Load Speed and Mobile Compatibility

by Brian Toomey, JB Analytics CEO

Speed / Load Time

Good page load times are an often underrated (and increasingly important) SEO signal as well as vital for usability reasons. Recently Google made the change to ‘mobile-first’ indexing, making load times on mobile devices more important than ever. See here for how speed relates to SEO.

Why it matters

Google’s own benchmark for page load is around 3 seconds. We’ve found that in most cases, user experience and conversion is quite significantly impacted by around 5 or 6 seconds.  Additionally, it’s been reported that Walmart found for every 1 second improvement in page load time, conversions increased by 2%.

Screenshot of PageSpeed Insight for CNN

Our standard practice is to examine past page speed data  and test key pages with tools such as YSlow and Pagespeed Insights. These tools provide an unbiased view, a grading system, and recommendations for improvements.

User experience is a key brand touchpoint; long load times risk losing or frustrating visitors, undermining “excellence” in user perception of brand experience. Optimizing media like images helps increase speed and reduce the amount of data transferred by user’s device (and consequently their data plan).

With Google’s new ‘mobile-first’ indexing, poor mobile load times can negatively impact rankings and search traffic. Great speed brings with it a significant SEO benefit as well as better user experience.

What to do

  • Hold load times to an excellent rather than moderate standard, for the homepage in particular, as a mark of brand quality. ‘OK’ isn’t good enough. 
  • Audit pages as desired for speed and Implement changes based on opportunities identified.

Mobile Compatibility

What it is

Although it goes without saying that websites today should be designed and built with mobile in mind, we often find a number of issues related to mobile user experience from slow load times to confusing or frustrating navigation.

Why it matters

With so many people using mobile devices to browse the web, shop, etc. mobile represents a significant source of traffic.

What to do

  • Often mobile and desktop speed scores differ significantly so both need to be checked and optimized. 
  • Consider mobile specific optimizations for key elements and content on your site.
  • Consider working with an AMP stack if you are publishing regular news content but otherwise this is likely unnecessary

Happier Users & More Traffic

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