. Therefore, with the “Speed Update” and mobile-first index rollout happening this summer, it seems highly likely that mobile sites with AMP will see an increase in traffic and ranking.
Improving Mobile Traffic with Rich Snippets
Since 2016, Google has been incorporating rich snippets pages into expanded previews for both desktop and mobile search results. This is a practice we can count on seeing more of in 2018 and beyond, as it serves mobile users with the most relevant content quickly.
In accordance with this trend, the best way to improve mobile traffic (besides improving mobile speed) is by creating unique, specific, and valuable content that answers the queries being searched by users in order to appear in these previews or “answer boxes” as shown in the image above. However, having the perfect content is not enough. Your site must also have embedded rich snippets, which can be executed by adding code to your site.
Is Your Website Performing Well on Mobile Devices?
While Google has said that the Speed Update will only impact a “small percentage of queries,” we can definitely expect more mobile initiative and updates from Google in 2018. Therefore, it may be essential to the health and performance of your website to hire a website developer and SEO expert with experience in Google AMP, mobile design, site speed, and mobile search. If you believe your mobile site could use some help, contact us today!