Situation: In an announcement made earlier this yearGoogle stated that a mobile site’s page load speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches starting July 2018. 

Our Point of View:

This announcement specifically affects a site’s ranking in mobile results for mobile-based search queries but does not affect a site’s desktop rankings for desktop-based search queries. This means that if a mobile site takes a long time to load, it might be adversely affected in mobile search rankings, while sites with faster load speeds will be unaffected. The slower a site’s page load speed is, the lower the site might get ranked.

We have been anticipating this announcement for a long time, and it confirms our strategy of aiming to improve mobile page load speeds as much as possible. Page load speed plays a critical factor in consumer experiences. In addition to causing sites to rank lower on Google, slow page load speeds can negatively impact conversion rates and bounce rates.

Consumers today will not wait for a page to load on their mobile devices. They demand content immediately, and if they don’t receive it quickly, they will leave and go to a competitor. According to Google, 53 percent of consumers abandon a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

However, according to Google, a slow mobile site might still rank highly if the content is considered relevant and great. Still, we recommend improving page load speed regardless of whether or not Google considers the content great. In addition, we also recommend improving websites’ mobile consumer experiences. A mobile-centric content strategy of easy-to-navigate, clear, concise, action-oriented content will also help. Removing auto-play ads and videos, pop-ups and having a slimmed down efficient design will help with page speed as less content needs to be loaded. This goes hand in hand with Google’s larger initiative of improving the overall web experience such as their announcement of the Chrome Ad Blocker. By penalizing annoying, extraneous and useless content, Google is trying to make the web a better experience for everyone.

Google provided an interesting scorecard report that allows a site’s mobile page load speed to be compared to other domains as well as shows the page load speeds for consumers using 3G and 4G mobile devices. The scorecard report can also estimate the possible revenue impact as well if average monthly visitors, average order value and conversion rate are entered. Our team recommends leveraging this report to gain competitive insights into the marketplace and estimate the possible loss in revenue from slow page speeds.

Next Steps:

  1. Have your MMI team audit your site’s mobile page speed and conduct a thorough SEO and content audit to identify opportunities to not only improve page speed but the consumer experience as well.
  2. After the audits are complete, MMI will recommend a project plan and timeline for implementation of recommendations.

Daniel Chen | Head of Media

 

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